A Cypriot anti-fracking activist in Britain will spend over a year in prison along with three others for their part in blocking the way for trucks outside an energy company base.
Richard Loizou, a 31-year-old teacher from Devon, along with Simon Roscoe Blevins and Richard Roberts, aged 26 and 36, got their prison sentences on Wednesday after they were convicted of causing public disturbance last year.
During a protest in July 2017, the men jumped on lorries, blocking them from carrying drilling equipment to energy firm Cuadrilla's base in Little Plumpton, Lancashire.
Loizou, who got 15 months, climbed in the back, while Roberts, who got 16 months, was the first to go through police security and climb on the first of seven trucks. Blevins also received 16 months for the same offences while a fourth individual, 47-year-old Julian Brock, got 12 months.
The protest lasted four days when the fracking protesters were refusing to come down, spending between 45 and 84 hours on top of the lorries while police were trying to negotiate an end to the protest.
The prison sentences came as a shock, according to some British media reports, since activists typically did not receive jail sentences. But the court heard that the activists were likely to be repeat-offenders, as they appeared motivated in their cause. The judge also said local residents and businesses were negatively impacted by the protest which took place on a busy road.
”Given the disruption caused in this case, only immediate custody can achieve sufficient punishment,” the judge added.
The activists are expected to appeal their sentences.