Insulate Britain protesters jailed over human roadblocks which caused M25 chaos

(L to R) Paul Sheeky, Rev Sue Parfitt, Biff Whipster, Ruth Jarman, Steve Pritchard, Steve Gower, Richard Ramsden outside the High Court

Nine Insulate Britain protesters have been jailed or given suspended sentences for causing chaos on the M25 by gluing themselves to the road and forming a human roadblock.

High Court judges handed prison sentences of two months and 30 days to two protesters, while the seven others received two-month suspended jail terms.

National Highways claimed the protesters had breached an injunction and were in contempt of court.

Lord Justice Dingemans said each protester had accepted they had breached a court order and were in contempt.

Judges heard Insulate Britain had organised protests which disrupted and obstructed the M25 on several days in September.

A judge had subsequently made an order barring protesters from staging protests on the M25. Further protests took taken place in October.

Protesters had made impassioned speeches seeking to justify forming human roadblocks.

The protesters, who have a combined age of 428, said they were compelled to act to highlight Britain's so-called "leaky homes".

One defendant, the Rev Sue Parfitt, 79, from Bristol, had said: "Wasn't it worth me sitting on the motorways to flag (our) message, and to interrupt people's lives for an hour or so, in order to protect our children?"

She was given a two-month suspended prison term.

Lord Justice Dingemans said there had been “very substantial” disruption.

“The effect on those marooned in the traffic is not difficult to contemplate,” he said.

“There is a risk that emergency services will not be able to respond.

“This is so even though the defendants operated what they called a ‘blue light’ policy, which was to move from one lane if they saw a blue light approaching.

“This does not deal with the emergency workers stuck in traffic on their way to work, or the emergency vehicles stuck at the back of the queue.”

Lord Justice Dingemans went on: “Workers will be late for work.

“Drivers and passengers will be late for appointments or meetings.

“The time of every normal driver and passenger stuck on the roads was treated by the defendants as not counting enough to outweigh the protesters’ own view of how people should be alerted to their view.

“This might be considered to be the antithesis of the individual rights which are still to be provided to the nine defendants by this court.

“This is because it has never been the law that one wrongful action justifies another.”

Dr Diana Warner, 62, from Bristol, was given a two-month prison term.

Dr Ben Buse, 36, from Bristol, was given a 30-day term.

Seven others were given two-month suspended terms.

They were: Biff Whipster, 54, from Canterbury, Kent; Paul Sheeky, 46, from Warrington, Cheshire; Richard Ramsden, 75, from Halifax, West Yorkshire; Ruth Jarman, 58, from Hook, Hampshire; Steve Gower, 54, from Gloucester; Steven Pritchard, 62, from Radstock, Somerset; and Sue Parfitt, 79, from Bristol.