Protestor opts for trial
ECO-WARRIOR Andrew Woodcock's campaign to protect peat will continue in court.Woodcock was offered a 12-month bind over for his part in the anti-peat mining protest at Bramford agricultural firm Scotts last week.
ECO-WARRIOR Andrew Woodcock's campaign to protect peat will continue in court.
Woodcock was offered a 12-month bind over for his part in the anti-peat mining protest at Bramford agricultural firm Scotts last week.
But the Nottingham protestor said he would go to trial and plead not guilty – even though he is at risk of a more heavy punishment.
Speaking outside South-East Suffolk Magistrates Court, Woodcock, of Foxhall Road, said: "I turned down the bind over because I didn't do anything wrong.
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"I want to plead not guilty in court and I will be consulting a solicitor back home in Nottingham."
Woodcock faced charges of disorderly conduct and obstruction after Tuesday's protest at the company premises in Paper Mill Lane.
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District Judge David Cooper said he thought a bind over was the most suitable action, but set trial for February 12 when Woodcock refused it.
On the day in question, protestors handed out leaflets outside the company and then some chained themselves to the underside of a lorry.
But Woodcock, 26, defended the protestors' actions, saying mining peat bogs was destroying a vital part of the British countryside.
He said: "There are just three large peat bogs left in England. Scott's have been paid by English Nature to stop mining at two of them.
"They've been allowed two more years mining at the third, but we don't think there's two years of peat left there.
"Peat bogs are beautiful and an have an incredibly diverse system of plant, animal and bird life dependent on them.
"They are also a vital carbon sink – up to 30 per cent of the world's carbon dioxide is soaked up by peat bogs."
A spokeswoman has defended the agricultural firm.
Claire Dixon said: "Scotts has responsible extraction policies and transferred over its biggest and best sites at Thorne, Wedholme and the majority of Hatfield – over 85 per cent of the land in question – in 2002 in an agreement with English Nature.
"Scotts is also actively working with English Nature on leading-edge restoration projects on this site."