Silverstone protestors taunt police after invading track at British Grand Prix
‘Police knew stunt was coming two days ago but we outwitted them,’ say eco-warriors
Eco-warriors taunted police after a group of protestors stormed on to the track during the British Grand Prix at nearby Silverstone which borders Aylesbury Vale and Northants.
Officers revealed two days before the race they were aware of protests being planned and pleaded: "Going onto a live racetrack is extremely dangerous – if you go ahead with this reckless plan you're jeopardising lives."
But a tweet from the Just Stop Oil campaign group on Sunday (July 3) said: “We did it anyway.
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“This action was covered in the national press two days ago but a handful of ordinary people determined to tell the truth have outwitted the Government and Northants Police.”
Social media posts showed five protestors waiting for F1 cars to drive past before sitting on the track — and then being dragged away by marshals and police.
Event Commander, Chief Inspector Tom Thompson, who led the policing operation over the Grand Prix weekend, confirmed seven people were arrested, adding: “Thankfully we had plans in place for an eventuality such as this and the group were swiftly removed."
Northamptonshire Police said all seven were held overnight.
The protestors slipped through a massive security net around the track and sat on the 200mph Wellington Straight on lap one — luckily just as cars had slowed down following a horror crash involving Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu.
The group tweeted: "If you are more outraged about this disruption than our world being burnt before our eyes, then you need to get your priorities straight.
"We demand the government calls an immediate halt to new oil and gas projects in the UK and we will continue to disrupt sports, cultural events and oil until this demand is met.
"How many more young people have to step up before the government will listen?"
Four of those involved are believed to be Alasdair Gibson, 21, a student from Aberdeen; 29-year-old Manchester bricklayer Joshua Smith; Bethany Mogie, 40, from St Albans; and Louis Mckechnie, 21, from Weymouth, according to Just Stop Oil.
Northamptonshire Police issued a warning on Friday confirming: “We have received credible intelligence that a group of protestors are planning to disrupt the event and possibly invade the track on race day.”
Following Sunday’s race, CI Thompson revealed the force had made offers allowing the group to make their point safely.
He said: “I’m really disappointed that this group of people ignored our warnings prior to race-day and made the incredibly dangerous decision to enter the track.
“We offered to facilitate a peaceful event at the circuit but they instead chose to put the lives of the drivers, marshals and volunteers at risk. It is incredibly disappointing that anyone would make the decision to do this.
“Finally, I would like to thank all of the officers and staff, as well as our partners, who have worked tirelessly on this policing operation. Generally we have had very low crime rates, today’s incident was dealt with effectively and efficiently, and I could not have asked for more.”
Northamptonshire’s Chief Constable, Nick Adderley, posted a tweet on Sunday night that he was “incredibly proud of the policing operation so far and the utter professionalism of the officers and staff involved.”