Doctor in court charged with illegally occupying Lancashire building in fracking protest

Blackpool Magistrates Court
Blackpool Magistrates Court
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A scientist has made his first appearance in court charged with illegally occupying an office building during a protest against fracking.

Dr Rowland Dye, 62, is alleged to have been one of a party of more than 100 protestors who got into a two-storey office building, owned by the Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.

The upper storey of the building is rented by the company Cuadrilla, which wishes to extract gas from shale deep beneath the ground’s surface.

Dye, of City Road, Bristol, is charged with aggravated trespass of the building on Amy Johnson Way, Blackpool.

The charge says he obstructed a person engaged in a lawful activity by trespassing and forcing staff to leave the building on August 18 last year.

Anti-fracking protestors were in the public galleries to watch Dye appear before Blackpool magistrates on Tuesday. He pleaded not guilty to the allegation.

His trial, which is expected to last two days, was fixed to start on March 4.

Dye was bailed to the trial date.