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Four climate activists charged over protests at motorway service stations

Just Stop Oil of campaigners stage a protest in the Shell petrol garage at the Cobham Services on the M25 in Cobham, Surrey (PA)
Just Stop Oil of campaigners stage a protest in the Shell petrol garage at the Cobham Services on the M25 in Cobham, Surrey (PA)

Four climate activists have been charged following protests at two motorway service stations in Surrey.

Nathan McGovern, 22, Amber Alexander, 18, Louis Hawkins, 22, and Rosa Sharkey, 22, have been charged with causing criminal damage of more than £5000, Surrey Police said.

Four further people remain in custody, the force added.

Officers were called to both Cobham Services in Surrey and Clacket Lane Services in Kent just after 7am on Thursday to reports that protesters were at the sites, gluing themselves to pumps and blocking access to the forecourts.

Surrey Police said in a statement on Friday that 55 pumps in total were damaged during the protests.

McGovern, Alexander, Hawkins and Sharkey appeared at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on Friday afternoon, the force said.

They were released on police bail with conditions imposed by the court.

All four were bailed on the conditions that they do not enter the county of Surrey save for court attendance, they do not enter any petrol station in England and Wales or obstruct any entrances or exits.

Bail conditions also included living and sleeping at their home addresses, not affixing themselves to any part of a petrol station or petrol tanker and not associating with other defendants save for pre-arranged solicitor appointments or at court.

McGovern is also required to wear an electronic tag.

Superintendent Graham Barnett said: “Around 40 officers were involved following the activity by protest group Just Stop Oil at Cobham and Clacket Lane Services yesterday.

“Police responded after reports that pumps were being smashed up and that protesters were gluing themselves to pumps, vehicles and forecourt signs.

“We appreciate that this caused considerable disruption to motorists attempting to use the services and to the petrol stations themselves, who will also have suffered a huge financial loss as a result of this activity.”

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