Crowdfund launched for tree protesters' court costs

One woman being arrested for blowing a toy horn at tree protest
One woman being arrested for blowing a toy horn at tree protest
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Sheffield Tree Action Group have launched a crowdfunding project to raise money for the costs of campaigners going to court over tree felling.

So far they have raised nearly £3,000 in just over one week.

The campaigners were demonstrating against the felling of thousands of trees across the city which comes under a controversial 25-year contract with PFI contractor Amey.

Chris Rust, who set up the project, said their target is £29,500 and any extra money raised will be spent on planting trees.

He said: “It’s shocking that SCC started this vindictive and punitive court case at a time when they are claiming they want to seek a ‘compromise’ with tree campaigners.

“This current appeal is to help pay the punitive costs imposed on the three defendants, Fran Grace, Simon Crump and Benoit Compin, prosecuted by Sheffield City Council recently for breaching their injunction against street tree protectors.”

Retired teacher Ms Grace, lecturer Mr Crump and magician Mr Compin avoided jail after being found in contempt of court for demonstrating against tree felling.

Mr Justice Males, Sheffield High Court judge, ruled the trio had breached an injunction by entering “safety zones” around trees in a demonstration.

Mr Crump and Mr Compin were given a two-month prison sentence, suspended for one year, and Ms Grace was given no further punishment.

Earlier this year another crowdfunding project was set up by Stump Up Sheffield! which raised £27,000 for legal costs for two campaigners.

Calvin Payne was given a suspended sentence and ordered to pay the council's £16,000 legal costs for entering a "safety zone" and encouraging others to do the same.

The other protester was given a suspended sentence and ordered to pay £11,000 after spending 10 minutes in a "safety zone".

The project was supported by celebrities Jarvis Cocker, Ken Loach, Richard Hawley and Maxine Peake.

In August 2017 the council got an injunction to prevent protesters taking direct action against tree felling.

The controversial tree felling programmed was paused in March following a series of confrontations between police and protesters.