One arrest after fuel protests on M5 and A38 in Somerset and Devon

Fuel prices are on the rise at petrol stations in Suffolk (file photo)

Protestors are angry over the cost of fuel - Credit: PA

A motorway protest over the price of fuel passed off peacefully on the M5 in Somerset and Devon this morning.

The demonstration, which saw miles of slow-moving traffic take to the route between junctions 27 and 28, northbound and southbound, caused delays for drivers when it got underway at around 9am.

But police said the action was peaceful and ended on the stretch at around 11am.

Superintendent Adrian Leisk, Silver Commander for Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “As with any protest, our responsibilities are to facilitate these in a safe and legal way, while making sure the action being taken doesn’t become a danger to the public or that an unreasonable amount of disruption occurs.

"Naturally, undertaking a protest on a motorway has potentially fatal consequences and with this in mind, we gave very clear parameters to those taking part. 

"This included a minimum speed limit that they couldn’t go below and ensuring that the hard shoulders were left clear."

He said the motorway protest was carried out in a 'safe and legal manner', although one person was arrested following disruption on the A38.

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Supt Leisk added: "We had some challenges in relation to action being taken on the A38. At around 9am we had reports of excessively slow speeds from some of those protesting, leading to cars braking suddenly and potentially causing a serious issue on our roads.

"Officers escorted three vehicles off the road near Buckfastleigh.

"These drivers were given formal warnings and were advised over acceptable parameters of their protests, including a minimum speed and leaving lanes clear. 

"They were informed that any breach of these directions would lead to an arrest.

"At around 10.45am we received further reports of unsafe driving on the A38 near Ivybridge. 

"One road user, a man in his 50s, ignored the previous warning given to him and was subsequently arrested on suspicion of breach of the Public Order Act and taken into police custody.

"I am currently satisfied with the actions taken by officers at the scenes of these protests, who did everything they could to ensure the safety of our public in relation to the fuel protests that took place in Devon and Cornwall today."