Seven people guilty after blocking M57 by gluing themselves to it

Police remove animal rights protestors who glued themselves to the M57 motorway in Merseyside this afternoon during the Grand National at Aintree
-Credit: (Image: Liverpool Echo)

Seven people have been issued with fines after blocking the M57.

The group were convicted at Liverpool Magistrates Court today (Friday May 24) following a protest on Wango Lane, which occurred on the same day as last year's Grand National.

On Saturday 15 April 2023 Merseyside Police received a report of protests on junction 2 of the M57 and Wango Lane, near to Aintree racecourse.

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The court heard that officers had been asked to look for the minibus and stop it after receiving intelligence that the occupants intended to protest at the racecourse. Prosecutor Simon Jones said a marked police vehicle drove ahead of the minibus on the M57 and an electronic matrix signal board asked the driver to follow.

The court heard one person was immediately arrested by a police officer, but seven others "ran towards the middle lane and glued themselves to the road and to each other".

Mr Jones said: "Police arrested them at around 4.30pm [on suspicion of causing public nuisance] and they were further arrested at 5pm for obstructing the middle lane of the motorway. A police vehicle that was further back prevented traffic from following down the road. There was a concern for safety - not just for their own, but for the officers and other road users."

Following an ongoing investigation, nine people were charged with Wilful obstruction of a highway. The following were today found guilty:

  • Sarah Love, 47, of no fixed abode

  • Jamie Carter, 29 of no fixed abode;

  • Eleanor Kenny, 19 of no fixed abode;

  • Andrew Houghton, 67 of Mendip Crescent, Bedford;

  • Zoe Able, 28 and of Leeders Pightle, Norfolk;

  • Tobias Brown, 49 of West Wycombe Road, High Wycombe

  • Lucia Alexander, 40 of Halle Lane, Wacton, Norfolk

Rosa Sharkey, 23, of Chase Side Avenue, Enfield and James Kelly, 46, of Mornant Avenue, Hartford, in Northwich were both found guilty and issued with fines at South Sefton Magistrates Court earlier this month.

Detective Chief Inspector Ben Dyer said: "As with the previous hearing, the seven defendants relied heavily on their right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights during their court hearing. However, they have now all been found guilty.

"Merseyside Police respects the right to a peaceful protest and expression of views, but where this crosses into criminal behaviour and disorder it will not be be tolerated. Such actions put those protesting and other road users at huge risk, and as always has the potential to disrupt emergency services responding to serious incidents.

"I hope these outcomes send a strong message and act as a future deterrent to others. Peaceful protest has its place in society, but that place is not in the middle of a motorway."

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