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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 August 2006, 19:44 GMT 20:44 UK
Protesters face airport charges
Military aircraft at Prestwick
Tuesday's incident was the third security breach in three days
Anti-war protesters have appeared in court accused of illegally entering Prestwick Airport.

They pleaded not guilty to a number of charges, including breaching the Aviation Security Act.

Some of the 17 people who appeared at Ayr Sheriff Court were also accused of illegally boarding and damaging a US military aircraft.

Two were held in custody while the rest were released on bail under conditions. The accused will stand trial later.

Those freed on bail are not allowed to enter or attempt to enter the terminal building at Prestwick or go within a 500m radius of the perimeter fence.

These incidents are frustrating but the airport has been taking a measured and controlled approach
Prestwick Airport spokesman

One of accused asked for an early trial because she was booked on a flight to the airport in September.

Those appearing were aged between 21 and 78 and were from both Scotland and England.

A series of protests have taken place at the airport over its use to refuel US flights carrying "hazardous" cargo bound for Israel.

Five people were arrested in the latest action on Tuesday, when the perimeter fence was breached.

Activists from the Trident Ploughshares group claimed they boarded a US Air National Guard plane.

Map showing Prestwick

They said they searched files and were stopped from boarding a second plane.

Trident Ploughshares said it was investigating the transportation of arms to Israel, via the UK, on US military aircraft.

A spokesman for Prestwick Airport said security staff monitored protesters until police arrived and no planes were boarded during this surveillance.

He added: "These incidents are frustrating but the airport has been taking a measured and controlled approach commensurate with the threat that these protesters are considered to pose."

Brian Donohoe, MP for Central Ayrshire, said he was "extremely disturbed" to learn of the third breach.

Given assurances

He held an emergency meeting with the airport management on Tuesday.

Afterwards, he said he was happy with the assurances he had been given that the police presence would be "substantially increased" around the perimeter fence for the foreseeable future.

Last week it was reported that US military flights carrying bombs to Israel would no longer use any civilian airports in the UK for refuelling.

Those who appeared in court were:

  • Sylvia Boyes, 65, of Keighley, West Yorkshire; Katherine Halcombe, 45, of Evesham, Worcestershire; Rosalind Bullen, 36, of Edinburgh; and Belgian Steven Van Velsen, 25, of the Faslane peace camp in Helensburgh, charged with entering a restricted area at the airport on Sunday.
  • Richard McKean, 38, of Glasgow; Joseph McLaughlin, 26, of Perth; Ludwig Appeltons, 35, of Govan, Glasgow; Anna Rundberg, 26, of Helensburgh; and Philippa Robertson, 21, of the Faslane peace camp, charged with entering a restricted zone, getting into a C130 US military aircraft without permission, damaging the aircraft and damaging a perimeter fence on Sunday.
  • Sarah Lazenby, 68, of Oxford; Jean Oliver, 46, and Douglas Shaw, 57, from Biggar in South Lanarkshire; and Matthew Bury, 51, of Somerset, accused of entering a restricted zone on Monday without lawful authority or reasonable excuse.
  • Angela Zelter, 55, of East Runton in Norfolk; Marcus Armstrong, 46, of Milton Keynes; and Christopher Blunel, 25, of Southampton, charged with entering the restricted zone and getting into a C130 US airforce military craft on Monday without permission.
  • Olivia Agate, 65, of Menston near Leeds, charged with aiding and abetting four protesters by driving them to the airport on Monday.

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