Like a “Monty Python sketch” – solicitor describes exchange between police and Sheffield tree protesters

A solicitor described an exchange between a tree protester and South Yorkshire Police as “almost like a Monty Python sketch” in court this morning.

Robert Pearson, 48, denied charges of threatening and abusive behaviour and obstructing a police officer at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court.

Prosecutor Claire Jackson said the charges were in relation to an incident at a protest at a tree felling site on February 26.

Around 50 police were said to have been present on the day of the protest.

While police officers at fracking and tree felling protests frequently wear body cameras, the court heard that those who dealt with Pearson do not appear to have been wearing them.

Tree felling, as part of Sheffield City Council’s Streets Ahead programme, has been suspended since late March.

Thousands of trees deemed as dead, diseased or dangerous have been felled under the £2bn project to improve the city’s streets. However, those who oppose the scheme say many of the trees which have been cut down are healthy.

A summons trial for Pearson will be held on July 9.