Three people have been arrested today after an operation to clear a roadside protest camp.
Two women and one man have been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass at the camp next to the A692 between Leadgate and Dipton.
Durham Constabulary said several protesters remain at the site, including two who have scaled a tree on the edge of the field, and two who are locked-on underground.
Officers and bailiffs will remain at the scene throughout the night and work to extricate the remaining protesters will resume tomorrow morning.
Bailiffs acting on behalf of developers The Banks Group are trying to secure fields next to the A692 which has been awarded planning permission to operate as an opencast site.
Around 50 officers from Durham Constabulary, working alongside staff from Durham County Council, took part in today’s operation to dismantle the protest camp, which was constructed at the side of the road and was obstructing both the highway and access to the opencast site.
A section of the A692 which was temporarily closed during the morning for safety reasons, reopened in time for evening rush-hour.