Brightlingsea - Day 1

16th January 1995 (eyewitness account)

Protestors gathered from 6.30 am on Monday morning at a strategic crossroads in B'sea, ironically next to the diminutive local police station!

As with Shoreham, this protest consists mainly of local residents, something practically unheard of in animal rights demos! At first, some people obviously had naive attitudes, and as with Shoreham, it seems that peoples eyes are being opened as regards the attitudes and behaviour of the state (parliament and police).


The hay trucks arrived at about 8am on Monday. Stopping these would have mean't that they couldn't have brought in the animals, as they would have had no feed on the ship. However, most people didn't realise this, so those of us delaying the trucks couldn't do much than 'make our point'. One disabled person slid himself off his wheelchair on front of them. The police didn't know what to do! (but the reporters did)!

All was quiet until about 3pm, except for people running round with mobiles, people wandering down the road to the docks and back, and rumours of trucks parked nearby.


At 3pm, while I was wandering along the road in a bored manner, things got somewhat more exciting when Richard Otley, the source of all the bother came driving along. Recognising the car and yelling out who it was, as most of the crowd wouldn't know (I'd previously been told that it was a brown range rover, registration G541 OVE), a couple of us got in front of it (convieniently placed bull bars at the front means it takes quite a few police to remove you!), followed by reporters, and then most of the crowd (bear in mind that these are 'ordinary members of the public' - residents of B'sea) who proceeded to go apeshit!

Anyway, after half an hour of Otley driving into the crowd, though proceeding only about 70yds, with his car being rocked from side to side by demonstrators, the police told him to go back. When he wound down his window, one police officer told him to "wind that bloody window up", and to "bloody well go back" as he was provoking far too much trouble. He has a habit of provoking demonstrators by going in among them at other ports, including Shoreham, which isn't even used by him.


For his efforts he reversed out with a very scratched and kicked car, that was defficient in lights. Five were arrested for Criminal Damage, though how anyone could be sure who was doing what in the crowd is beyond me. Two pleaded quilty, and three not quilty, at Colchester magistrates court this morning, to charges of Criminal Damage, and Section 4 (threatening behaviour) of the Public Order Act 1986. Pre-trial date is 3rd March, and bale conditions are that the defendants must not go into B'sea.

One thing that occoured to me, is that he was driving around that evening - but his lights had been smashed! Its illegal to drive at night without lights Richard...


One truck made a pathetic attempt at coming through at 7pm - though I didn't see it as some of us were down at the docks at the time, in case they came by a back route. Rumours of four trucks with a total of 1700 sheep on board seemed to be the most reliable, though there may have been more elsewhere. This truck had three tiers and was jam-packed. People kept it back, and the disabled man did his stuff again.


Richard Otley, as well as being a live exporter, is also a leading figure in the Woodland Pytchley Foxhounds, a name familiar to myself, as this is where I, along with four others, was arrested on the first Saturday of the Criminal Justice Act (5 November 1994), under Section 68 (aggravated trespass). He is testifying against three of the others arrested. Is there no end to what this man does?

He also has at least one criminal conviction for cruelty to animals. A few years ago, he had his sheep sheared prior to export, but out of season. It was a very cold night, and the results made sure he was brought to trial. He claimed that he was concerned that the sheep in the middle would be too hot(!), whereupon the judge mentioned that it could also be said that he did it so that more animals could be packed in.