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PSNI 'private security for drill firm'

By Linda Stewart

Published 15/06/2016

The leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland has accused the PSNI of acting as a private security force for an oil exploration company drilling close to a Co Antrim reservoir.

Steven Agnew MLA demanded answers from Chief Constable George Hamilton after a group of activists were arrested at the weekend.

The Stop The Drill campaign said seven people were seized in Woodburn Forest, near Carrickfergus, on Sunday and threatened with CS spray when they legally occupied a right of way.

"I am concerned that seven activists were threatened before being arrested on what is apparently a public right of way," Mr Agnew said.

"When I spoke to the inspector at Woodburn, he indicated that it was not for the PSNI to adjudicate on whether the fencing erected by InfraStrata was permitted. But in helping InfraStrata maintain their barrier, that is what the PSNI is doing.

"There is a strong feeling that the PSNI is acting as second security force for InfraStrata."

Four men, aged 57, 51, 25 and 25, and a woman aged 26 were charged with a number of offences including causing a breach of the peace. They are due in court on July 8.

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