Appeal to cover court costs of Sheffield tree protesters passes £1,500 mark

Jenny Hockey and Freda Brayshaw have been charged under the Public Order Act
Jenny Hockey and Freda Brayshaw have been charged under the Public Order Act
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Nearly £1,600 has been raised in just three days to help protesters charged over attempts to stop the pre-dawn felling of trees in Sheffield.

More than 70 people have backed a crowdfunding campaign to pay their legal costs and any fines ahead of a court hearing next Thursday (January 26).

Police in Rustlings Road, where council contractors began felling trees at 5am

Police in Rustlings Road, where council contractors began felling trees at 5am

The appeal, which was only launched over the weekend on the Crowdfunder website, had already raised £1,583 by Monday evening.

Sheffield pensioners Jenny Hockey, 70, and Freda Brayshaw, 71, were among three people arrested following a stand-off with police last November in Rustlings Road.

They have since been charged under the Public Order Act, and are due to appear at Sheffield Magistrates' Court on January 26, according to the Sheffield Tree Action Groups (STAG).

The crowdfunding campaign was launched on behalf of STAG, which hopes to raise £4,000.

The proceeds will be added to the £545 generated by a previous crowdfunding appeal for the trio which was wound up when it had appeared no charges would be brought.

The campaign group, which plans to stage a protest outside the court from 9am, says the defendants' solicitors are waiving their usual charges and asking only for administration costs.

It says any money remaining once those fees have been paid, along with court costs and possible fines, will go towards other legal costs incurred during the campaign, including helping those who may be arrested in future for taking 'peaceful action' to oppose the tree felling.

The trio were arrested as campaigners tried to prevent council contractor Amey from felling trees in the street on November 17, where they began the work at 5am.

The drama garnered international attention and Sheffield Council has since apologised for how the affair was handled.

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