Three protesters jailed for blocking access to a fracking site walked free on Wednesday after the court of appeal quashed their sentences, calling them “manifestly excessive”.
The activists, Simon Blevins, 26, Richard Roberts, 36, and Rich Loizou, 31, had been jailed after a four-week trial led to their convictions for causing a public nuisance for a protest at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site in Lancashire.
But judges ruled that the prison terms imposed last month were inappropriate and said that the three men should be freed immediately. Soon afterwards they were discharged from Preston prison, where around 30 supporters – carrying banners reading “smile we’re going to win” and “free all fracktivist political prisoners” – had gathered to greet them.
After leaving the building to cheers and hugs from friends, Loizou read a statement to the waiting media.