Row over "fake" injury claims at Fylde fracking site

Fracking protesters at Preston New Road in July, the month when the alleged incidents took place
Fracking protesters at Preston New Road in July, the month when the alleged incidents took place

Anti-fracking protesters have been accused of faking injury and police brutality as well as wasting ambulance crews’ time.

The allegations are contained in an email from a former senior staff member at the North West Ambulance Service, submitted to Lancashire County Council in connection with Cuadrilla’s successful bid to vary conditions surrounding deliveries to its Preston New Road site.

The email, sent by Graham Curry, NWAS area manager, who has since retired, said ambulances were called out 10 times in July to the Preston New Road fracking site – but on seven occasions the patients refused to go to hospital and were found to have no injuries or illnesses.

He wrote: “I can say that the seven cases that refused seemed to be more for effect and the cameras, rather than for any clinical need.”

He also said he had witnessed aggressive behaviour from protesters towards crews.

But residents opposed to fracking dismissed the claims and said protesters had been hurt.

Miranda Cox, on the Frack Free Lancashire website, said of the policing: “Apart from the large numbers drafted in to literally walk HGVs onto site, the injuries sustained to protesters ( this writer included) include broken fingers, torn ligaments and cartilage, bruises, concussion, loss of consciousness.

“Repeatedly we are told that the aim is to be even handed but the balance consistently falls in favour of the industry.”

Lancashire Police and NWAS said no investigations were taking place and declined to comment further.