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Police arrest two eco-mob ‘conspirators’

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The Met Police have made two more arrests over the Insulate Britain M25 blockades – bringing the total number up to 28. 

Officers said a 36-year-old man was arrested in Streatham, south London, on Wednesday and a 51-year-old woman was detained in Warrington, Cheshire, on Thursday.

The suspects – arrested on charges of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance – were released under investigation, amid anger about the same protesters being taken into custody and released only to return to blocking traffic. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel has vowed to crack down on the mob – as ministers won a High Court injunction banning them from blocking any motorway in the country.  

More than 30 protesters were seen running into flowing traffic near Cobham on Tuesday

More than 30 protesters were seen running into flowing traffic near Cobham on Tuesday

It came as London Mayor Sadiq Khan weighed into the row today, saying the protesters had ‘got it wrong’.

While he defended the right to protest ‘peacefully, lawfully, safely’ and said it was important to address the climate emergency, he warned the actions of Insulate Britain were not lawful or safe.

And they were not encouraging people to join the climate cause, Mr Khan said.

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has also criticised the protesters on UK roads as ‘frightful old humbugs, causing trouble, distress, inconvenience and nearly causing people to die’.

Insulate Britain has shut down parts of the M25 motorway around London five times in just over a week in a bid to force the Government to insulate and retrofit homes across the UK to cut climate emissions.

The move, which has seen hundreds arrested, has prompted an angry backlash in some quarters.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has vowed to crack down on the mob - as ministers won a High Court injunction banning them from blocking any motorway in the country

Home Secretary Priti Patel has vowed to crack down on the mob – as ministers won a High Court injunction banning them from blocking any motorway in the country

The Government has successfully applied to the High Court for an order which prohibits anyone from blocking the M25 with those breaking the injunction facing a possible two years in prison or an unlimited fine.

Speaking to reporters after a speech on the climate and air pollution crises facing London and the world, Mr Khan said: ‘I’m someone who passionately believes in the right to protest peacefully, lawfully, safely.

‘Democracy isn’t just voting once every five years, democracy is going on protests, going on marches, signing petitions, lobbying your MP, lobbying the mayor and so forth.

‘I’m also somebody who has said loudly and clearly, there is a climate emergency, you know, climate change is really significant.

‘We’ve got to make sure we address the climate emergency.’

This is the moment that vehicles are forced to break on the M25 as protesters make their way across the carriageway on Tuesday

This is the moment that vehicles are forced to break on the M25 as protesters make their way across the carriageway on Tuesday 

But he said: ‘I think the tactics of those people who are protesting on the M25 are completely wrong.

‘It’s wrong because it’s not lawful, it’s not safe.

‘You’re endangering in your own life, you’re endangering the lives of those on the M25, they could be people rushing to get to a hospital, it could be they’re going to an appointment, and you’re jeopardising their safety by jumping in front of cars on the M25.’

And he warned: ‘You’re not encouraging people to join our cause, you’re not encouraging people to understand the importance of addressing the climate emergency.’

Mr Khan said he had been investing in insulation and retrofitting in London and had been lobbying the Government to give the capital more help to do so.

Members of the eco-group Insulate Britain are blocking traffic on the motorway near junction 10 in Surrey on Tuesday

Members of the eco-group Insulate Britain are blocking traffic on the motorway near junction 10 in Surrey on Tuesday 

But he warned: ‘You’re not making people like me more sympathetic to this issue of climate emergency, and actually what you’ve done inadvertently is to get parliamentarians bringing in laws to reduce the ability of those of us who want to protest lawfully, peacefully and safely.

‘And so notwithstanding my commitment to the right to protest, and the fact that I think we should address the climate emergency, I think they’ve got it wrong.’

In the Commons, Mr Rees-Mogg defended Britain’s tradition of freedom of speech, but said: ‘Peaceful protest doesn’t mean running in front of cars and risking the lives of police and meaning that people who need stroke treatment may be much more seriously debilitated than they would otherwise have been.

‘It doesn’t mean people saying we should insulate our homes and not insulating their own homes, frightful old humbugs, causing trouble, distress, inconvenience and nearly causing people to die.’ 

A Met statement said: ‘This follows three arrests made last week for the same offence. A 55-year-old man, 45-year-old woman and a 49-year-old man were arrested for conspiracy to cause public nuisance on Monday, September 13.

‘In total, Met officers have made 28 arrests for those obstructing the public highway. 

Insulate Britain rabble revealed: Convicted heroin dealer who sickened veterans with Cenotaph demo, vicar ‘protesting for God’, ‘brickie’ with £1m properties and teacher married to ex-BBC bigwig are among the usual suspects bringing misery by closing M25

By Andrew Young, James Gant and Tom Pyman for MailOnline 

A convicted heroin dealer who sickened veterans with a demonstration at the Cenotaph, a vicar ‘told to protest by God’ and a teacher married to an ex-BBC bigwig are among the Insulate Britain protesters crippling the UK’s motorways, it was revealed tonight.

Former soldier Donald Bell, one of the eco warrior zealots who joined the campaign group outside the Home Office today, has a criminal past and was exposed last year by MailOnline for allegedly abusing his disabled wife.

The 65-year-old was also condemned by war heroes last year when he staged a climate change protest in support of Extinction Rebellion at the Cenotaph in London on Remembrance Day on November 11.

He was pictured in military fatigues as he walked over official tribute wreaths to plant his own one on the monument, emblazoned with red and white poppies and the message ‘Act Now – Climate Change Means War’.

MailOnline later revealed how he was jailed for four years in 2007 after being caught pushing his wheelchair-bound wife around the streets of Cambridge while peddling heroin at the same time.

Donald Bell was back to his climate change antics today when he joined around 60 other protesters in a demonstration outside the Home Office after the Government successfully obtained a High Court injunction banning any further Insulate Britain protests on the M25

Donald Bell was back to his climate change antics today when he joined around 60 other protesters in a demonstration outside the Home Office after the Government successfully obtained a High Court injunction banning any further Insulate Britain protests on the M25 

Former soldier Donald Bell (above) who hijacked the Cenotaph Remembrance Day ceremony is a convicted heroin dealer who was accused of abusing his disabled wife, MailOnline has learned

Former soldier Donald Bell (above) who hijacked the Cenotaph Remembrance Day ceremony is a convicted heroin dealer who was accused of abusing his disabled wife, MailOnline has learned

It comes as the backgrounds of a number of his fellow Insulate Britain demonstrators were revealed tonight, including teacher Louise Lancaster, who is married to a former BBC technology director, brickie Joshua Smith, who boasts a £1m property portfolio, and retired vicar Mark Coleman.

Cambridge Crown Court heard how Bell hid drugs under his late wife Heather’s blanket and tried to sell wraps of heroin to undercover police officers.

A separate hearing in 2008, when Mrs Bell was sentenced, heard that she was a victim of domestic violence and had claimed she had been sucked into drug-dealing by her ex-husband in return for his care for her.

Duncan O’Donnell, for the prosecution, told the court: ‘It would appear the modus operandi was that Heather Bell would store the heroin to be supplied underneath her blanket.’

Mrs Bell, who had been living in a hostel in Cambridge, admitted three charges of involvement in the sale of drugs to test purchase officers in the city centre in the summer of 2007.

Passing a 12-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, along with probation supervision, Judge Gareth Hawkesworth, told her: ‘If you had been in good health you would have been going to prison for three years.’

The court heard how Mrs Bell had answered some of the phone calls when the undercover police put in orders for heroin as part of a sting operation and was using the drug herself. She is understood to have died several years ago.

Bell was back to his climate change antics today when he joined around 60 other protesters in a demonstration outside the Home Office after the Government successfully obtained a High Court injunction banning any further Insulate Britain protests on the M25.

Standing proudly to attention dressed in his military fatigues, Donald Bell’s Armistice Day actions on behalf of Extinction Rebellion (XR) caused fury from veterans after he walked over other official wreaths to plant one on behalf of the climate change extremists

Standing proudly to attention dressed in his military fatigues, Donald Bell’s Armistice Day actions on behalf of Extinction Rebellion (XR) caused fury from veterans after he walked over other official wreaths to plant one on behalf of the climate change extremists

The bearded veteran was photographed wearing an orange hi-viz jacket and holding up a placard reading: ‘Donald Bell Archaeologist * Insulate Britain’.

One of Bell’s relatives who asked not to be named described him last year as a long-term cannabis user, who ‘has brought shame on the family’.

The relative who asked not to be named said: ‘He and his wife Heather were always smoking weed, long before she was consigned to a wheelchair with rheumatoid arthritis.

‘Personally, I think the drugs fried his brain. None of the family agrees with his XR antics, but at least these days I think he’s managed to kick the drugs. None of us have much to do with him any more.’

Bell’s relative added at the time: ‘I don’t think the bit about domestic abuse that was mentioned in court was true – I think that was Heather trying to paint herself as the victim, as they were both heavily into drugs long before she got ill.’

Bell who survived a car bomb in Northern Ireland in 1974, staged his Cenotaph protest alongside Buddhist nurse and mother-of-two Anne White, 53, who was dressed in her NHS uniform.

He claimed afterwards that he wanted to highlight how climate change could cause more wars.

Bell said: ‘I took action knowing that I would be criticised. I knew that I would be accused of being disrespectful and hated by many for speaking out in this way.’

When MailOnline approached him about his past use of drugs, he simply said: ‘I’ve said what I wanted to say already” and closed the door of his Cambridge council flat.

His protest at the Cenotaph sparked fury among veterans who accused him of disrespecting Britain’s official memorial for all those who have fallen in conflicts.

The widowed former infantry private was a long-term cannabis user, who ‘has brought shame on the family’, according to one relative who spoke to MailOnline said

The widowed former infantry private was a long-term cannabis user, who ‘has brought shame on the family’, according to one relative who spoke to MailOnline said

The widow of a British soldier killed by the IRA bomb which injured Bell that she wanted to give Extinction Rebellion protesters a ‘punch on the nose’ for desecrating the Cenotaph.

Dianne Rose, 74, added she would give Bell a ‘mouthful of abuse’ if she ever met him.

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, she said: ‘I don’t know what gave Bell the right to do what he did. It was totally, totally wrong.

Earlier, he was also was heavily criticised by a war hero when they both appeared on Good Morning Britain.

Ben McBean, a double amputee who fought in the Afghanistan war, said he supported the move to a more sustainable future, but had harsh words for the methods deployed by XR at their Cenotaph protest.

He said: ‘Tip-toeing across poppies in your big size 10 feet to put up a wreath to talk about bl***y climate change, and so on and so forth, starting a war, that’s nonsense!

‘These guys who died a hundred years ago fighting, running towards bullets like I did myself with my colleagues, it wasn’t for climate change.

‘It was to save the country, save the world but trust me, it wasn’t for you to do what you did on Remembrance Day.’

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister also condemned the Cenotaph protest last year, saying: ‘The Cenotaph is a memorial to those who fought and died to preserve all our freedoms.

‘On today, of all days, when we join together to pay tribute to our war dead, this action was profoundly disrespectful.’

XR said in a statement: ‘Donald Bell left the army with serious Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at a time when the illness was still not fully recognised.

‘Donald was one of those people who, like so many, made mistakes and then worked hard to turn his life around.

‘Extinction Rebellion stands by him and his right to speak out about the Government’s complicity in knowingly taking us into future wars and a 4 degree world.’

It comes as the backgrounds of a number of Bell’s fellow Insulate Britain demonstrators were revealed tonight. 

Among them is Mark Coleman, a retired reverend and repeat eco-protester who stepped down as vicar and borough dean of Rochdale last year.

The 61-year-old is one of four vicars to have taken part in protests by Insulate Britain – a splinter group of Extinction Rebellion.

Mr Coleman, who is said to have joined climate change group Extinction Rebellion in 2015 after the Rochdale floods, has been spotted at three protests.

He was seen at the first, on Monday 13, before returning to protest on Wednesday, 15.

Mr Coleman, who made headlines earlier this year when he vandalised Heywood and Middleton MP Chris Clarkson’s constituency office staging a two-hour sit in, was also involved in yesterday’s Insulate Britain protest at junction 10.

One former parishioner told MailOnline that Mr Coleman, a father-of-two, believed he was ‘acting on God’s will’ by protesting. 

Speaking of her former vicar, she said: ‘He used to say it was God’s will for him to help save the planet, and it was up to us all to do our bit. I knew he was serious about saving the planet but have not seen him since he retired.’

Another activist spotted at multiple protests over the last week-and-a-half is Louise Lancaster. The 55-year-old from Cambridge describes herself as ‘a mother, a teacher, a world citizen’, who is ‘ready to step up for our planet and social justice’. She is married to Tim, a former technology director at the BBC.

Louise Lancaster is a regular at the protests

Louise Lancaster is a regular at the protests

The group – including many who have been seen at multiple demos such as Louise Lancaster – sat brandishing homemade signs with messages such as: ‘Please act now.’ The same woman was at today’s protest (left) as the M25 one yesterday (right)

Meanwhile, brickie Joshua Smith was branded a hypocrite after it emerged he owned a multi-million pound property empire – but the homes had poor insulation, an issue at the heart of the group’s agenda.

The 28-year-old is heir to a £2million property empire and also has a seven-figure portfolio of his own. However, at least six homes owned by his Oldham-based company have efficiency ratings of E or F, according to the Sun.

This means the properties boast little or no insulation and also produce large quantities of extra carbon dioxide.  

Another activist, Louis McKechnie, a 20-year-old mechanical engineering student from Weymouth, has been seen at other protests across the country in the recent past.

This included one in Poole, Dorset in May, where he sat in the road wearing a sign reading: ‘I’m terrified to have children because of the climate crisis.’

He has been joined on the motorways by Oxford graduate and musician Mr Onley, who has worked as an English teacher at four schools, including educating a large group of Pakistani youngsters. 

Originally from Exmouth, Devon, he regularly shares details of demonstrations and rallies and is a member of environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth.

Also present has been IT project manager and bike instructor Janine Eagling, who describes herself as a ‘world citizen, rebel, cyclist, walker, gardener, resourceful.’ 

The 50-year-old has owned a consultancy firm, now registered in Walthamstow, north London, since 2014.

London-based yoga teacher Stefania Morosi is another of the campaigners whose backgrounds have emerged this evening. 

The 43-year-old, who previously studied in Italy and Sweden, describes herself as a ‘tight rope acrobat, Etymology enthusiast, self proclaimed Poet and Activist’.

Elsewhere, retired doctor and portrait painter, Bing Jones, from Sheffield, has insisted he is ‘willing to go to prison’ for the cause after being arrested four times in the space of just eight days during the protests. 

Joshua Smith brags about being arrested four times for 'mourning for life on Earth'

He also appeared during a demonstration last week

Joshua Smith brags about being arrested four times for ‘mourning for life on Earth’ today (left, having also appeared last week (right)

Bing Jones

Bing Jones

Among the demonstrators is Bing Jones from Sheffield, pictured at today’s protest (left) and also at other ones on the M25 (right)

Climate activist and retired doctor, Bing Jones, being carried away from the A1, junction 4, near Welwyn Garden City, by officers

Climate activist and retired doctor, Bing Jones, being carried away from the A1, junction 4, near Welwyn Garden City, by officers



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