First Thurrock fuel protestor convicted

Essex Police has secured the first conviction in the country in connection with disruption being caused at fuel sites.

Catherine Maclean had been charged with aggravated trespass after an incident in Thurrock on Wednesday April 13.

The 64-year-old, of Hurstpierpoint, Hassocks, in West Sussex, admitted the charge at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court yesterday, Saturday April 17.

She was ordered to pay a total of £409, including a £270 fine, £105 in court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

Maclean appeared alongside James Skeet, 34, of Drayton Street, Manchester, and Stephanie Aylett, 27, of High Oaks, St Albans.

They were also charged with aggravated trespass and breach of bail conditions.

They denied the offence and challenged the bail breach.

Magistrates heard how both Skeet and Aylett had been arrested multiple times in Essex since the disruption began in the early hours of April 1.

Both were remanded into custody to appear at the same court next week.

Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Nolan said: “Ms Maclean’s actions means she now has a criminal record. No one – least of all my officers – wants to see this happen but it is a timely reminder that if you come to Essex to engage in trespass, even though you may see it as protest, you will be arrested, you will be charged and that is likely to lead to a criminal conviction.”

Detective Superintendent Stephen Jennings, who is overseeing the investigation, added: “In total, 23 people have now been charged as part of this operation with cases being built against a number of others.”

There are no ongoing incidents in Essex this morning and no further arrests have been made in the last 24 hours. The arrest total remains at 461.

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Mick Ferris

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