Euston tunnel protest: Dr Larch Maxey removed by bailiffs

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image copyrightPA Media
image captionFive activists have been removed by bailiffs since the protest began on 26 January

An activist who has been leading a protest against the HS2 railway project from inside a network of central London tunnels has been removed by bailiffs.

Geography lecturer Larch Maxey had spent almost a month in the tunnels near Euston station, which are thought to be 100ft (30m) long.

He is the fifth protester to be removed from the tunnels, while another four are thought to remain underground.

HS2 Ltd said it was likely Dr Maxey would face criminal charges.

The tunnels, which were discovered on 26 January, were dug in secret by HS2 Rebellion protesters to thwart their eviction from their Euston Square Gardens camp, which was set up in September in protest against the £106bn scheme.

media captionBlue Sandford, 18, remains inside the network of tunnels

HS2 Ltd has always maintained it has "legal possession" of the land and has constantly urged protesters to leave "for their own safety" before they are removed by High Court enforcement officers.

Dr Maxey said in a video that his belongings were confiscated by bailiffs on Monday and although he "feels fine", medics had persuaded him to go to hospital to "be on the safe side".

The 48-year-old added: "I've basically met my match, they've come for me and they've rinsed me completely.

"They've got all my stuff, they've got me backed into a corner and at that point I was like 'OK I'm coming out'."

Previously Scott Breen, Lachlan Sandford, a 16-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl were removed from the tunnel and taken to court.

image captionThe network of tunnels was revealed by the BBC on 26 January

An HS2 spokesman said Dr Maxey was likely to face charges "for aggravated trespass or other related offences" as well as penalties for breaching a High Court order issued on 2 February.

Breaching the order is punishable by a fine, up to two years in prison, or both, the spokesman added.

He added: "We continue to do all we can to end this illegal action safely, and we reiterate our message to those who remain underground to comply with their court orders and exit the tunnel immediately - for their own safety and that of the HS2 staff, agents and emergency service personnel involved in this operation."

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