London – A group of protesters who threw red paint over a commercial building and scaled it causing serious disruption have been sentenced at Southwark Crown Court.
According to a statement issued by the Metropolitan Police, the following were all sentenced for criminal damage on Friday, 17 September, 2021.
Lachlan Sandford, 20, of no fixed address, was sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for two years, 150 hours unpaid work, given a three month curfew between 21.00 – 06.00hrs and ordered to pay £2,000 compensation and £2,000 costs payable in full within 24 months.
Bertrice Zappi-Taylor, 24, of no fixed address, was sentenced to four months imprisonment suspended for two years, 150 hours unpaid work, given a three month curfew between 21.00 – 06.00hrs and ordered to pay £500 compensation and £500 costs payable within 12 months.
Barbara Anne Cookson, 70, of an address off Lawrence Road, Liverpool was sentenced to four months imprisonment suspended for two years, 150 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £150 compensation and £150 costs within 12 months.
This, police said, came after they took part in a protest on Cockspur Street, St. James’s on 13 August 2019.
“At around 08:00hrs, a group of demonstrators including Cookson, Sandford and Zappi-Taylor attended a commercial premises on Cockspur Street whereby they were seen by a witness to throw red paint over the building windows and main entry door. They then used their hands to spread the paint over a larger area.
“Two of the group including Zappi-Taylor climbed up onto the metal awning which extends over the front entrance. They proceeded to throw red paint over it and stuck a poster onto one of the windows. Cookson and Sandford used red spray paint and red paint to cover the walls and windows.
“The group then proceeded to glue themselves to the building. Police were called and arrived to find the protestors glued onto the windows and the main entrance door.
“Cookson, Sandford and Zappi-Taylor were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage at the scene and had to be removed by a specialist Protestor Removal Team. They were taken to a police station in central London where they were charged with the previous offence.
“As a result of the disruption of the group, a planned exhibition due to take place at the premises had to be cancelled as paint was all over the doors, windows and pavement outside”, the statement said.
Commenting on the case, detective Constable Suzanne Smith, of the Public Order Planning Team, said: “This result echoes the sentiment that those who cause significant damage and disruption to communities can expect to face serious consequences. Their actions caused extensive damage to a property and their lock on resulted in police having to take the time to ensure they were safely removed. The protest also caused serious disruption to staff trying to get into the building for work and they were unable to gain access, as well as causing the cancelation of an exhibit which many people had put hours of work in to secure.
“Dealing with protests of this nature takes time and to date has demanded thousands of officers each day to deal effectively. Every hour officers spend responding to demonstrations of this nature is an hour they are diverted from our number one priority, bearing down on violence.
“Of course, I empathise with those passionate about addressing climate change. However, we must remain impartial and respond to situations of crime and serious disruption.
“I thank everyone involved in this case for their part in bringing these individuals to justice and hope they reflect on their actions and consider the impact that they had on the officers and wider community”.