Bexhill to Hastings road: Bailiffs evict road protesters

Bailiffs, police and protesters at the anti-road camp in Combe Haven Valley More than 30 bailiffs and police arrived at the protest camp on Wednesday

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Police and bailiffs have begun evicting protesters from an anti-road building camp in East Sussex.

Up to 30 activists have set up the site dubbed "the second Battle of Hastings" to halt the construction of the £93.8m Bexhill to Hastings link road.

More than 30 bailiffs and security staff arrived at the camp near Crowhurst on Wednesday morning and started evicting protesters.

Five people were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass and obstruction.

Campaigner Patrick Nicholson, 47, said: "Most of the protesters are secured via different forms of locks.

At the scene

The whole area surrounding the base camp has been sealed off.

A big dome-shaped contraption that the protesters have been sleeping in for some time - their main base - has now gone signalling that the eviction is nearly over.

There is still concern for one person who has dug himself into the side of a railway embankment.

Removal officers are worried that if they try to get him out with shovels and spades the whole tunnel will collapse on top of him.

"They are not easy to get out, and that includes people in treehouses and tunnels.

"The authorities have to do what they have to do. But I think if the bailiffs leave the site, people may well move back in and secure themselves to trees."

Activists built tunnels to prevent heavy machinery getting on to the site. Some fixed themselves to trees and other obstacles.

One protester, who is know as Simon Sitting Bull, has locked himself into a 15ft tunnel.

He told BBC South East Today: "I have high energy food, water, containers for urinals and large bin-liners for defecating in.

Activists against the £93.8m Bexhill to Hastings link road have built tunnels

"I don't think they will pull me out. I think they will gently ease me out, hopefully."

Contractors started to clear the trees and undergrowth in December in preparation for construction work on the link road.

Anti-road campaigners took their protest to the trees in Combe Haven Valley at the same time.

The road will link the A259 and B2092, crossing Combe Haven Valley near a site of special scientific interest.

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