A group of Greenpeace activists have ended their hours-long protest on the roof of Rishi Sunak’s North Yorkshire mansion as they criticised his new fossil fuel drilling “frenzy”.
The four campaigners draped the Prime Minister’s grade II listed manor house with an oil-black fabric to “drive home the dangerous consequences” on Thursday morning.
Police say five people have been arrested.
Police were “managing the situation” after being called to the family home in Kirby Sigston, near Northallerton, at around 8am after the activists climbed the roof while Mr Sunak, his wife and children were on holiday in California.
The group returned to the ground at about 1.15pm and were being spoken to by officers before being loaded into the back of police vans.
Assistant Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police Elliot Foskett said: “Shortly after 8am this morning we responded swiftly to reports of protest activity at the Prime Ministers North Yorkshire address.
“There was no threat to the wider public throughout this incident which has now been brought to a safe conclusion.
“The Prime Minster and his family were not at the address at the time of the incident.”
Five people have been arrested. Two men and two women were initially arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage and public nuisance.
Another man was then arrested on suspicion of causing public nuisance. They are in police custody this afternoon.
Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden, who is standing in for Mr Sunak during his holiday, told the protesters to “stop the stupid stunts”.
A former deputy chief constable of North Yorkshire Police said it was a “major breach of security”, as he called for an “investigation into how this has been allowed to happen”.
Safety was the top priority for the activists when carrying out this action said Greenpeace UK’s climate campaigner, Philip Evans.
“Our action today was entirely peaceful and we were diligent in ensuring that no one was home and that no damage would be done to the property. We have cooperated fully with the police and the activists have been taken into custody.
“We felt it was important to take this message directly to the Prime Minister’s doorstep today, since it is Sunak himself that has signed off on the decision to grant these licences and it is Sunak who holds the power to reverse this decision.
“So we ask the Prime Minister once more – Rishi Sunak, whose side are you on – Big Oil’s profits or our future?”
He added: “The only way we can get cheaper energy, warmer homes, lower bills and a safe, habitable planet is if we transition as fast as possible to a clean, renewable energy system and properly insulated homes.”
Protester Alex Wilson, who lives in Newcastle with her partner, who was also on the roof, released a video message from on the roof of Mr Sunak’s house.
“We’re all here because Rishi Sunak has opened the door to a new drilling frenzy in the North Sea while large parts of our world are literally on fire. This will be a disaster for the climate,” the climber, originally from East Yorkshire, said.
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