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Anti-fracking protesters disrupt Eddie Stobart depots in Cheshire

Eddie Stobart lorries backed up in south Warrington
Image caption Protesters were causing disruption to Eddie Stobart lorries

Campaigners targeting companies that supply an energy firm's fracking site have stopped lorries from leaving a haulage company's depots.

Anti-fracking protesters in Cheshire blocked Eddie Stobart's Orford depot's exit and walked slowly in front of lorries at Appleton Thorn.

They want to persuade the firm to stop supplying Cuadrilla's Preston New Road site at Little Plumpton, Lancashire.

An Eddie Stobart spokeswoman said one of its tankers had visited the site.

She said seven lorries had been unable to leave the depot on Hawleys Lane in Orford due to the protest, which began at about 03:00 BST.

Image caption Police cut two anti-fracking protesters free from a steel pipe to which they were joined

Two protesters who chained themselves to a metal and plastic pipe and lay across the road were cut free by police.

The campaigners have not stated how long they plan to block the site but said they were taking direct action as a "last resort".

Cheshire Police said two men have been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass.

One protester, known only as Katrina, was "slow walking" in front of the lorries leaving Appleton Thorn.

She said: "Ultimately we would like Stobart to pull out of their contract with Cuadrilla.

"But if they don't, it would be like a warning shot to other suppliers and hopefully Stobart's will think twice about entering into a contract with fracking companies in future."

Image caption The government approved Cuadrilla's plans for horizontal hydraulic fracturing at the site in October last year

There were about 10 campaigners at each of the protest sites in Orford and Appleton Thorn.

The protests are part of a week of action targeting contractors working to supply Cuadrilla's Preston New Road site, which is being prepared for test drilling.

Protests have been held near the Little Plumpton site since Cuadrilla started work there on 5 January.

The government approved Cuadrilla's plans for horizontal hydraulic fracturing at the site in October last year.

A spokeswoman from campaign organisation Frack Free Lancashire said they felt they had been "bullied by the government".

"Lancashire County Council voted democratically to say no to fracking but then it was overturned by the government - so if that's not bullying, I don't know what is," she said.

Cuadrilla declined to comment.

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