Police hold pensioners over Heathrow protest t-shirts
7.6.2008 (UK Airport News)
‘inflammatory’ t-shirts. John Wilding, his wife and Mike Lacey were also threatened
with arrest after using Heathrow bus terminal to change buses on the way to the anti-expansion demonstration
by-law’. They were held for 30 minutes, issued with stop and search notices and
told they would be arrested if they returned to the airport within 24 hours.
On Saturday we unwittingly found ourselves allies of Plane Stupid’s encouragement
to direct action against airport expansion (‘Life in prison? Bring it on’, May
31). We were five pensioners from Slough, changing buses at Heathrow bus station
on our way to the rally against the third runway. Three of us were wearing T-shirts
saying “Stop Airport Expansion”, but the police stop and search rules say that
dress cannot be used as a reason to stop members of the public.
Nevertheless, police officers did stop us. The Heathrow bylaws, we were informed,
permit access to the bus station only to air passengers or those meeting them.
Oddly, only the members of our party wearing the T-shirts appeared to be in breach
of these bylaws. We were questioned, our details were recorded and we were forbidden
access to the airport for 24 hours on threat of arrest if we did return. In one
case “demo – T-shirt” was recorded as the reason for the stop, but the other records
are inconsistent, referring only to breach of the bylaws.
the bylaws by carrying them. This restraint on trade is usually ignored. But five
officers took half an hour to take our details, warn us and see us off the premises.
We were given forms headed “Metropolitan Police: Working together for a safer
London”. Safer for whom?
Police stop pensioners at Heathrow for peaceful protest T-shirts
3:47pm Fri 6th Jun 08:: written by Lisa De Sousa
Three pensioners have told how they were subjected to a harrowing half-hour of
police questioning – for wearing ‘inflammatory’ T-shirts.
John Wilding and Mike Lacey, pictured wearing the offending tops, were also threatened
with arrest for using Heathrow bus terminal to change buses. This, they were told,
is an offence in breach of "a by-law".
The 71-year-olds – together with Mrs Wilding, who does not wish to be pictured
– were held for 30 minutes, issued with stop and search notices and told they
would be arrested if they returned to the airport within 24 hours.
The extraordinary sequence of events happened as the Slough residents made their
way by bus to Hatton Cross for last weekend’s peaceful demonstration against the
expansion of Heathrow.
A spokeswoman for BAA Heathrow refused to confirm the existence of the by-law,
adding it ‘was a police matter’. When asked if that meant BAA was refusing to
comment, she said: "No, as I said, it’s a police matter."
For the full story, see this week’s Express.