Arrested train cuts protesters appear in court

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Two pensioners who were arrested during a protest against travel cuts appeared at Sheffield Magistrates Court today.

More than 100 protesters gathered outside the court in Snig Hill as Tony Nutall, aged 66, of Church Street, Jump, Barnsley, and George Arthur, aged 64, of Honeywell Grove, Barnsley. appeared to face charges of obstructing police during the Freedom Ride protest at Sheffield Station on June 23.

Freedom Riders outside Sheffield Magistrates Court

Freedom Riders outside Sheffield Magistrates Court

They pleaded not guilty to the charges and face trial by magistrates on December 8.

They will also appear for a case management hearing on October 21.

The pair were bailed unconditionally - a condition which was requested by the prosection for them not to travel on the South Yorkshire rail network without a valid ticket was removed after Arthur said his local Elsecar station did not have a ticket machine for him to buy one in advance.

Protesters waved banners and made speeches via megaphone outside the court before and after the preliminary hearing.

Tony and George were arrested during protests by the Freedom Riders group and Barnsley Retirees Action Group at the train station, where they had been protesting cuts to travel passes for disabled and elderly people.

Free train travel for disabled people has been reinstated by South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, but the group is continuing to fight for free train travel for the elderly.

A video of Nuttall’s arrest went viral after it was sent in by Star reader and protester Jen Dunstan.

A meeting of the Barnsley Retirees Action Group will be held at the Blind & Partially Sighted Association in Back Reget Street, Barnsley, at 11am on Wednesday.

Nuttall said: “I feel really upset about the way things have been handled. But our campaign is made up of literally dozens and dozens of elderly and disabled people who have stuck together, who have shown solidarity together.”