Angry elderly man ‘petrified’ protester

A fracking protester climbs aboard a tanker on Preston New Road

A protester who stood on top of a tanker for 10 hours has been convicted under rarely used labour laws.

Wayne Paolucci, 42, was found guilty of depriving and hindering a man’s right to work at the firm’s fracking site at Preston New Road.

I was petrified. He was trying to push me off the top

District Judge Margaret McCormack sitting at Blackpool Magistrates Court heard how the 40ft tanker was due to enter the fracking site at Preston New Road on March 13 this year.

A protester deliberately went in front of the lorry in a rickshaw to slow it down and when the driver halted Paolucci, of Stanley Court, Old Trafford, Manchester, climbed on top before it could enter the secure site.

A contraflow traffic system was put in place by police for around 10 hours while he was there. During the protest, another man mounted the lorry after becoming angered by Paolucci’s presence.

Paolucci said: “I was petrified. He was trying to push me off the top.

“When he finally got off the tanker he was not arrested but when I did I was arrested.”

PC Dean Baxter confirmed an elderly man got on top of the lorry but was not charged ‘because he was poorly’.

The defendant was also found guilty of wilfully obstructing the highway and tampering with a vehicle by getting on it.

Malcolm Isherwood, prosecuting, said once Paolucci got on the lorry the driver could not move for safety reasons. Adam Bonney, defending, said police had not taken a statement from the driver.

Paolucci was told to pay £300 court costs and given a one-year conditional discharge.

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