Protesters ‘stabbed in the back’ by company

By Robert Fisk

Workmen barricade themselves in to put up the mobile phone mast BR5127

CAMPAIGNERS have lost their fight against a mobile phone giant installing a 8.5m-high mast.

They had staged protests at the site of a T-Mobile mast on the corner of St Paul's Wood Hill and Beddington Road, St Paul's Cray, since the company was granted permission by the Government's Planning Inspectorate in February.

The group, which is worried about the health implications of having a mast near homes, thought it had won when it managed to prevent work on the site during the second week of August by standing round the hole where the mast was supposed to be installed.

But workers for T-Mobile caught the protestors off-guard by returning to the site at 7am on August 16.

They had barricaded themselves in with two layers of security barriers and guards were standing watch by the time campaigners arrived.

Angry scenes erupted with protesters claiming T-Mobile had broken its agreement to not start work on the mast until the protest group had a meeting with Bromley police about the legalities of protesting.

Police were called after the group of about 15 campaigners tried to lift the barriers so they could crawl into the site and stand in the hole to stop work.

A security guard kept watch overnight and the work was completed on August 17.

Mother-of-two Claire Burton, 37, said: "Everything T-Mobile does is underhand.

"It does not go about things the right way."

The St Paul's Wood Hill resident added: "When we try and do things the right way it just does nothing."

Campaigner Sam Anderson, 35, said: "We're all pretty gutted.

"It is amazing T-Mobile goes to such an extent to have security guards there overnight and to double barricade themselves in.

"Surely this means nobody wants it."

The mother-of-three added: "It is typical. They have stabbed us in the back."

Mrs Anderson is focusing her attention on organising a mass march through central London to Downing Street.

Call 020 8302 4043 to get involved with the campaign.

A T-Mobile spokesman said: "We did not make any commitments about when work would restart and therefore did not break any agreements with the protesters.

"The security guards were there for health and safety reasons."

For video footage of campaigners trying to tear down the barricades, click here

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