The total number of arrests made at a controversial drilling site in Balcombe has passed the 100 mark with the arrest of the first Balcombe resident.

Poet Simon Welsh, 34, was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of breaching a Section 14 order imposed by police outside energy firm Cuadrilla’s drilling site on the B2036 London Road.

He said: “I wasn’t looking to, or expecting to be arrested – I didn’t even think about it.


“The officers in the station were so nice and although I had to wear paper trousers because mine had a string in them, I was allowed some paper and a pencil so I got scribbling a poem about the experience of being arrested.”

Mr Welsh, who organised Belt it Out at Balcombe on September 1, was one of six people arrested at the camp on Tuesday, including a man who locked himself to a caravan by his neck.

The new Section 14 order issued on Monday gives officers the power to immediately arrest anyone in a group of two or more people congregating on the road or outside the site entrance.

West Sussex County Council has also imposed an eviction notice and is currently seeking High Court approval to move the protesters with the help of bailiffs.