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Two activists who shut down Dartford Bridge for 17 hours in eco-protest jailed for more than five years
21 April 2023, 15:30 | Updated: 21 April 2023, 16:34
Two Just Stop Oil protesters who scaled the Dartford Crossing bridge and caused traffic chaos have been jailed.
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Morgan Trowland and Marcus Decker were jailed for three years in prison and two years and seven months in prison respectively after being found guilty of causing public nuisance.
Their eco stunt forced police to close the bridge to traffic while they got them down.
Trowland, 40, of Islington in North London, and Decker, 34, of no fixed address, stopped traffic for the best part of the day as emergency services tried to get them down, eventually using a cherry picker crane.
They were up there, suspended some 200ft over the river, for about 37 hours.
The duo climbed up at about 4am on October 17 last year, took out a Just Stop Oil banner, and set up hammocks.
Both argued during their trial that it was a peaceful protest despite causing gridlock for miles. The crossing is the only road over the Thames east of Greater London.
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"We climbed it to deliver a warning message - to put up a banner saying 'Just Stop Oil' and to speak that message through interviews with journalists," Trowland said.
But Essex Police pointed heavily pregnant woman who needed medical help and a person who missed their best friend's funeral, as well as small businesses who lost hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Frustrations led to people blasting fireworks at them to get them to come down.
They eventually agreed to work with police and come down when officers brought in a very tall cherry picker.
At the time, they said in a joint statement: "We successfully disrupted oil supplies to Kent & the South East for 36 hrs.
"We are stepping down now but other supporters of Just Stop Oil will be stepping up day after day, causing disruption & putting their liberty on the line to demand that the government ends new oil & gas."
They were jailed at Southend Crown Court on Friday after being found guilty of public nuisance.
Detective Chief Inspector Louise Metcalfe, who oversaw our investigation, said: "Trowland and Decker’s actions were completely unacceptable. They were dangerous and they were incredibly disruptive.
"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."