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Environmental protesters avoid jail after blocking main tunnel into Heathrow Airport by attaching themselves to a car with expanding foam

The environmentalists attached themselves to vehicles with metal piping and expanding foam in protest of airport expansion plans      

Three men who attached themselves to cars and blocked a tunnel into Heathrow in protest of the airport's expansion have avoided jail.

The third runway opposers blocked the main inbound tunnel towards the central area of the airport and terminals two and three, on February 21 during rush hour.

The trio parked cars in Tunnel Road East before attaching themselves to one of the vehicles using metal piping and quick-dry expanding foam.

They also draped a banner reading "no new runways" across a vehicle.

At Uxbridge Magistrates' Court on Tuesday (May 16), Simon Bramwell, 45, of Stroud, Daniel Keeler, 35, of Watford and Stuart Basden, 34, of Bristol, were found guilty of obstructing a tunnel access road, following a trial.

On Thursday (May 18) at the same court, they were sentenced but avoided jail.

Environmental protesters have avoided jail time after blocking a tunnel in to Heathrow Airport in February, causing miles of standstill traffic in west London (left to right Brasden, Bramwell, Keeler)(Image: Met Police)

Two other people, Geneieve Scherer and Nil Agger, had previously pleaded guilty in connection with the incident.

The protesters were part of campaign group Rising Up, which said they took the action to show solidarity with those worst affected by further expansion of Heathrow Airport, following the approval for a third runway in October 2016.

Basden and Agger hired cars and drove behind Keeler into the tunnel. They then blocked it an unfurled the banner.

Police had to use specialist cutting tools to free the men from the cars and clear the tunnel.

The protest created miles of tailbacks on the M4 spur, as well as affecting the M25 and other roads nearby.

A protester by the car at the Heathrow tunnel(Image: Rising Up!)

One of the protesters, Keeler, even had to be taken to hospital before he could be arrested, as the expanding foam was still attached to his arm.

'Nothing lawful about this protest'

Superintendent Andy Jones, from the Met's Aviation Policing Command, said: "Whilst we will always support lawful protest as being the right of anyone who lives in this country - there was nothing lawful about this protest.

"It was selfish, they put their desire to be heard above everything else and gave no consideration to the impact it would have on others."

The protest forced the M4 spur to grind to a halt(Image: Highways England)

Bramwell and Keeler were ordered to pay a sum towards victim services, as was Basden who also had to pay costs to the court. All three men were handed a 12-month conditional discharge.

Agger, 23, of Gables Farm, Hazlecote Lane, Stroud, pleaded guilty on April 19 at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court and was ordered to pay a fine, costs and a sum to victim services.

At the same court, on March 8, Scherer, 70, of Leppoc Road, Lambeth, pleaded guilty and was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs and a sum to victim services.

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