20 arrests made following protests at Clacket Lane and Cobham service stations
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20 people have been arrested following protests at petrol stations at Clacket Lane and Cobham service stations on the M25 this morning (24 August).
Officers attended the scene following reports of protestors damaging petrol pumps at both sites. Some of the groups had also glued themselves to the forecourts.
As of 1pm, Cobham service station has been reopened and fuel is available, although some pumps are too damaged to be used. Clacket Lane eastbound and westbound services remain closed due to the damage caused to pumps.
A total of eight protestors were arrested at Cobham and 12 were arrested at Clacket Lane for offences including conspiracy to commit criminal damage, aggravated trespass, and public nuisance. They all remain in custody.
A 29-year-old and 57-year-old man were arrested at Clacket Lane services on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage, aggravated trespass, and public nuisance. Following further inquiries, they were both de-arrested and released with no further action.
We know tactics of this protest group include running onto forecourts at petrol stations, using glue to stick themselves to petrol tanks, and causing significant damage to property. Previous activity at these sites has had a substantial impact on businesses and the public.
As such, officers respond as quickly as possible and wherever they can prevent protestors from being able to cause significant disruption and damage. This means the policing response is often fast-paced and complex.
We arrest individuals on suspicion of committing an offence. It is then our role to carry out further inquiries to gather evidence, including confirming their identity, to prove or disprove that offence.
We will provide further updates as and when we can.
Superintendent Graham Barnett said: “Whilst we will always seek to facilitate the public’s right to protest, the damage caused at the petrol stations earlier today is completely unacceptable and does not constitute a lawful protest.
“Officers responded quickly to the first call and began removing protestors safely as soon as they arrived. Responding to protests of this nature is not easy, the tactics these groups use cause damage and significant disruption which requires a lot of time and officers to resolve. I’d like to thank the public for bearing with us during the disruption.”