Swampy escapes punishment and vows to fight on

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The Independent Online
The roads protester Swampy was defiant yesterday when he escaped with a conditional discharge for his week-long tunnel protest during the Battle for Fairmile.

Swampy (right), who was charged under his real name of Daniel Hooper, vowed to carry on digging and said he would spend pounds 100 sent to him to pay any fine on a new drill. He was one of 12 accused of resisting the bailiffs during the Fairmile protest in Devon five weeks ago.

Swampy was the last of five protesters to emerge from a 30-foot deep tunnel known as Big Momma. He gave himself up after his four colleagues had been dug out by a team of specialist tunnellers working night and day. The tunnellers had to use rescue techniques as they shored up the crumbling tunnel shaft and broke through a series of metal doors before cutting the protesters out of concrete lock-ons.

The 23-year-old protester, who is now living in a tunnel in the path of the second runway at Manchester Airport, gave his mother's home in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, as his address. He arrived at Exmouth Magistrates' Court dressed in green wellington boots, mud-spattered blue trousers and a grimy black and yellow jacket.

Before the case the protesters brought a carnival atmosphere to the foyer of the court. One was dressed as a court jester, another played a recorder, vegan snacks were passed around and two dogs played around their feet.

The fellow protesters clapped and cheered as Swampy, who admitted resisting the sheriff's officers, was sentenced. Afterwards he said: "I think the sentence was a bit of a laugh. I've had one of those conditional discharges before and they will probably give me another next time.

"I was sent pounds 100 for a fine but now I will spend it on the Manchester Airport campaign. I think I will buy a new drill. This time it will take a lot longer to evict us. If I stay down my tunnel for long enough then this conditional discharge should have expired by the time I come out."