CAMPAIGNERS gathered outside a Bolton engineering firm this morning protesting about its role in a forthcoming fracking project in Lancashire.

Two women from Lancaster Climate Action blockaded themselves at the entrance of AE Yates Ltd at the Lostock Industrial Estate blocking all vehicle movement on site for around three hours.

Last year The Bolton News reported how AE Yates had secured a £1.5 million contract to build a shale gas exploration site at Little Plumpton site in Lancashire by drilling firm Cuadrilla.

Rose White, of Lancaster Climate Action, said: “There is a strong, sustainable and swelling campaign against the fracking industry.

“Campaigners have a thorough analysis of both the industry itself and the political context around it and are hitting hard at weak spots and bottle necks.

“The blockades, both here and elsewhere, have resulting in all work being halted.

“That, along with actions like today's targeting of the supply chain in Bolton, is making investors very nervous.

“At a time when they should have been rocketing upwards, shares in the fracking companies main source of funding are crashing down.

“Soon they won’t have the support of the people and very soon they won’t have the support from investors either.”

One of the women staging the protest, Sarah Shore, said that action was needed to send a message to all businesses in the fracking supply chain.

She said: "If you’re supplying an industry that causes catastrophic climate change, pollutes the air we breathe, pollutes our premium farming land and our drinking water, then you should expect to be disrupted.”

Katie Marsh, another campaigner at the blockade said that the action is much bigger than just a fracking issue.

She said: “It’s also about democracy. After months of careful consideration, Lancashire County Council said no to fracking, however, central government intervened and gave the green light to frack in what some Tories are calling the ‘desolate North'.

“This clearly highlights the complete disregard Westminster has for local democracy and for our wonderful county.”

Paul Boron, managing director at AE Yates said: “These protests have been going on since the beginning of January.

“Today people lay down in front of our gates and prevented our wagons from getting in or out of the site for a few hours.

“We called police who arrived within the hour before the protestors were moved on sometime after 9.30am.

“It generally disrupts business but it is just something that we have to deal with.

“I hope that the police will continue to support us.”

A spokesperson from GMP said: "Police were called at around 8.20am on to reports of a group of protestors on Cranfield Road, Lostock Industrial Estate.

"Officers attended and the protestors left the scene."