Derbyshire woman and four others deny obstructing workers during anti-fracking protest

Anti fracking protesters at Danesmoor.
Anti fracking protesters at Danesmoor.

A Chesterfield woman and four others have been accused of illegally obstructing lorries during protests against the feared environmental impact of fracking.

Protestors camped outside drilling company PR Marriott, on Old Pit Lane, Danesmoor, during protests about seismic testing with proposed fracking across north Derbyshire including Marsh Lane and Bolsover.

A Chesterfield magistrates’ court trial heard on Tuesday how Carrie-Anne Field, 29, of Hipley Close, Chesterfield, and James Alden, 54, of Kenwood Road, Stretford, Manchester, had been linked with an iron tube and had laid down at an entrance at Marriott’s.

Miss Field denied obstruction after allegedly trespassing and preventing traffic movements and Mr Alden has been accused of aggravated trespass on a similar basis. Zoe Beecham, 25, of Chaplin Road, Easton, Bristol, Owen English, 34, of St Nicholas Road, Bristol, and Sophie Pearce, 22, of Moss House Lane, Preston, have also pleaded not guilty to obstruction after the protests on July 13.

Miss Field said she is concerned about pollution and she had been involved in slow-walks with protests in front of lorries. She added: “Everything I did was what I thought was in my legal right to protest.”

Miss Field and Mr Alden had an arm each linked in a tube which police had to rip apart.

Mr Alden said: “I took part in the action because it was a moral duty and I felt extremely strongly it was my last avenue of protest against industry extracting shale gas.”

English also denied assaulting a police officer as police became involved with protestors’ using metal tripod swings.

Defence solicitor Andrew Fitzpatrick, representing English, Pearce and Beecham, said the actions of these protestors had been reasonable. District Judge Andrew Davison adjourned the case until December 11. Marriott’s has been storing a rig to be used by shale gas firm Cuadrilla. Other protestors had also been arrested for allegedly disrupting activities.