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Fracking Protests Have Cost Police £750,000
The cost of policing the increasing number of protesters at a test drilling site in West Sussex has reached nearly £750,000.
Sussex Police revealed the sum while officers from 10 other forces were drafted in to help with policing the protest, which began last month.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said the force would now ask for help from the Government in meeting the growing bill.
"While Sussex Police continues to facilitate peaceful protest at the site in an appropriate and proportionate manner, the recent involvement of national groups suggests the demonstrations will continue long term," she said.
"This is leading to increased demand on police resources and is placing pressure on the police budget at a time when we are being asked to find significant savings.
"I am determined that this will not affect policing across the rest of Sussex and that the Chief Constable will have all the resources necessary to continue to keep Sussex safe."
More than 1,000 new protesters turned up yesterday at the site as part of a six-day protest camp on the outskirts of the village of Balcombe.
They included the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood who called for a public debate on the issue.
She told Sky News that Prime Minister David Cameron's stance supporting fracking was outrageous: "It's just storing up for the future, near future even, with financial problems and ultimately, you know, we'll all fry.
"You know the ice caps are melting, the Earth is going to change dramatically and I don't know where he's (David Cameron) coming from - what is this race?"
Balcombe has become the focal point of fracking protests since energy firm Cuadrilla prepared to drill for oil at the site.
Campaigners fear the test drilling could lead to hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, but Cuadrilla has said it is unlikely to turn the site into a fossil fuel production area.
Conservationists have also lodged their objection to the planned scheme, warning that fracking close to an important, protected wildlife site for pink footed geese and whooper swans could disturb the birds.
In a letter to Lancashire County Council, the RSPB also raised concerns that increasing gas and oil use would undermine efforts to tackle climate change.
Protesters have now set up two camps a mile apart and some have said they intend to take "direct action" against the drilling site.
But some Balcombe residents have reacted angrily to the arrival of the anti-fracking protesters en masse, saying they are not representative of all villagers.
Derek Earl, 71, said: "I'm in the middle on the fracking debate, neither for nor against, but what I'm fed up with is the anti-frackers' behaviour.
"This lot have tunnel vision and they won't listen to anyone else's view. What is annoying is when they say that the overwhelming majority of the village supports them. They don't."