London

Greenpeace protesters who scaled Nelson's Column spared jail

Greenpeace Image copyright Yui Mok
Image caption The Greenpeace activists placed a papier-mache mask over the Nelson's Column

Two Greenpeace campaigners who caused about £35,000 of damage scaling Nelson's Column have been spared jail.

Alison Garrigan and Luke Jones scaled the monument in central London's Trafalgar Square on 18 April.

The two 30-year-old anti-pollution activists placed a papier-mache mask over the figure.

At Westminster Magistrates' Court they were each given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £85, and a victim surcharge of £30.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Greenpeace activist Alison Garrigan was arrested after she descended from the monument

Compensation of £6,262 each would be paid for by Greenpeace, the court heard.

The defendants also caused damage to the 165ft (50m) granite and bronze Grade I-listed statue's vertical lightning conductor and its fixings by running their climbing equipment through it.

And they flattened spikes intended to deter pigeons from settling on the statue.

Sentencing the pair, chairman of the bench Mike Snow said: "The defendants are both skilled climbers who, I accept, did not intend to cause damage.

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Media captionNelson's Column was one of the London landmarks to be used in the Greenpeace protest at pollution in the city

He added: "The lack of intention to cause the damage is revealed by their guilty plea, the method that they adopted to execute their protest and the confirmation that Greenpeace will today pay the full amount of compensation requested."

Prosecutor Carly Loftus said total damage was estimated at up to £35,000 to fix. Repairs will be incorporated within scheduled maintenance work on the statue, due to take place next year.

Garrigan, of Manchester, and Jones, of Hackney, east London, both pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage.

Defending, Mike Schwarz said Garrigan, a domestic violence worker, and Jones, a logistician with Greenpeace, were committed to raising the profile of the dangers of air pollution.

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