Police investigate assault claim against shale gas security guard

170704 pnr Kirsten Buus for Reclaim the Power 2

Photo: Kristian Buus for Reclaim the Power

Lancashire Police confirmed today it was investigating a complaint that a security guard assaulted an anti-fracking protester outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site near Blackpool.

The incident allegedly happened yesterday (Tuesday 4 July 2017) at the Preston New Road site, where drilling is expected to begin imminently.

It came at the end of a 35-hour blockade of the site by a local woman, Michelle Martin. She had been part of a 13-person lock-on protest which began early on Monday morning and involved three Lancashire councillors. See DrillOrDrop report

The action had been organised by Reclaim the Power, a national group which is organising a month of protests against fracking

A spokesperson for the group said the demonstrator allegedly assaulted was restrained in a headlock and punched, then pinned to the ground by security guards.

170704 pnr Kirsten Buus for Reclaim the Power 1

Photo: Kristian Buus for Reclaim the Power

The spokesperson said another protester was trapped in a car door and others were pushed into the road or tackled on the ground.

Reclaim the Power alleged that the incident took place on the public highway, not on private land leased to Cuadrilla.

Ellen Gibson, from the group, witnessed the incident and described the response of the security team as “totally disproportionate, violent and unnecessary”.

“While security guards may be allowed to use ‘reasonable force’ to eject someone from private property; punching demonstrators in the face whilst pinning them to the ground on a public road amounts to assault.”

Lancashire Police told DrillOrDrop

“We are aware of a complaint of assault against a security guard and an investigation is underway.”

A spokesperson said she was not aware of any other complaints by protesters or security guards.

In a statement, Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, said:

“Our security team are used to dealing with a number of protestors, most of them peaceful, on a daily basis. However on this occasion, the protestor became aggressive.

“We understand that the protestor was appropriately restrained and then handed over to Police, who were present throughout the brief incident. The matter is now in their hands and we will assist them in any investigation which follows.

“Since the incident, the employee concerned and his family have been subjected to unacceptable harassment and intimidation, which is also under investigation by the Police.

“Cuadrilla does not tolerate any behaviour which puts our employees, our contractor or law abiding members of the public at risk. Our security team and the Police are trained in dealing with protestors and are committed to ensuring that situations such as this are dealt with in the correct way.”

Car blockade over concerns about fracking near nuclear plant

170705 pnr Kirsten Buus

Photo: Kritian Buus for Reclaim the Power

Reclaim the Power said six campaigners from south west England today locked themselves to a car and other heavy objects to prevent access to the Preston New Road site.

They said they were protesting at Cuadrilla’s plans to frack five miles from the Springfields nuclear fuel production plan.

One of the group, Nikki Clark, said:

“Fracking is dangerous and unnecessary. And fracking near a nuclear site is just madness.

“We all know that fracking causes tremors and earthquakes. If Preston New Road is allowed to go into full production, 60 wells will be sunk in close proximity to an active nuclear facility with tonnes of waste at risk of release into the open air. That is clearly not acceptable – we can’t frack with nukes.”

“Cuadrilla have been trying to stop our legitimate protest with disproportionate and unnecessary violence. We are defying that to demand an end to extreme energy sources like fracking and nuclear power. Renewables can provide the jobs and clean power we need in Lancashire and the UK.”

A spokesperson for Cuadrilla said:

“I can confirm that the protestor activity is having no impact on our current operations and the conductor casing work continues.”

46 replies »

  1. Just a thought for the weekend PhilipP-there is a difference between the Barclay Brothers and Barclays Bank! Not trying to score any points, but the intended disposal of an asset by a bank is a little different to what might be happening in the Barclay Brothers conglomerate. It does then put into context why Barclays Bank might be forced back to its core business, whilst with Barclay Brothers there is less clarity as to what is their core business.

    • Agreed. I doubt if there will be a separation in the public’s mind though – the taint on name and reputation etc

      Cuadrilla not going for green completions on their first big cluster drill isn’t going to do much to lift the reputation of shale gas efforts here either. Believe it or not I was actually reading up about non-flaring completions on one of O&G’s main PR organs ‘Energy in Depth’.

  2. There will be separation in the public’s mind if they follow Mr.Hill’s advice to DYOR. But probably not if they stick to this site.

    That is no disrespect to DOD but I have also been visiting one of the sites reporting on the current UKOG well, and it is just the same. In that case hundreds of “experts” per day, some under multiple identities, some interested observers, some wanting to manipulate, some paid for it, others not. All those “experts” and you have the choice between a new Permian and a duster.

    However, off to DMOR to see who may be after purchasing Centrica. Now, that could be really interesting.

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