Lincolnshire

RAF Waddington drone protesters guilty of fence damage

Henrietta Cullinan, Keith Hebden, Susan Clarkson, Christopher Cole, Penelope Walker and Martin Newall (clockwise from top left)
Image caption Keith Hebden (top centre) is an Anglican priest and Martin Newall (bottom left) is a Catholic priest

Two priests are among six people who have been found guilty of criminal damage during a protest at an RAF base that is used to operate drone aircraft.

The group, aged from 37 to 66, were accused of damaging a fence at RAF Waddington, in Lincolnshire, on 3 June.

They all pleaded not guilty on the grounds they were preventing greater crime in Afghanistan.

However, they were convicted by Lincoln magistrates, fined £100 and given a six-month conditional discharge.

Image caption The MoD says Reaper aircraft are mainly used for surveillance

Unmanned Reaper aircraft began to be operated from control stations at the base earlier this year.

While the aircraft are based at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan they are remotely controlled by pilots in Lincolnshire.

The Military of Defence has said the aircraft are mainly used for surveillance.

Charges of conspiring to commit criminal damage and obstructing or disrupting a person engaged in lawful activity had already been withdrawn.

The defendants were:

  • The Reverend Keith Oliver Hebden, 37, of Nottingham Road, Mansfield
  • Father Martin Newell, 46, of Mattison Road, London
  • Penelope Walker, 62, of Gotham Street, Leicester
  • Susan Clarkson, 66, of Bath Street, Oxford
  • Christopher Cole, 49, of Wilkins Road, Oxford
  • Henrietta Cullinan, 51, of Trumans Road, London

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