A man who occupied the Horse Hill oil rig in Surrey to protest the use of fossil fuels in the face of the climate crisis has been cleared of the charge brought against him.

56-year-old Management Consultant Lindsay Parkin, from Brighton, was acquitted by a judge of the charge of aggravated trespass during a hearing at Staines Magistrates' Court yesterday (Thursday, April 22).

As the Surrey Comet reported previously, Parkin occupied the rig near Horley, which is run by UK Oil and Gas with Alistair Sandell in the early hours of October 10, 2020.

Sandell previously admitted aggravated trespass, and fined £268 and ordered to pay £84 costs plus a £34 victim surcharge.

The two men climbed an oil rig on site to a platform 15 metres above the ground, where they hung a banner saying 'No More Oil' and remained there for 12 hours, in protest against UKOG’s plans to extract oil and gas from the site.

During his court appearance, Parkin, who represented himself, said his action was proportionate and necessary given "the fact that human-made climate change is increasing the global average temperature and leading to rising sea levels, extreme weather events, crop failure, water shortage and wild fire, is no longer in dispute".

He added: "The only way to slow this carnage is to stop burning fossil fuels – there are no other solutions."

After his trial, which was celebrated by XR supporters in Surrey the Brighton man added the following:

"We occupied the rig to highlight its presence in that beautiful place and the harm it is doing.

"This message was widely spread and created the interest that it should, which was our sole purpose in this action.

"Our exertions in spreading that message have been accepted to not meet the charge of ‘aggravated trespass.’

"Non-violent direct action has proven its worth in calling out the madness of continued oil extraction on this marginal site and everywhere."

A day after Parkin was acquitted, six more Extinction Rebellion activists were acquitted of charges of criminal damage to Shell’s London headquarters despite the judge directing jurors they had "no defence" in law.

Two of the group’s co-founders Simon Bramwell, 49, and Ian Bray, 53, were acquitted on Friday alongside Jane Augsburger, 55, Senan Clifford, 60, David Lambert, 62, and James “Sid” Saunders, 41, after a trial at Southwark Crown Court.

The six, who represented themselves, were also cleared of individual counts of having an article with intent to destroy or damage property, while a seventh protester, Katerina Hasapopoulous, 43, earlier pleaded guilty to criminal damage.

Judge Gregory Perrins directed jurors that even if they thought the protesters were “morally justified” it did not provide them with a lawful excuse to commit criminal damage.

However the jury of seven women and five men took seven hours and four minutes to acquit them of both charges.