Kirby Misperton anti-fracking protesters sentenced over highway protest

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Two anti-fracking protesters have been found guilty of obstructing the highway at Kirby Misperton, after they climbed up a tower in the road.

Julia Collins, 40, and Ronald Holloran, 52, sat on top of the wooden tower in Habton Road, near the entrance to the hydraulic fracturing site after it was placed in the road at 6.40pm on Sunday, October 15 last year.

Police have made 85 arrests in relation to protest activity at Kirby Misperton since September 2017.

Police have made 85 arrests in relation to protest activity at Kirby Misperton since September 2017.

The pair refused to come down during the following morning and a specialist police team was called in to remove the tower safely, by erecting scaffolding around it.

More: Latest fracking news and views from The Yorkshire Post

The two protestors eventually dismounted the tower and were arrested at 5.40pm on the Monday.

Both Collins and Holloran were found guilty of wilfully obstructing the highway, at York Magistrates’ Court yesterday, following the first trial related to protest activity at Third Energy’s controversial Kirby Misperton fracking site.

York Magistrates' Court.

York Magistrates' Court.

They were each sentenced to a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £200 and a £20 victim surcharge.

More: Latest fracking news and views from The Yorkshire Post

Detective Constable Formosa, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “Police officers have been facilitating safe and peaceful protest for many months at Kirby Misperton. However, when the balance tips from peaceful protest to acts that go beyond what is reasonable, the public would rightly expect us to take action.”

Collins and Holloran, both from land near Kirby Misperton, were two of 85 arrests made by North Yorkshire Police related to protest activity at Kirby Misperton since September 2017.

Other trials are due to take place over the coming months.