'On Thursday morning, the day after being released from prison, three environmental activists who became the first people to be jailed for an anti-fracking protest in the UK returned to the Preston New Road fracking site near Blackpool.
Simon Roscoe Blevins, 26, Richard Roberts, 36, and Richard Loizou, 31, arrived to a hero’s welcome from around 40 protesters gathered there. “It’s helped so much while we’ve been in prison to receive all of your letters and to know there is so much support,” Loizou said to the crowd. Blevins said: “We had letters and pictures covering all of our walls, stuck there with toothpaste because that’s all we had.”
Last month Blevins, a soil scientist from Sheffield, and Roberts, a piano restorer from London, were sentenced to 16 months in prison, and Loizou, a teacher from Devon, got 15 months, after the three were convicted by a jury at Preston crown court of causing a public nuisance.
The men were prosecuted for taking part in a protest in July last year in which they climbed on to the cabs of trucks attempting to carry drilling equipment into the Preston New Road site and camped there for three days.
The site has been a focal point for protests since October 2016, when the government overturned a decision by Lancashire county council and gave the energy firm Cuadrilla consent to extract shale gas at two wells on the site.'
Read more: 'This is just the beginning': freed activists return to fracking site
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