Protester's jail term 'will hit anti-fracking efforts in Rotherham'

Simon Blevins Simon Blevins 
Simon Blevins 
A SCIENTIST'S jail sentence for protesting fracking near Blackpool will be a loss to anti-drilling efforts in Harthill and Woodsetts, campaigners say.

University of Sheffield researcher Simon Blevins (26) was sentenced to 16 months after climbing on a lorry near a Quadrilla shale gas site — and staying there for 73 hours.

Blevins, from Sheffield, was sentenced to 16 months at Preston Crown Court on Wednesday (26) after an earlier trial for public nuisance.

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He said: “I took action in part to protect my sister’s unborn child. It hurts that as a result of this sentence, I will now miss that baby’s birth.”

Mum Rosalind said: “Today my son went to prison. I’m proud of him for standing up to stop climate change.

“He wasn’t up there for himself, he was there for everyone. It’s not just climate change like a change in the weather, it will be catastrophic.”

Two other men were given similar jail terms and another was handed a suspended sentence in relation to the protest last summer.

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The group — dubbed the Frack Free Four — are the first in the country to be given prison sentences for protesting the industry.

The sentencing hearing was told that bus and other transport journeys were delayed — and lorry drivers were stuck in their cabs — as a result of the protest, which totalled 100 hours.

Sheffield Against Fracking spokeswoman Christina Whalley said: “Simon Blevins is a wonderful caring and peaceful human being. 

“His incarceration is a great loss to our environmental movement in Sheffield, and immediate surrounding areas of Marsh Lane, Harthill and Woodsetts, who are all now living with the fear of approved or potential new applications for fracking test drilling in their villages.

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