Four campaigners could be jailed over the ongoing Sheffield trees saga

Sheffield Trees Memorial
Steve Topple

Four campaigners involved in the ongoing Sheffield trees saga are due to appear in court in June, charged with breaching council injunctions. They could possibly face jail sentences.

The tree felling programme

Labour-led Sheffield City Council and its contractor Amey are chopping down public trees in the city. Local residents aren’t happy because of the environmental impact, the “Thatcherite anti-union” behaviour of the Labour council, and public health concerns. But the council argues that the work is necessary to “avoid catastrophic financial consequences”.

As The Canary has been documenting, people have been campaigning against the felling of trees. But on 15 August 2017, following a court case brought by the council against three campaigners, it said that anyone who tried to protest “inside a safety zone” around the tree felling area would be in contempt of court and face the risk of a fine or imprisonment.

Sheffield campaigners in court

The council has now enforced that policy. As the Star reported, campaigners Paul Brooke, Simon Crump, Benoit Benz Cumpin and Fran Grace will appear in Sheffield’s high court between 5 and 7 June. The council has accused them of breaching the injunctions placed around tree felling areas. The incidents are alleged to have occurred during protests in December 2017 and January 2018.

It’s not yet clear what pleas the defendants have submitted.

Featured image via Alan Story

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