Police could issue cautions following anti-mine protest

The anti-mine protest at Shotton.
The anti-mine protest at Shotton.

Court cases involving nine people who were arrested following an anti-coal protest at a surface mine have been adjourned for police to consider issuing cautions.

The incident happened on Monday, October 26, at Shotton surface mine, to the west of Cramlington, and all the defendants are alleged to have trespassed at the site, which is operated by Banks Mining.

Roger Geffen, 49, of Southwark Bridge Road, London, is faced with a charge of entering the open-cast mine with the intention of obstructing or disrupting mining activity.

Ellen Gibson, 21, of Elm Grove, London; Philip MacDonald, 28, of Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park, London; Beth Louise Parkin, 29, of Dodgson House, Bidborough Street, London; Pekka Piirainen, 23, of Elm Grove, London; and Thomas Youngman, 22, of Hermitage Road, London, each face a charge of blocking vehicular access with the intention of obstructing or disrupting activity at the site.

Laurence Watson, 27, of Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park, London; Guy Shrubsole, 30, of Bavent Road, London; and Lewis McNeill, 34, of no fixed address, each face one charge of chaining themselves to mining machinery to cause obstruction or disruption at the site.

All nine have been remanded on bail and are listed to appear at Bedlington magistrates’ court on Thursday, December 10. Bail conditions include not to enter or go within 100m of any Banks site or office nationally.

Banks Mining has submitted a planning application to Northumberland County Council for its proposed Highthorn site, earmarked for the south-east of Widdrington. The scheme has proved controversial and has split opinion, with some people in favour, but others against. Petitions have been created by both sides. A public meeting and site visit are due to be arranged.