Greenpeace protesters bailed following roof-top protest at PM’s home

North Yorkshire Police said five campaigners have been released while further inquiries take place.

A group of Greenpeace activists arrested following an anti-oil protest on the roof of Rishi Sunak’s constituency manor house have been released while inquiries continue, police have said.

North Yorkshire Police, who have come under criticism following the security breach at the Prime Minister’s grade II-listed mansion in Kirby Sigston on Thursday, said their investigation “remains ongoing”.

The campaigners draped his home with an oil-black fabric to protest against the Government’s plans to allow licences to be granted for further development of North Sea oil and gas.

Rishi Sunak on holiday
The Prime Minister and family were in California at the time (Emma McIntyre/PA)

They scaled the roof of his home at about 8am on Thursday, while Mr Sunak, his wife and children were on holiday in California, and stayed up until around 1.15pm, when they were arrested.

The force said: “All five suspects who were arrested following the protest in Kirby Sigston on August 3 have been released on conditional police bail to allow for further inquiries to be carried out.

“The investigation remains ongoing.”

Assistant Chief Constable Elliot Foskett said: “There was no threat to the wider public throughout this incident, which has now been brought to a safe conclusion.”

But a former deputy chief constable from the force said it was a “major breach of security”, as he called for an “investigation into how this has been allowed to happen”.

Mr Sunak, the MP for nearby Richmond, this week announced plans to “max out” the UK’s oil and gas reserves by granting more than 100 new licences for extraction in the North Sea.

Protester Alex Wilson, who lives in Newcastle with her partner, who was also on the roof, released a video message from the scene of the protest, saying: “We’re all here because Rishi Sunak has opened the door to a new drilling frenzy in the North Sea while large parts of our world are literally on fire.

“This will be a disaster for the climate.”

On the ground, Greenpeace UK climate campaigner Philip Evans defended the action at the Prime Minister’s family home.

He told the PA news agency the group had knocked on the door when they arrived and said “this is a peaceful protest”, but there was no answer.

Asked whether it was intrusive to target someone’s home, Mr Evans said: “This is the Prime Minister. He is the one that was standing in Scotland going to drill for every last drop of oil while the world is burning.”

Peter Walker, who stepped down as North Yorkshire Police’s deputy chief constable in 2003, said he was “absolutely astonished” the protesters gained access to the house, as he called for an investigation.

He told LBC radio: “It is clearly in my view a major breach of security.”

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