12 protesters found guilty

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Twelve anti-fracking protesters have been found guilty of action which led to the closure of the main road between Blackpool and Preston.

In total six pairs of protesters locked themselves together across the lanes of the A583 in three different areas near the Cuadrilla gas exploration site at Little Plumpton.

All 12 denied wilfully obstructing the highway when they appeared before District Judge Jim Clarke sitting at Blackpool Magistrates Court.

The incident happened on August 2 last year. The first pairs locked on at 7 am near the World of Water business to the West of the drilling site.

Two other pairs locked on near the site entrance and the final pairs to the East of the site.

The court heard that during the protest police vans were used to block the highway. It was closed to the public and only police vehicles.

Giving judgement Judge Clarke said: “I am satisfied that the aim was to disrupt the business at the Cuadrilla site.”

“I am satisfied that the action was unreasonable and became a disruption to the public beyond what was reasonable and tolerable.”

The defendants were: James Alden, 53, of Manchester; Liz Beck, 55, of the protest camp; Sarah Boyle, 30, of Mowbray Road, Fleetwood; Barbara Cookson, 67, of Liverpool; Benjamin Deevoy, 42, of the protest camp; Catherine Jackson, 50, of Mowbray Road, Fleetwood; Stephen Jones, 44, of the protest camp; John Knox, 31, of Dugdale Close, Blackpool, Sibi Moore,22 of the protest cam; Ellie Stanton, 24, of Dugdale Close, Blackpool and Mark Taylor, 43, of the protest camp.

The court was shown video footage of the protest with each duo’s arms locked into metal tubing.

The defendants will be sentenced later.