The 64-year-old Just Stop Oil activist has been fined as she became the first protester convicted of protesting at an oil terminal that caused a fuel shortage.
- Katherine McLean pleaded guilty under aggravated circumstances and was ordered to pay £409
- Just Stop Oil launched a series of blockades of fuel terminals in the southeast
- James Skeet, 34, and Stephanie Aylett, 27, also appeared alongside McLean.
- Both denied charges of aggravated trespass and breach of bail.
A 64-year-old woman has become the first protester to be convicted of participating in a wave of protests at gas stations by activist group Just Stop Oil that caused fuel shortages at gas stations.
Katherine McLean pleaded guilty to aggravated wrongdoing after the Navigator terminal in Thurrock, Essex was locked down and the group said it halted production.
Essex Police said McLean of Hurstpierpoint, Hassox, West Sussex, was ordered to pay £409 in fines and legal fees at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Saturday.
Just Stop Oil launched a series of blockades of fuel terminals in the South East of England and the Midlands from 1 April to force the government to cut its dependence on fossil fuels.
After weeks of disruption, several oil companies have secured civil injunctions aimed at preventing protesting environmentalists from attacking their fuel processing facilities.
This means they can be quickly arrested for causing damage or chaining themselves to vehicles or objects at said sites and driveways.
Katherine McLean has been charged with aggravated trespass following an incident at an oil terminal in Thurrock last Wednesday. Pictured, a police officer walks by as Just Stop Oil activists sit on top of a fuel truck during a protest in Grace on Good Friday.
McLean admitted to her wrongdoing following protests in Essex on Wednesday, April 13, which were centered on the Purfleet oil terminal, the Interterminal in Grace and the Navigator terminal in Thurrock.
Just Stop Oil said it hopes the blockade will “significantly impact the availability of fuel at gas stations in the Southeast.”
Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Nolan said: “Unfortunately, Ms McLean’s actions mean she now has a criminal record.
“No one – least of all my officers – wants this to happen, but this is a timely reminder that if you come to Essex to commit an assault, even if you take it as a protest, you will be arrested, you will be charged, and this can lead to a criminal conviction.
“We are in no way opposed to protest. People have a protected right to protest, but these incidents have unfortunately escalated into criminal liability and we are left with no choice but to act and seek permission from the Crown Prosecution Office to bring charges against people.”
Two other activists – James Skeat, 34, from Drayton Street, Manchester, and Stephanie Aylett, 27, from High Oaks, St Albans – appeared with McLean at Saturday’s hearing.
Essex Police said McLean, from Hurstpierpoint, Hassox, West Sussex, was ordered to pay £409 in fines and court costs after he admitted to the wrongdoing in Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Saturday. Pictured, police remove a demonstrator sitting on a fuel truck as Just Stop Oil activists block the entrance to a fuel terminal during a protest in Grace April 15.
Both have denied charges of aggravated trespass and bail violations, Essex police said, and have been taken into custody and will appear before Chelmsford Magistrates Court next week.
So far, 23 people have been charged in connection with the unrest around Thurrock since early April, and 461 arrests have been made, according to Essex Police.
This resulted in the force spending over £1 million policing the protests and causing a huge strain on local law enforcement.
Several oil companies have won civil injunctions aimed at preventing environmental protesters from attacking their fuel processing facilities.
A number of key operators, including Navigator Thames, ExxonMobil and Valero, have received injunctions over the past few days, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said Friday.
Valero Energy received a High Court injunction against a number of environmental groups and “unidentified individuals” earlier this week following recent protests at the Kingsbury terminal.
It prohibits anyone from damaging any part of the land on each of the firm’s sites, “attaching to any other person or object” on the land or access road sections, or building any structure.