Second anti-HS2 protester taken into police custody after voluntarily leaving tunnels

Jess Glass, PA
·3-min read

A second anti-HS2 campaigner has been taken into police custody after he voluntarily left tunnels dug in secret by activists near Euston station in London.

A group of at least six people entered a network of tunnels beneath Euston Square Gardens as part of a protest over the impact of the planned high-speed railway on January 27.

On Saturday evening, Lazer Sandford, who bailiffs had previously been trying to extract from a “lock on” at the bottom of a down shaft, voluntarily came out.

The PA news agency understands he was arrested after leaving the 100ft network of tunnels.

A spokesperson for the HS2 Rebellion group said Mr Sandford is thought to have left in exchange for supplies for the remaining demonstrators.

These supplies are said to include hygiene and sanitary products, as well as lights.

However, PA understands it is denied that concessions were offered, but a light was provided due to health and safety reasons.

A HS2 Ltd spokesman said: “A second illegal trespasser chose to leave the tunnel this evening, and we urge the others to follow.

“On-site paramedics provided immediate medical assistance. The trespasser has now been handed over to the Metropolitan Police.”

HS2 project
Lazer Sandford spent 11 days in the 100ft network of tunnels (HS2 Rebellion/PA)

The spokesman continued that the safety of protesters, HS2 staff and emergency services personnel was of “paramount importance” and that it was doing “all we can to end this illegal action safely”.

He reiterated calls for activists to exit the tunnels “as soon as possible”.

Mr Sandford previously attached himself to a tunnel using a device made of steel and concrete around his arm in efforts to prevent his removal by bailiffs.

Enforcement officers worked for hours to remove the device before Mr Sandford moved into the tunnels away from the bailiffs on Friday evening.

In a statement released on Saturday, the environmental campaigner said: “The choice we face with climate and social breakdown is whether to sacrifice other people’s lives for our own comfort.

“Me and my tunnelling friends are choosing to protect lives by means of protest. There’s a brilliant future ahead for all of us, but we have to create it, it won’t just arrive.”

Mr Sandford’s departure comes after one of the demonstrators voluntarily left the tunnels and was arrested on Friday evening.

Roc Sandford, father of Lazer and fellow tunnel protester 18-year-old Blue Sandford, previously said he was “scared and distressed” as their parent but was “right behind them” and understood “exactly why they know they have to do this”.

Commenting on the tunnellers he told the PA news agency on Friday: “I am in awe of all of those incredibly brave spirits down there, not just my children, but all of them.”

HS2 Rebellion has called on the Government to scrap the “expensive, unpopular and destructive” railway scheme and claims plans will see Euston Square Gardens built over with a temporary taxi rank before being sold to developers.

The group has claimed that the protest in Euston is the “longest UK protest tunnel occupation in two decades”, breaking the ten-day record previously set by a pair of environmental campaigners in Derbyshire in 2008.

Other activists in the tunnels include veteran environmental campaigner Swampy, real name Daniel Hooper, and his son Rory.