Couple’s ‘not guilty’ plea for gas drilling site action

Police talk to the Crawberry Hill anit-fracking protestors.
Police talk to the Crawberry Hill anit-fracking protestors.
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A couple who were charged after allegedly obstructing the entrance to a gas drilling site say they will be pleading not guilty.

Ex-council director Jon Mager and his wife Val, who are both Buddhists, spent 10 hours in police cells after being arrested under Section 241 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act at Crawberry Hill near Walkington on Thursday.

Mr Mager, a former director at East Riding Council, was meditating with his eyes closed, while his wife, a nationally-exhibited artist, who has terminal cancer, “talked quietly” to officers.

Mrs Mager said she refused to move because she believed “fracking is wrong and this is the first step towards the process beginning”. Mr Mager said further use of carbon-based fuels only accelerate global warming and Hull and East Riding was particularly vulnerable to sea level rise. He added: “We have instructed a solicitor and will be pleading not guilty.”

Rathlin Energy, the firm behind the scheme, has repeatedly insisted that it is not and will not be fracking at either of its East Yorkshire sites. A previous statement said: “It is unfortunate that having stated, repeated and reaffirmed our position that a small number of people are miscommunicating these facts.” The Magers are due to appear before Beverley magistrates on May 28.