Fracking protester guilty of trespass in Lancashire offices

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An expert in nuclear medicine has been ordered to pay more than £1,000 after he was convicted of taking part in an anti-fracking protest during which offices were occupied.

Dr Rowland Dye, 62, was convicted of aggravated trespassing in the office of the Chamber of Commerce in Blackpool.

The offices are based at Lockheed Court and are also used by gas fracking company Cuadrilla, which was the target of the protest in August last year.

District Judge Phillip Houlden, sitting at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court, fined Bristol-based Dr Dye £250 and ordered him to £500 costs and £25 victims’ surcharge.

He also told Dye to pay £551.83 compensation to the Chamber, which had to cancel an event the day after the protest.

The judge told Dye: “Your intentions was an objective to enter these premises and then get other protestors inside who were ready and waiting.”

“But for you they may have not have secured

access. It was designed to maximise publicity for your cause.”

The judge said it was clear what the protestors wanted because furniture was moved and a heavy duty lock was used by those who got inside and who wanted to secure the inner doors.

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber Of Commerce, said: “This decision sends out a clear message that if protestors break the law they will be punished.

“It set the precedence for our local business community who can now be assured that fracking occupancy is illegal and not welcome in Lancashire.”