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Hynde 'held fracking glue protest'

The daughter of musicians Ray Davies and Chrissie Hynde superglued herself to a fellow anti-fracking protester outside the main gate of an exploratory oil drilling site, a court has heard.

Natalie Hynde, 31, and Simon Medhurst, 55, are jointly charged over the incident at the main gate of energy firm Cuadrilla's test drilling plant near Balcombe, West Sussex.

Brighton Magistrates' Court heard the pair superglued their hands together while Medhurst had his arm around the gate during anti-fracking protests on July 31 last year.

Prosecutor Jonathan Edwards said a team of police officers who specialise in dealing with protesters used a solvent to release the pair before arresting them.

After being freed, Medhurst is alleged to have said words to effect of: "Good result. Looks like we managed to delay Cuadrilla for two hours."

Mr Edwards told the court: "Fracking, as you may know, is a controversial practice. It has attracted a good deal of publicity, both local and national, and as a result demonstrators had formed a large crowd round the entrance of the site."

One of the conditions imposed on Cuadrilla for using the site was to allow 24-hour access for emergency vehicles, he added.

Mr Edwards went on: "It is said that (Medhurst and Hynde) both glued their hands together with superglue whilst Mr Medhurst had his arm around the gate."

It meant that access to the site was hampered and Cuadrilla workers and contractors were prevented from going about their "legal right" to work there, Mr Edwards said.

During police interview, Hynde and Medhurst made no comment.

In a defence statement, Mr Edwards said the pair claimed Cuadrilla had no legal right to undertake work at the site due to irregularities in obtaining licences.

Both defendants said they were exercising their rights under Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Hynde, of Paynton Road, St Leonards-on-sea, East Sussex, and Medhurst, of High Street, Hastings, deny a charge of "besetting" the premises.

Hynde and Medhurst are standing trial alongside three other defendants - Robert Basto, 65, Jamie Spiers, 29, and Nichola Sanger, 44.

Basto is accused of climbing on to a large tanker as it was moving near the site and locking himself to an access ladder last September 2.

Mr Edwards said the B2306 London Road on the outskirts of Balcombe had to be closed for several hours and a specialist team of police officers deployed.

It is alleged that Basto also obstructed Pc Mark Morgan in his duties as the officer attempted to remove a boot from Basto's foot.

Mr Edwards added: "When asked by another officer whether he had a key for the lock, Mr Basto threw an object into the trees."

Basto was arrested and declined to comment in police interview. In a defence statement, Mr Edwards said Basto claimed the charges were disproportionate.

Basto also disputed claims the lorry was moving, said he had no intention of being carried on it and that Cuadrilla had no lawful right to obtain work at the site.

Spiers is alleged to have erected a large metal tripod from long scaffolding poles in the middle of London Road, sitting on it for several hours.

Sanger is accused of handcuffing herself to the main gate and resisting attempts by a police officer to cut her free using boltcutters, Mr Edwards said.

Eventually she was freed by Cuadrilla staff using a key. Mr Edwards said: "She said that she did what she did to demonstrate against the activities of Cuadrilla and to prevent workers getting to the site."

Basto, of Blackborough Road, Reigate, Surrey, denies obstructing the highway, obstructing Pc Morgan in his duties, besetting and getting on to a tanker in motion.

Sanger, of Willow Way, Hurstpierpoint, denies besetting, and Spiers, of Auckland Road East, Southsea, Hampshire, denies the same charge and obstructing a highway.

The trial, which is due to last three days, continues.


From Belfast Telegraph