Sheffield Tree Campaigners win '˜out of court' settlement against police for '˜unlawful arrest'

Sheffield Tree Campaigners have won an 'out of court' settlement against South Yorkshire police for '˜unlawful arrest'.

Wednesday, 19th December 2018, 8:08 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th December 2018, 8:28 pm
Tree campaigners have won an 'out of court' settlement against South Yorkshire police

The campaigners reportedly received more than £3,000 each after winning the settlement under flawed Trade Union legislation. 

Posting on Twitter Sheffield Tree Campaigner Calvin Payne, said: "My wrongful arrest case from Nov 2016 has been settled by South Yorkshire Police.

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'Other cases are near completion too and there'll be a public statement in the New Year. This relates to the wrongful arrest of peaceful tree protesters under Trade Union law in Sheffield'.

Calvin Payne, Margaret Mark, Kate Billington, Jeremy Peace, Simon Crump and Paul Brooke were all detained by police while protesting against tree felling by Sheffield City Council contractor Amey.

The activists were arrested between November 2016 and February 2017 'for the prevention of harm and injury' under an obscure clause of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act.

However, a police watchdog found their arrests were inappropriate, leading them to later seek damages from South Yorkshire Police. 

It follows the long-running saga over the controversial tree felling by Amey as part of the 25-year, £2.2 billion private finance initiative agreement with the council, which was signed in 2012 for road maintenance, including the responsibility for maintaining the city's street trees. 

Arborists are felling and replacing trees deemed dangerous, dead, diseased, dying or those which are said to be damaging streets and pavements but objectors staged a number of protests across the city against this. 

Trees earmarked for felling are fenced or cordoned off and a court injunction is in place making it illegal for protesters to enter the safety zones,

However, a number of cordons have been breached leading to arrests. 

Work on the trees has been halted since March following violent clashes between security staff and protesters, and has not resumed since then.

Earlier this month Sheffield City Council and Sheffield Tree Action Group (STAG) committed to '˜mediated talks' over the felling of street trees after years of being in direct opposition.