Lock-on fracking protest duo are found guilty of blocking key road

Cuadrilla's fracking drill rig at Preston New Road.
Cuadrilla's fracking drill rig at Preston New Road.
Share this article

Two men have been found guilty after they took part in an anti fracking protest.

They were arrested on the A583 outside the gas exploration site operated by Cuadrilla at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton on July 6 this year.

It was part of a rolling month of protest against the gas extraction method.

The duo were Liam Dodson, 27, who lives on the anti-fracker’s campsite at Blackpool and Connor Schwartz, 26, of Hemel Hempstead, London.

They both denied wilfully obstructing the highway when they were locked on together.

But after a trial they were found guilty and both were given two-year conditional discharges and ordered to pay £145 costs each.

Neil White, prosecuting, told Blackpool Magistrates how both men at one stage were in the highway, the entrance to the site and a cycle lane.

At one stage police were forced to cordon them and other protesters off using police van for their own safety and the safety of others, the court heard.

The duo were eventually cut free from a tube in which their arms were linked.

However, the court heard how they could have released themselves at any time.

They both claimed they had not set out to disrupt other road users and it had been the police’s decision to employ a traffic light controlled contra-flow.

The accused argued that at no time had they been abusive towards the police and were allowed to stage a peaceful protest under Human Rights.