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Frackers, Flares And Coppers In Choppers

Flare shooter causing fissures amongst Barton Moss protesters

Written by . Published on January 14th 2014.

Frackers, Flares And Coppers In Choppers

GREATER Manchester Police are continuing to appeal for information after a flare was fired at a police helicopter just after midnight on Saturday 4 January.

"The sad fact is that quite often legitimate camps can be a magnet for alcoholics, people with severe mental health disorders, people who have no genuine interest in the issues and people who simply think it funny to disrupt other people's hard work."

Reports from the helicopter suggest that the flare was fired from the Barton Moss anti-fracking protest camp in Salford.

Anti-fracking protesters, lead by the Frack Free Greater Manchester protest group, have denied any involvement, but recent comments on an independent media website appear to implicate an individual from a small faction of more hostile and aggressive protestors at Barton Moss.

A post on the website from an unknown source named Fracking Objector states: 

"There are simply too many people who saw it happen to try and claim it was a cop fit up when it wasn't. I'm not in any way defending what the cops did and I was one of those who had their tent turned over by them but in my humble opinion we are better off telling the truth, booting out the t**t who did it (without informing cops of course) and moving on."

While another post on the site by Terri says:

"From talking to people at the camp that I know, it's clear there was a flare, nobody denies that anymore. However, it may or may not have come from the camp but the balance of probability is that it did."

Comments from the site now suggest that the individual responsible for the flare has since left the camp.

However, a post from the Frack Free Greater Manchester protest group made on Friday 10 January continued to deny involvement in the flare incident and suggested legal action against police:

"No flare has ever been fired from Barton Moss Protection Camp and we are now in discussions with lawyers over the actions of Greater Manchester Police."


Chief Superintendent Mark Roberts said, "This incident last weekend was absolutely ridiculous and could ultimately have cost lives. Initially a number of people at the camp absolutely refuted that any protesters were involved yet we now have comments left on a website to the contrary.

"We know that there are people within in the camp who have information about this and I would ask that those people now come forward and tell us what they know.

"The policing operation down at Barton Moss is now in its third month and is likely to continue for the next three months. The officers working down there day in day out have built up a good relationship with the majority of the protesters who come and go from the camp but there is a handful of people who seem set on causing as much disruption as possible to local residents and businesses and seeking confrontation with the police.

"The officers working down there day in day out have built up a good relationship with the majority of the protesters who come and go from the camp but there is a handful of people who seem set on causing as much disruption and aggravation as possible.

"The officers are there to do a job and they do that job well. Our job is to facilitate peaceful protest - irrelevant of what that protest is about. A number of protesters are trying to draw officers into this and to make this a fight against the police. This is not our fight and when officers are abused and stupidly threatened with flares this then detracts away from what the majority of the people are protesting about.

"On Sunday we saw around 500, mainly local people, peacefully protesting in the area and not one arrest was made. It is a small number of people, mainly from other areas of the country, who seem to intent on causing this disruption and distraction."

An unnamed source on the website explained that unsavoury and often uninvolved types can be drawn to the camps: 

"The sad fact is that quite often legitimate camps can be a magnet for alcoholics, people with severe mental health disorders, people who have no genuine interest in the issues and people who simply think it funny to disrupt other people's hard work."

So far 58 arrests have been made at the Barton Moss site, while according to police figures the policing operation has cost around £330k.

Police request anyone with information regarding the flare to contact 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

For a reasoned justification for fracking from Graham Stringer MP please click here.

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11 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

SoapysudsJanuary 15th 2014.

As the police helicopter has CCTV and Infra-red cameras onboard, why is there no footage of the alleged flare incident? Using an open on-line forum to back up the police allegation, seems very, very suspect, on the polices part.

AnonymousJanuary 15th 2014.

I wonder what would happen if the Government (or indeed a private company ) announced plans to open a number of deep coal mines all over the North of England, creating jobs, wealth and prosperity to declining communities and recession-hit areas needing regeneration. Then the right-on Lefties who fought the police and demonised Thatcher (for closing coal mines and getting rid of whole industry) would have to fight it out against the NIMBY contrarians who now are shouty and protesting against newer, cleaner, safer and less damaging ways of collecting natural resources. That should mess with their heads...... they wanted mines to stay open, (causing huge geological problems / subsidence / pollution) at a huge nationalised loss, because nobody had a coal fire any more......... but now they won't let the next generation of industry get on with it. They also, in their idealistic Sixth-form political way, think you can make omelettes without breaking a single egg.

AnonymousJanuary 15th 2014.

My problem with Fracking is this. Whenever we get reports on TV they always say; We pump chemicals into the ground, and no one ever says what these chemicals are. Chemicals can be anything from salt to sulphuric acid, but what chemicals are used during Fracking has never be clearly defined in any media report, and yet we're used expect to accept that all is OK without quibble. If the chemicals are so harmless why not tell us what they are, and let us make up our own minds? Also, I don't believe that stuff about the flare, as the above poster says where's the evidence? If they had CCTV footage or photographs they would be posted all over the media, the fact that they're not speaks volumes.

AnonymousJanuary 16th 2014.

Cameron and Co would sell their very souls to the highest bidder. They only have one God,certainly not the one true divine God. They have no mandate from the people, as like the Majority of their actions.Total, band from Fracking in their own Country,the French Government will not allow them to You need to watch RT and similar minded programmes,certainly not The BBC to obtain information on issues which impact upon the Majority in this Country. The Censorship in this Country is truely alarming The RESEACH is out there,but do not trust this undemocratic sham of a Government to tell the truth. You only need to look at the NHS and the Education System for starters.

AnonymousJanuary 16th 2014.

This article is biased and full of made-up information. There was no flare or the police would have evidence. The GMP are brutalising locals and supporting a private company who intend to pollute the water supply and contribute to the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change for the profit of their shareholders. I've not been to the camp but I will be soon, these are some of the bravest people I've ever seen.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 16th 2014.

No, they are balancing your right to protest, against the rights of this company to go about their lawful (whether you like it or not) business. I'm no great fan of GMP, but you should really drop the hyperbole because it does your cause no favours.

Joy BoydJanuary 17th 2014.

No they are not anonymous they are acting like thugs on a public footpath that was never meant to have the amount of heavy traffic IGAS have inflicted on the residents of Barton Moss Rd and wider community. The protectors have not got an issue with the police doing their duty. However it is our human right to protest and it is the police's duty to facilitate that peaceful protest. Therefore it is their duty protect to the protectors as well as IGAS. Unfortunately what we are witnessing is large numbers of police officers pushing and snatching elderly and pregnant women, snatching innocent people from the crowd snatching a mother and her child. Knocking disabled man down a ditch all within a peaceful walk down a footpath. This is what protectors complain of and they have every right to do so.

Joy BoydJanuary 17th 2014.

With regard to this editorial. I would like your readers to consider this. 1.Why would GMP wait 48 hours to search Barton Moss Protection camp? When we would all agree that if if flaregate had actually ,happened could have caused serious injury and maybe death to GMP officers. Yet they wait 48 hours to investigate!!!!! 2. Why would GMP wait 48 hours to go to the camp to look for evidence, Therefore giving people time to dispose of this non existent evidence. 3. GMP have a duty of care to their officers and yet they allow them to go back up in the helicopter before the incident has been investigated and they have ruled out any further danger. (I don't think so!) 4. GMP have to follow Health and Safety rules like every other employer. (except we all know they don't which has led to the Chief Constable being prosecuted for HS issues regarding the shooting of an unarmed man. The risk to the community was also ignored by GMP when they chose not to investigate this so called incident. Personally I do not believe it happened and is rightly being called 'Flaregate' and is certainly one to rival Plebgate in highlighting that police officer lie in an effort to win public support. Unfortunately the police will always get the support of Sheeple, thankfully I am not one of them.

David BlakeJanuary 17th 2014.

We're always willing to discuss both sides Joy Boyd. If you're involved in the demonstrations and the group organising the protests then please email david.blake@theconfidentials.co.uk and let's set something up.

AnonymousJanuary 21st 2014.

Your 'human right to protest' isn't an absolute right. Hope this helps.

AnonymousJanuary 17th 2014.

Also, if the Police had footage of the alleged flare, it would somehow "leak" and be all over Youtube now

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