12 charged over fracking protests
A dozen people, including two teenage boys, have been charged in connection with demonstrations over plans by a company to drill the earth, police have said.
Officers have also made two further arrests on Saturday morning at the Cuadrilla site in Balcombe, West Sussex.
Two women were detained, one for assault on police and the other under the Trade Union Labour Relations Act. This follows 16 arrests on Friday, which resulted in the 12 being charged.
The charges came as anti-fracking campaigners gathered for a third day in the village where Cuadrilla is poised to start test drilling.
The village has become a focal point for campaigners who have highlighted fears linked to fracking - where high-pressure liquid is pumped into cracks in the rock to split shale rock and release gas.
In Balcombe, some protesters, who included a former glamour model, a "professional clown" and veteran eco-campaigners, vowed to mount a 24-hour campaign of resistance against fracking. All of those charged do not live in the village, with some coming from as far afield as Wales.
Superintendent Steve Whitton from Sussex Police said: "We are trying to carefully balance the needs of everyone and we will continue to show a proportionate response to the challenge we are facing. Our aim at Balcombe is to provide a safe and secure environment for protesters, residents and the contractors alike, to minimise disproportionate disruption to the local community and to prevent crime and disorder. Protesters are being asked to clear entrances to allow access to the site and where they have refused following repeated requests we have arrested them."
All those charged have have been dealt with under Section 241 of the Trade Union Labour Relations Act for attempting to stop drivers and other workers from accessing the site:
They are: Ezra Lynch, 31, a circus employee; Samantha Duncan, 29, of Beaconsfield Villas, Brighton, and Marcin Swiercz, 35, a handyman from London, will appear before Crawley Magistrates on August 14 along with Mark Mansbridge, 51, a voluntary charity worker, of Paddock Road, Lewes; Nancy Walker, 25, of Over Street, Brighton; Richard Millar, 29, of Upper Gloucester Road, Brighton; Frances Crack, 31, a teacher, of Taffs Well, Cardiff, and Justin Preece, of Pontypridd, Mid Glamorgan.
A 15-year-old boy from Rustington, West Sussex, and a A 17-year-old unemployed boy from Brighton have also been charged and will appear before Crawley Youth Court on August 6. Paul Deacon, a writer, aged 50, of Selden Lane, Worthing, West Sussex, will appear before Crawley magistrates on August 7.