Battle of Brightlingsea

11th September 1995

The week started off with more rumours that Mr Oliver and Mr Mills were going to build pens at the wharf to keep sheep and calves in overnight. For several reason this was one thing the campaigners never wanted. On odd occasions when there were sheep on the dock, they could be heard bleating and this upset many people. It would be very controversial if it was the intention to keep calves as well as sheep at the port.

The campaigners thought there was something going on as they had seen lorries entering the port loaded with railings and hay. Up until now the live export lorries had come into Brightlingsea before 0900hrs. or after 1800hrs. The police would not allow the sheep to wait on the quay for hours in the lorries, which meant a shipment was lost if the tides were wrong. The problem with the pens being on the dock was that the sheep could be kept on the dock for several hours.

The police and exporters did not like the night trips because there tended to be more campaigners, including husbands whose wives had been on the demonstrations in the mornings and had complained about police tactics. If the convoys were very late, youths, teenagers and people from some of the pubs would come to look and maybe enter the fray. You also had the Police, who may have been on standby since 0600hrs now having to deal with late demonstrations which put a strain on Police manpower.

These photographs show how the pens were built. Brightlingsea Town Council, M.A.F.F and the R.S.P.C.A were shown these photographs as protestors felt it was cruel to animals if they were kept in these pens for long periods of time.

The pens were never used.

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