Police consider cautions following protest at mine

The protest at the Shotton surface mine at the end of October.
The protest at the Shotton surface mine at the end of October.
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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 the vehicular access and exit 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 Mid and South-east Northumberland Magistrates’ Court, in Bedlington, on Thursday, December 10.

Bail conditions include not to enter or go within 100 metres of any Banks site or office nationally and not to enter Northumberland.

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 will be arranged.