Sussex woman sentenced over ‘Just Stop Oil’ blockades of fuel depots Brighton News

A 64-year-old woman has become the first person to be convicted for her involvement in the wave of protests at fuel sites organized by activist group Just Stop Oil.

Catherine Maclean has been charged with aggravated trespassing after an incident at an oil terminal in Thurrock last Wednesday.

Maclean, of Cuckfield Road, Hurstpierpoint, was ordered to pay £409 in fines and costs after he admitted the offense at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Saturday, Essex Police said.

Just Stop Oil has launched a series of blockades of fuel terminals in the south east of England and the Midlands since April 1 in a bid to force the government to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.

Protests in Essex on April 13 focused on the Purfleet Oil Terminal, the Inter Terminal in Grays and the Navigator Terminal in Thurrock.

The group said it hoped the blockades “would have a significant impact on the availability of fuel at petrol pumps in the southeast”.

Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Nolan said: ‘Sadly Ms Maclean’s actions mean she now has a criminal record.

“No one – especially my officers – wants to see this happen, but it is a timely reminder that if you come to Essex to commit a trespass, even if you may see it as a protest, you will be arrested, you will be charged and likely to result in a criminal conviction.

“We are in no way anti-protesters. Individuals have a protected right to protest, but these incidents unfortunately became criminal and we had no choice but to act and seek permission from the prosecution to charge people.

Two other campaigners – James Skeet, 34, of Drayton Street, Manchester, and Stephanie Aylett, 27, of High Oaks, St Albans – appeared alongside Maclean at Saturday’s hearing.

Both denied a charge of aggravated trespassing and breach of bail conditions, Essex Police said, and have been remanded in custody and will appear in Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court next week .

So far 23 people have been charged in connection with the disturbances around Thurrock since early April, Essex Police said, and they have made 461 arrests.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-17 12:11:26

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