Three Just Stop Oil Supporters found guilty for demanding an end to life-threatening fossil fuels. 

Three Just Stop Oil supporters were convicted at Stratford Magistrates Court today, in relation to peacefully disrupting the UK’s largest petrol station, to demand an end to new fossil fuel projects in the UK.[1]

Ben Buse, 37, Christopher Ford, 45 and Alfred Beswick, 26, appeared before Judge Ciecióra. Christopher Ford and Alfred Beswick pleaded guilty to blocking access to Cobham services, located on the M25, in April 2022. Christopher was given a £100 fine and Alfred was given an £85 fine and a 12 month conditional discharge. Ben Buse pleaded not-guilty and has been ordered to pay a £150 fine. [2]

Speaking before appearing in court today, Chris Ford, 45, a nursery teaching assistant and father of 2 sons from Cambridge said:

“The United Nations say we are at a ‘code-red’ for humanity. They, and scientists across the globe are screaming for humanity to stop using fossil fuels. So why is the government granting over 100 new licences for further exploration?

“Instead of making laws to move our society away from fossil fuels, they make laws to shoot the messengers- over 100 environmental protesters were imprisoned last year! The government, the laws they make, the legal system – the whole state – are not protecting the public, they are protecting short-term profits for the few, at the expense of our children’s futures.

“I find myself in court today, facing charges of Aggravated Trespass for protesting at the UK’s largest petrol station. I’ve been told by my solicitor that a recent high court decision has effectively taken away every defence. I’m facing a fine at best, imprisonment at worst. Another messenger is being shot… How, as a parent, with my children’s futures at risk, can I stand by and do nothing?”

Another of those on trial, Ben Buse, 37, an Earth Scientist from Somerset added:

“Last year the government approved the first new coal mine in 30 years, and is now licensing a further 100 oil and gas fields, destroying any hope of limiting warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. We are already seeing climate disasters around the world, as detailed in the recent Christian Aid report. Disregard for keeping the world below 1.5C of warming, is already causing serious displacement and death to millions of people.

“Democracy requires disruptive protest. History demonstrates many examples where civil resistance has captured imaginations and galvanised the necessary dynamic for change. The government is deaf and dragging its feet, whilst ignoring the calls to action from experts- ignoring the cost-of-living and climate crises. They would rather subsidise billionaires in the fossil fuel industry, rather than help the millions of people having to choose between heating and eating this winter.”

The three who appeared today were the last of 35 Just Stop Oil supporters to appear in court for blocking two M25 service stations on the 28th April 2022. All three have previously spent time in prison for taking action with the Just Stop Oil campaign. 

Since the Just Stop Oil campaign began on April 1st 2022, there have been over 2,000 arrests and 150 people have spent time in prison. There are currently 12 Just Stop Oil supporters in prison awaiting trial or serving sentences for actions taken with the campaign. 

We stand with our 12 supporters in prison, with the 1,800 victims of our broken criminal justice system imprisoned for over a year without trial and with the 1,700 murdered across the global south, for protecting all our lives. This is the moment for us to come together and resist the destruction of everything we love, something that is being imposed on us by a few, who only seek to enrich themselves. We’re done with begging. We are going to stop new fossil fuel projects whether those in power agree or not. As citizens, parents and children, we have every right under British law to protect ourselves and those we love. We are the last generation who can solve this. Will you step up? Join us and Just Stop Oil. [3][4]


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Notes to Editors

[1] Just Stop Oil is a coalition of groups working together to demand that the government immediately halt all future licensing and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK. Just Stop Oil is a member of the A22 Network of civil resistance projects. Climate Emergency Fund is Just Stop Oil’s primary funder for recruitment, training, and capacity building.

[2] Press Release from 28th April:

[3] Fair Trials reports that the number of people being held in prison without trial in England and Wales is at its highest for over 50 years, with 1,800 people in prison without trial for at least a year. 

[4] A recent report from Global Witness says that more than 1,700 people have died while trying to prevent mining, oil drilling or logging on their lands.