Two men have been sentenced after causing widespread disruption across the Southeast when they climbed the QEII Bridge at the Dartford Crossing.
Morgan Trowland (pictured right) and Marcus Decker (left) began climbing the bridge stanchions in the early hours of 17 October last year.
The men then eventually climbed to about 200ft above the water and remained suspended over the carriageways. Their actions led to the bridge being closed for 41 hours.
Essex Police say those actions caused disruption to hundreds of thousands of a people on the M25 and surrounding roads, “many of whom lost out on salary, missed significant family occasions or could not access medical help when it was urgently needed”.
Both men were removed from the bridge by specially trained officers on the afternoon of 18 October.
Officers had trained on a specialist raised platform at a nearby fire station before it was brought to the bridge.
Once they were safe, both men were arrested on suspicion of causing a public nuisance and subsequently charged.
They denied the charges but were found guilty of the offence at Southend Crown Court.
They appeared at the same court on Friday (21 April), to be sentenced.
Trowland, 40, of Drummond Way, Islington, and Decker, 34, of no fixed address, were sentenced to three years and two years and seven months respectively.
“Trowland and Decker’s actions were completely unacceptable. They were dangerous and they were incredibly disruptive,” said Detective Chief Inspector Louise Metcalfe, who oversaw the investigation. “We know they saw their actions as protest – they were not. They caused danger and disruption to many. Thankfully, our specially trained officers were able bring the incident to a safe conclusion.”
Stephanie Golder, a Just Stop Oil spokesperson, reacted by saying: “What Morgan and Marcus did was extraordinary, risky and extremely disruptive. But what should you do when your government refuses to protect the people? When it ignores the repeated warnings of the world’s climate scientists. When you know that new oil and gas extraction will eventually result in the deaths of billions of people?
“Nonviolent civil resistance is the answer. It’s what the Suffragettes did, it’s what the Civil Rights movements did. It’s our best chance of getting the scale of change we need, in the time we need it.
“Just Stop Oil will not be deterred by these draconian sentences. Where they imprison one of us, ten more will take their place. When they imprison ten of us, one hundred will stand to take their place. We must unite against this genocidal government and be brave.”
(Picture – Essex Police)