Police warn of ‘extremely dangerous’ fuel protests as activists block oil terminals | british news

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Essex Police have warned that days of “exceptionally dangerous” fuel protests create an “unacceptable” risk of harm to police and activists.

The number of arrests is approaching 350 as activists from Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion block access to oil terminals in Essex by gluing themselves to the road and attaching themselves to fuel tankers with bicycle locks.

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Concerned drivers across the country – already dealing with higher prices – are complaining about huge queues and closed stations as a result of the protests.

Police said 338 arrests had been made since April 1, when the protests began, and a further 26 are expected to be made today, bringing the total to 364.

On Sunday morning, more than 20 protesters arrived at Exolum Storage in Grays.

Glen Pavelin, Assistant Chief Constable of Essex Police, said: “We cannot stand by as criminal acts are committed and lives are put at risk in the name of protest.

“We’re not against protests. Our job is to save lives and catch criminals, and that’s what we’re going to do.

“Today’s protest is extremely dangerous because of where the protesters have settled on the grounds.

“Our officers have made every effort to ensure that all protesters are aware of the risks and we have worked hard this morning to minimize the dangers.

“Put simply, we don’t want anyone to get hurt.”

The Thurrock protests have cost the force “more than £1 million”.

Mr Pavelin added that “crime on the ground is not only illegal, but they still put themselves and our agents at a real risk of harm and that is unacceptable”.

“We have been fortunate enough to have additional support from specialist officers from across the country to support some of our officers in continuing their day-to-day work,” he said.

Outside of Essex, Warwickshire Police said a further 29 arrests were made this weekend in connection with ongoing protests at Kingsbury Oil Terminal.

Those in custody have been arrested for offenses including criminal damage, conspiracy to cause criminal harm and conspiracy to commit public nuisance in what Assistant Commissioner Ben Smith described as “another busy weekend” for police.

This brings the total number of arrests since the start of the protests to 180.

Mr Smith, who said there will be more police presence at the site in the coming days, added: “This weekend’s protest activity has been confined to the Piccadilly Way area and has caused little disturbance to the wider community or to the activities of the oil terminal.

“While we will always recognize and respect the public’s right to peaceful protest, we will take action against anyone who breaks the law or has a significant impact on the local community.”

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