14 fracking protesters deny charges at court hearing in Chesterfield

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Fourteen people appeared at court yesterday charged with disrupting activities at a drilling firm in Danesmoor.

The defendants, aged between 16 and 53, appeared at Chesterfield magistrates’ court on Wednesday, August 23.

They are from a number of different locations across the country and the majority are charged with trespassing or obstructing on land, namely Old Pit Lane, near PR Marriott, in June and July this year.

All of the 14 who attended entered not guilty pleas.

Three other defendants who have been charged with similar offences - bringing the total to 17 - did not attend.

Two of the defendants are under the age of 18 and cannot be named for legal reasons.

The main talking point put forward at the hearing on Wednesday, in front of a packed public gallery, is whether Old Pit Lane is private or public land. District Judge Andrew Davison asked for clarification before the start of the trials - set for November and December this year at Chesterfield magistrates’ court.

PR Marriott is Britain’s largest onshore deep drilling company. The firm has been storing a rig ready to be used by shale gas firm Cuadrilla at a site in Lancashire.

The defendants charged are:

- James Alden, 53, of Kenwood Road, Stretford, Trafford. Charged with aggravated trespass, namely locked himself in place preventing traffic management on July 13.

- Zoe Beecham, 25, of Chaplin Road, Easton, Bristol. Charged with obstruct/disrupt person engaged in a lawful activity, namely setting up a tripod barrier to obstruct activity, on July 13.

- Joseph Boyd, 44, of Blyth Hey, Netherton, Sefton. Charged with obstruct/disrupt person engaged in a lawful activity, namely blocking the road with his body, on July 15.

- Trevor Keith Butt, 50, of Main Road, Marsh Lane, Derbyshire. Charged with criminal damage, namely damaged a wiper blade to the value of £77.50, on July 10. Also charged with wilful obstruction of a highway on July 10.

- Carrie-Anne Field, 29, of Hipley Close, Chesterfield. Charged with obstruct/disrupt person engaged in a lawful activity, namely locked himself in a place preventing traffic movement, on July 13.

- Callum Thomas Eden, 20, of no fixed abode. Charged with obstruct/disrupt person engaged in a lawful activity, namely blocking the road with his body, on July 15. Mr Eden did not attend the hearing.

- Owen English, 34, of St Nicholas Road, Bristol. Charged with assaulting a constable in the execution of his/her duty, on July 13. Also charged with obstruct/disrupt a person engaged in a lawful activity, namely assisting in making a tripod barrier to obstruct activity, on July 13.

- Nicola Everill, 41, of Harewood Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire. Charged with obstruct/disrupt person engaged in a lawful activity, namely jumped in front of a moving vehicle causing it to make an emergency stop, on July 26.

- Timothy Ford, 39, of Highfield Lane, Nawton, Helmsley, North Yorkshire. Charged with obstruct/disrupt person engaged in a lawful activity, namely standing in the way of guards and engaging in an act known as ‘slow walking’, on July 15. Mr Ford did not attend the hearing.

- Vanda Gillett, 40, of no fixed abode. Charged with obstruct/disrupt person engaged in a lawful activity, namely obstructing access using his body and being abusive and intimidating to a security guard.

- Gary Raymond Mackintosh, 40, of Anderson Avenue, Harehills, Leeds. Charged with obstruct/disrupt person engaged in a lawful activity, namely climbed on top of a moving trailer unit, on June 30.

- A 17-year-old girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons. Charged with aggravated trespass, namely failed to leave Old Pit Lane having been instructed to under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, on July 15.

- Sophie Zoe Pearce, 22, of Philip Street, Bedminster, Bristol. Charged with obstruct/disrupt person engaged in a lawful activity, namely setting up a tripod barrier to obstruct activity, on July 13.

- James Studd, 23, of The Debenside, Melton, Suffolk. Charged with obstruct/disrupt person engaged in a lawful activity, namely climbed on top of a moving lorry cab, on July 3.

- Scott Symonds, 18, of Sixth Avenue, Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire. Charged with obstruct/disrupt person engaged in a lawful activity, namely blocking the road with his body, on July 15.

- A 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons. Charged with obstruct/disrupt person engaged in a lawful activity, namely blocking the road with his body, on July 15. The youth did not attend the hearing.