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Ex-fracking contractor changed sides to join protesters

Darren Miller
Darren Miller

A Blackpool man who was a contractor working for gas fracking company Cuadrilla has appeared at court charged with obstructing the highway outside the firm’s drilling area.

Darren Miller (pictured) told District Judge Jeff Brailsford sitting at Blackpool Magistrates Court said he worked for a research firm hired by Cuadrilla in the early days of their gas exploration on the Fylde.

He told the judge that he had decided to protest against Cuadrilla fearing their fracking process would affect the envirment.

He said: “Whilst I was working for Cuadrilla I thought long and hard about what they were doing. I began with traditional forms of protest such as petitions and rallies but they did not work,”

Miller is charged with obstructing the highway outside the drilling site on Preston New Road, Little Plumpton near Blackpool.

He was one of four people arrested.

Miller said: “It was a peaceful protest. We wanted to make life difficult for Cuadrilla. I was unable to unlock myself when asked by police.

He and three other pleaded not guilty to the obstruction offence.

The four accused of wilfully obstructing the highway on June 30 last year are

Barbara Cookson, 67, of Lawrence Grove, Liverpool; Darren Miller, 44, and Panda Miller, 34, both of Tynedale Road, North Shore, and Lee Walsh, 43, of the protest camp site Dugdale Close, Blackpool.

The four had allegations that they had hindered Cuadrilla staff going about their work dropped by the prosecution.

(Proceeding)