Sheffield scientist jailed for '˜lorry surfing' at fracking protest to appeal against sentence

A University of Sheffield scientist jailed for '˜lorry surfing' at a fracking protest is to appeal against his sentence.Â

Friday, 5th October 2018, 7:40 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th October 2018, 9:09 am
Simon Blevins. (Pic: Frack Free Four)

Simon Blevins, aged 26, of Andover Street, Burngreave, was found guilty of causing a public nuisance after he and fellow protesters climbed onto lorries outside a shale gas fracking site in Lancashire to prevent a convoy delivering drilling equipment.

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This is why you may have heard a low flying plane over Sheffield last nightÂ
Simon Blevins. (Pic: Frack Free Four)

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The disruption at energy firm Cuadrilla's base in Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, Lancashire, in July 2017 lasted just short of 100 hours, with the campaigners refusing to come down.

Blevins, a university researcher specialising in toxicity issues in urban areas, and Richard Roberts, aged 36, of London, were both jailed for 16 months, while Rich Loizou, 31, from Devon, was jailed for 15 months.

But a spokeswoman for Robert Lizar Solicitors said all three men will be lodging an appeal against sentence on the grounds that they were "wrong in principle and manifestly excessive.'  

At their sentencing at Preston Crown Court on September 26, Judge Robert Latham said he felt he could not suspend the jail terms despite accepting the impact of incarceration and the good they did in the community.

He said: "I do find they provide a risk of re-offending.

"Each of them remains motivated by unswerving confidence that they are right.

"Even at their trial they felt justified by their actions.

"Given the disruption caused in this case, only immediate custody can achieve sufficient punishment."

A fourth defendant, Julian Brock, aged 47, of Torquay, was sentenced to 12 months in custody, suspended for 18 months, after he pleaded guilty to public nuisance.