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Last Updated: Friday, 29 October, 2004, 11:46 GMT 12:46 UK
Nuclear activists defend trespass
The activists at AWE Burghfield, near Reading
The activists do not deny breaking into the nuclear site
Anti-nuclear protesters fined for breaking into a military base have defended their actions.

They pleaded not guilty to breaking into the base at Burghfield, Berkshire, saying they were acting lawfully as keeping nuclear weapons was illegal.

But, on Wednesday, Reading Magistrates found them guilty of criminal damage, fining them between 50 and 100 each.

The six members of Trident Ploughshares say they were highlighting what they call Britain's WMD.

Fence damaged

The court heard that a group was seen entering the site at around 1130 BST, distributing anti-nuclear literature and unfurling banners before being arrested.

The damage to the perimeter fence was estimated at 400.

Kathryn Amos, 26, of Ilkley, West Yorkshire, and Margaret and Bernadette Hutchby 44, of Leicester, were conditionally discharged for a year and ordered to pay 65 compensation each to the Atomic Weapons Establishment.

Zina Zelter, 30, also of Leicester, was fined 50 for criminal damage and a further 50 for breaching the terms of a previous conditional discharge. She was also ordered to pay 65 compensation.

Stephen Bonham, 48, of Leicester, and Margaret Charnley, 27, from Streatham, south London, both agreed to pay 100 to be bound over to keep the peace for a year at the start of the trial.

Speaking afterwards, Amos said: "It is crucial that our message is understood by those working on nuclear bases, we have no personal enmity against you.

"We believe that you need to be told the truth about your responsibilities under international law as well as British law."

Six charged over nuclear break-in
02 Jun 04  |  Berkshire
Six arrests in nuclear break-in
01 Jun 04  |  Berkshire
Nuclear site terror risks raised
26 May 04  |  Cumbria

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