A month ago protesters targeted the site after owners Cuadrilla admitted it ‘probably’ caused two small earthquakes.

Early yesterday morning eight people from the climate action network Rising Tide tried to scale the fracking rig in Hesketh Bank, Lancashire.

Three protesters made it on to the drill, with the other five stopped by security, and they say they intend to occupy the site and have come with hammocks and supplies for ‘several days’.

One of the activists, Sarah, a community worker from Bristol, explained: “Fracking is a desperate bid to suck the last, most difficult to reach fossil fuels out of the planet. It is a road to nowhere.

“The output of fracked wells quickly declines so more and more wells have to be drilled destroying vast swathes of our countryside.”

A spokesman for Cuadrilla Resources said: “We have nothing to hide about our operations and welcome open dialogue with local people.

“We have shown over a hundred people around our operational sites over the last year, including 60 local people around the Banks site.

“We have been involved in local events attended by many hundreds of local people to discuss our work.

“But the fact is, these protesters are not local, have not bothered to participate in local dialogue and are using up considerable amounts of local police time that would be better employed elsewhere in the community.”

Local police are on site and are negotiating with the three remaining protesters.

Luke Walsh

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