Tree protesters to "hold police responsible" in court for arrests

Fourteen Sheffield residents arrested and detained for protesting against street tree felling in the city are to take legal action against the police.

Image: Simon Crump
Image: Simon Crump

The protesters were attempting to block felling of mature street trees by the city's contractor Amey on three occasions in November and January.

South Yorkshire Police arrested and charged them under the 1992 Trade Union Act, but the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the charges earlier this month due to lack of evidence and prosecution not being in the public interest. 

In a joint statement, the protesters said: "We will be challenging the legality of their arrests, charges,and time spent in detention and on bail," adding that they "would have welcomed the opportunity to address the charges and defend their actions in court".

One of those arrested in November, Calvin Payne, said "We are not going to accept fourteen arrests for something that does not appear to have been a crime. We look forward to holding all those responsible to account."

They added that the recent statement by Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings that the law will not be used against peaceful protesters in future "raises as many questions as it answers".

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