Protester denies airbase trespass

A PEACE protester has appeared in court charged with trespassing at RAF Mildenhall.

Lindis Percy, 69, denies trespassing on the site, which is occupied by the United States Air Force.

Percy, who is joint co-ordinator of the Campaign for the Accountability of American Base (CAAB), defended herself at a trial at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

The court heard Percy, of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, entered the Suffolk base through a gate on October 30, 2009.

Sqd Ldr Richard Fryer, station commander, told the court he noticed Percy on base around 1.20pm.

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“I was driving around in my official car on base and noticed a lady who I thought at the time may be Ms Percy,” he said.

“We had met on previous occasions.

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“As soon as I could, I turned my vehicle around and kept Ms Percy in sight and started to follow her around the base.”

The court heard part of the base, known as Lancaster Road, used to be open to the public but was temporarily closed after the 9/11 attacks in America.

The road has since been permanently closed and has now been formally adopted by the base.

A practising Quaker, Percy is a member of the CAAB, which campaigns to bring public scrutiny and awareness to the roles and functions of US visiting forces in the UK.

She appeared in court with supporters in the public gallery.

Percy was arrested after crossing through an unmanned checkpoint on the base into Missouri Road, which is protected by the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCAP) 2005.

Sqd Ldr Fryer told the court there were no public rights of way on the base.

District Judge David Cooper, presiding, was told the inside of the base was secured by American personnel.

The area outside the perimeter fence is secured by the Ministry of Defence although access through the Lancaster Road gate was controlled by the USAF.

The court heard there were signs on the fence, warning visitors the area was protected by SOCAP.

Sqd Ldr Fryer said the second checkpoint leading to the secure part of the base was unattended and barriers to the prohibited area of the base had been raised on the day in question.

This was because visitors would already have been asked to show identification at the first checkpoint in Lancaster Road, it was claimed.

“There’s no need to have those barriers down as Lancaster Road has been closed permanently and become part of the base,” he said.

Pc Robert Curtis, a Ministry of Defence police agency officer, told the court he saw Percy walk through the checkpoint leading to the prohibited part of the base.

He then arrested Percy and took her to Bury St Edmunds Police Station.

The trial continues.

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