Anti-Heathrow expansion activists face jail

Anti-Heathrow expansion activists face jail

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Thirteen activists who cut through a fence at Heathrow and chained themselves together on a runway have been told to "expect jail sentences".

The protesters, part of action group Plane Stupid, were found guilty at Willesden Magistrates' Court of aggravated trespass and entering a security restricted area.

They oppose Heathrow's planned expansion and its environmental impact. Twenty-five flights were cancelled after the protest on July 13 last year.

District Judge Deborah Wright said all of the defendants were people of integrity who were concerned about climate change and Heathrow expansion.

But she said the cost of the disruption had been "absolutely astronomical," the BBC reported.

The activists previously admitted to being on the runway but said such action was necessary to stop people dying from the effects of pollution and climate change.

They will be sentenced on February 24.

Superintendent Andy Jones, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "When protestors encroach into the airside environment they not only cause major disruption but also significant danger to themselves and aircraft.

"These convictions send out a clear message that such behaviour will not be tolerated."

Plane Stupid said in a statement: "When the democratic, legislative processes have failed it takes the actions of ordinary people to change them.

"Climate change and air pollution from Heathrow are killing people now and the government's response is to spend millions making the problem bigger."

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