Four anti-fracking activists today received harsh sentences following a guilty verdict for public nuisance for direct action they have taken nearby Preston New Road fracking site. Three activists were sentenced to custodial sentences: two received 16 months, and one 15 months, while the forth protester received 12-month suspended sentence.
The three are the first environmental activists in the UK to receive custodial sentences for non-violent direct action since 1932. It is likely that the anti-fracking activists will suffer more prison sentences in the coming months.
The crown court jury found the Frack Free 4 guilty of public nuisance after they took the opportunity to climb up on top of the lorries delivering drilling equipment to the Preston New Road fracking site during a protest in July 2017. With support from local people they managed to stay on top of the lorries for 99-and-a-half hours, successfully blocking the trucks from delivering equipment to the site.
Today’s verdict is not a surprise: the activists were told, in no uncertain terms, to expect immediate custodial sentences when they were found guilty, and one has already been on remand for three months.
It is the first public nuisance guilty verdict for anti-fracking movement and potentially could mean very bad news for any future direct action planning in the area.
The Frack Free 4 were supported during their sentencing by their fellow activists, who organised a calm demonstration of solidarity and farewell outside the Preston Crown Court.
>More info on how you can support the jailed activists will follow shortly.
Photo: Reclaim the Power