The anti-fracking campaign, Frack Free Lancashire, has criticised yesterday’s eviction of a protest camp near Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site.
The group accused the enforcement company of aggression and of making false statements about camp residents.
The eviction, which began at 6.30am, involved 30 security staff and reportedly nearly 50 police officers.
Frack Free Lancashire said camp residents had been given no warning and no time to collect their belongings. They described how they were taken from sleeping spaces in the dark and cold. Homes and personal belongings, including solar panels and a wind turbine, were bulldozed.
Residents were not allowed to try to retrieve possessions for more than five hours, Frack Free Lancashire said. Pet cats were frightened by security dogs. Eyewitnesses counted up to 49 police officers at one point in the operation.
The eviction company, Able Enforcements, said in a press release that the operation was carried out under common law rights.
Frack Free Lancashire said the landowner had given no written or verbal notice to the camp.
The group also criticised what it described as “derogatory and untrue” statements made by the company in the press release.
Steve Wood, the operations director, said Able Enforcements had met many of the camp residents before. He said:
“We knew what to expect in terms of aggression, abuse and violence”.
But Frack Free Lancashire said:
“We wholly reject this defamatory statement and know the camp residents to be peaceful and a welcome part of our community.
“The camp was been established with the landowner’s permission and community support almost three years ago. They have in, turn, supported the local residents in their battle against failed fracking company, Cuadrilla. They are part of the community.
“We will stand together with our friends, who have purposely been made homeless following this inhumane eviction process and will work together as a community to assist however we can.”