AN ANTI-FRACKING campaign group has vowed to continue its fight after three of its members who stormed a test drilling site were found guilty of trespassing and assault.
Barbara Anne Cookson, 61, of Garrick Street, Wavertree; Lauren Christina Pepperell, 26, and Edward Lloyd-Davies, 38, both of Rugby Place, Brighton, entered the potential fracking site run by Cuadrilla Resources in Banks near Southport on November 2 last year.
They were arrested and charged with aggravated trespassing. Cookson and Lloyd-Davies were also charged with assault.
All three denied the charges relating to disrupting lawful activity at the site.
After a four-day trial, District Judge Peter Ward found the Frack Off campaign group members guilty of all charges at Preston Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
They were sentenced to two-year conditional discharges and a £750 fine.
Despite the verdict, Frack Off vowed to continue their fight against fracking – a controversial gas extraction method – arguing they acted out of necessity.
Speaking after the trial a Frack Off spokesperson said: “We cannot sit back and let our environments be destroyed. It’s time to stand up against these industries.
“Time and time again extractive industries get away with destroying the environment and people’s lives, while those who stand up to them are criminalised.
“During this trial we have provided a wide range of evidence of the catastrophic impacts of fracking to the climate, the local environment and to people’s lives.”
A spokesperson for Cuadrilla said: “We take the safety of our staff very seriously and we will continue to conduct our business in a safe and responsible manner.
“The verdict of assault passed today to two of the accused reveals the wholly unacceptable protest tactics of a tiny and unrepresentative minority.
“We will continue to engage with the local community in a straightforward and open fashion, explaining what we are doing, why and how, listening and responding to any concerns and outlining the benefits we believe a safe and well-run operation can bring to the region.”