ANTI-FRACKING protesters who glued and chained themselves to petrol pumps in Great Lever over the weekend were at the wrong garage, it has emerged.
Four people were arrested on Saturday after anti-fracking protesters used glue and bike locks to attach themselves to fuel pumps at the petrol station in Rishton Lane.
The group had chosen to base the protest next to a Total petrol station after the French firm announced it would be investing more than £12 million in the UK’s shale gas industry.
However, it emerged later that the petrol station was no longer owned by Total - but the new owners had not got around to taking the signs down yet.
Petrol station manager Reezwan Patel said: “We had to close for six hours, so with the loss of custom and the damage to the pumps, it could be a couple of thousand pounds we have lost.
“The thing is, Total don’t own the station any more. It is owned by Certas Energy, but the signs haven’t changed yet.
"The peaceful protesters were very polite and actually apologised for what happened, but the others were very stupid and have cost us a lot of money.”
Three men, and a woman, were in police custody yesterday after the protest, which forced the petrol station to close temporarily.
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Those arrested were from a campaign group which has been protesting against test drilling at Barton Moss, in Salford.
A peaceful protest, organised by the newly-formed Bolton Against Fracking group, and attended by members of the Bolton Green Party, was already taking place at the petrol station, and was not linked to the campaigners who attached themselves to the pumps.
The rally was organised to protest about the potential use of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in the UK, a controversial method of extracting shale gas from underground rocks by cracking them with jets made up of water, sand and chemicals.
The unknown activists were criticised by Bolton Green Party chairman Alan Johnson. He said: “I was very annoyed, and I have to stress that these people have nothing to do with our protest.
“We were there to protest peacefully, and warn people about the dangers of fracking, and these people have put themselves, and others, in danger with what they did.
“We want to warn people that fracking could lead to a poisoned water supply and contaminated soil.
“I am a grandfather and that is not the legacy I want to leave. We are very worried about the potential of fracking in Bolton because, unfortunately, we are ripe for it.”
Campaign group Frack Free Greater Manchester had called for people to protest outside Total petrol stations across the country.
Group member Sophie Baxter said: “Every company that is going to invest in fracking needs to expect these kind of actions. We were very proud of the guys who locked themselves to the pumps”
Specialist police officers removed the protesters from the pumps. A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: “As a precaution, the pumps were isolated.
"Two men have been arrested for criminal damage, and a man and a woman have been arrested for criminal damage and criminal trespass.”