Two eco-activists bailed after Stonehenge sprayed with orange paint as bosses say 'no visible damage' to monument

20 June 2024, 12:02

Two protesters bailed after Stonehenge sprayed with orange paint
Two protesters bailed after Stonehenge sprayed with orange paint. Picture: just stop oil

By StephenRigley

Two Just Stop Oil activists who were arrested after Stonehenge was sprayed with orange paint have been released on bail.

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Wiltshire Police said a man in his 70s and a woman in her 20s had been bailed after being arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, damaging an ancient monument and deterring a person from engaging in a lawful activity.

Video footage posted on social media on Wednesday appeared to show two people wearing white shirts with the slogan Just Stop Oil approaching the stone circle with canisters and spraying orange powder paint.

Read More: Eco-protesters arrested after trying but failing to damage Taylor Swift's plane in VIP airfield stunt

Read More: 'Like targeting a cathedral': Britain's 'top druid' condemns Just Stop Oil's 'completely dismaying' Stonehenge attack

Members of the public struggled with the campaigners - named by the group as Rajan Naidu, 73, and Niamh Lynch, 21 - as they appeared to run up to Stonehenge.

English Heritage chief executive Dr Nick Merriman said on Thursday that there appeared to be "no visible damage" to the monument.

Dr Merriman said: "It's difficult to understand and we're deeply saddened about this vandalism, but we've been really touched by the messages of sympathy and support we've had.

"Our experts have already managed to clean the orange powder from the stones because we were really worried about what would happen if they got in contact with water.

"So far, there seems to be no visible damage. The site is open to the public again and for the solstice tomorrow."

Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer were united in condemnation of Just Stop Oil after the incident.

The Prime Minister described it as a "disgraceful act of vandalism" while the Labour leader branded the group "pathetic".

In a statement on the two people who were bailed, Wiltshire Police said: "This is to allow us additional time to work with specialists and progress our inquiries.

"A man in his 70s and a woman in her 20s were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, damaging an ancient monument and deterring a person from engaging in a lawful activity.

"It follows reports that an orange substance had been sprayed on some of the stones by two suspects.

"We also continue to work closely with English Heritage."

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