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Go-slow fuel protester nicked

Fuel is beyond £2 a litre in some rural areas (file image: BBC Spotlight)

Drivers went slower than agreed with police

Devon and Cornwall police cooperated with fuel protestors staging a go-slow on the A38 and M5 in Devon on Monday to make sure the event went off peacefully and safely.

The organised event took place across the country under a campaign called Fuel Price Stand Against Tax, as motorists become frustrated with soaring prices that are now beyond £1.90 for a litre of petrol and around £2 a litre for diesel in Devon.

On the M5, a protest began around 7 a.m. at Exeter services, with drivers travelling north towards the Tiverton services, then turning round and coming back down.

They drove slowly in two lanes of the motorway, leaving the third, often referred to as the fast lane, going nowhere near as fast as usual.

Cops, normally prone to nicking people going too fast, instead slammed up someone driving too slowly.

The force had a prior arrangement that a minimum speed limit with the protestors, which one man ignored following a formal warning.

Superintendent Adrian Leisk, a commander for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “As with any protest, our responsibilities are to facilitate these in a safe and legal way, whilst making sure that the action being taken doesn’t become a danger to the public or that an unreasonable amount of disruption occurs.

“Naturally, undertaking a protest on a motorway has potentially fatal consequences and with this in mind, we gave very clear parameters to those taking part. This included a minimum speed limit that they couldn’t go below and ensuring that the hard shoulders were left clear.

He added: “We had some challenges in relation to action being taken on the A38. At around 9 a.m. we had reports of excessively slow speeds from some of those protesting, leading to cars braking suddenly and potentially causing a serious issue on our roads.

“Officers escorted three vehicles off the road near Buckfastleigh. These drivers were given formal warnings and were advised over acceptable parameters of their protests, including a minimum speed and leaving lanes clear. They were informed that any breach of these directions would lead to an arrest.

“At around 10.45 a.m. we received further reports of unsafe driving on the A38 near Ivybridge. One road user, a man in his fifies, ignored the previous warning given to him and was subsequently arrested on suspicion of breach of the Public Order Act and taken into police custody.

“I am currently satisfied with the actions taken by officers at the scenes of these protests, who did everything they could to ensure the safety of our public in relation to the fuel protests that took place in Devon and Cornwall today.”

Elsewhere in the county, 12 people were arrested in a protest on the M4, which led to the Prince of Wales Bridge, between England and Wales, being closed.

Chief superintendent Tom Harding from Gwent Police said drivers had been arrested for driving under 30 mph for a "prolonged amount of time".

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