Tree protest charges dropped against Sheffield pensioners

Two pensioners in court today over a tree felling protest in Sheffield have had the charges against them dropped.

Thursday, 26th January 2017, 10:37 am
Updated Thursday, 26th January 2017, 10:42 am
Protesters gathered at Sheffield Magistrates' Court this morning

Jenny Hockey and Freda Brayshaw, from Rustlings Road, Endcliffe, said they are relieved their ordeal is over.

They were charged over a protest they staged in November when Sheffield Council contractors started felling trees on their street as part of a city-wide road and pavement improvement scheme.

Residents were woken in the early hours to the sound of chainsaws being used to cut down trees as they slept.

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Others were woken up to be asked to move their cars to allow tree felling machinery to be brought onto the street.

South Yorkshire Police sent officers to the street in a bid to avoid any confrontation between Amey workers and local residents.

Outraged residents claimed they were not informed of the tree felling operation in advance and neighbours Jenny Hockey and Freda Brayshaw were arrested at the scene.

Police officers arrested pair using Trade Union legislation, aimed at those who hinder the work of others.

They were charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour intending to and causing harassment, alarm or distress.

Sheffield Nick Clegg, who was critical of the Rustlings Road tree felling operation at the time, said: "I am relieved that this case had been dropped and the prosecutors have seen common sense.

"This whole episode, from the dawn felling to this court case, has been a total waste of taxpayer’s money and everyone's time causing unnecessary stress for my constituents who just wanted the best for their community and environment.

"The council was completely out of order to fell these trees at 5am and the reaction of my constituents to peacefully protest under those circumstances was completely justified."