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HS2 protester locks himself in tunnel below Euston Square Gardens

UK News

The son of a island-owning millionaire Scottish laird turned anti-HS2 eco-warrior has locked himself inside a tunnel below Euston Square Gardens as bailiffs dig their own shaft as part of efforts to remove at least six activists who have spent eight days underground. 

The demonstrator, known as ‘Lazer’, attached himself to the bottom of a tunnel using a device made of steel and concrete around his arm. 

The HS2 Rebellion group estimated today it would take several hours before the device around his arm could be removed. A second one is attached round his ankle. 

Lazer is believed to be called Lachlan Blaze Sandford, 20. He is pictured in images alongside his Laird father Roc Sandford, who refers to him as ‘his kids’ in a video of their actions at a precious Extinction Rebellion protest.

The demonstrator, known as 'Lazer', attached himself to the bottom of a tunnel using a device made of steel and concrete around his arm

The demonstrator, known as ‘Lazer’, attached himself to the bottom of a tunnel using a device made of steel and concrete around his arm

Lazer is understood to be Lachlan Blaze Sandford, brother of another protester Blue Sandford

Lazer is understood to be Lachlan Blaze Sandford, brother of another protester Blue Sandford

Mr Sandford's father Roc is a millionaire Extinction Rebellion supporter and owns an island

Mr Sandford’s father Roc is a millionaire Extinction Rebellion supporter and owns an island

Lazer said in a statement: ‘I’m only doing this because I don’t have a choice. 

‘The lives of people in my generation are being risked by carbon-guzzling vanity projects like HS2.

‘HS2 uses huge amounts of high carbon steel and concrete and it will only make the climate emergency worse.’  

Today, staff could be seen removing buckets of mud from the tunnel while several police officers remained around the perimeter of the site.

HS2 Rebellion has called on the Government to scrap the ‘expensive, unpopular and destructive’ scheme.

The environmental campaigners are attempting to protect the green space, which they claim will be built over with a temporary taxi rank before being sold to developers as part of plans for the high-speed railway.

One of the tunnel shafts under Euston Square Gardens, which are being used to delay construction work

One of the tunnel shafts under Euston Square Gardens, which are being used to delay construction work 

Bailiffs are digging their own shaft as part of efforts to remove at least six activists who have spent eight days underground

Bailiffs are digging their own shaft as part of efforts to remove at least six activists who have spent eight days underground

Activists in the tunnels include veteran environmental campaigner Swampy, real name Daniel Hooper, and his son Rory.

Earlier this week a High Court judge rejected a legal bid to halt efforts to evict them.

Mr Justice Robin Knowles refused an application brought by Dr Maxey for an injunction requiring HS2 and others to cease operations.

An HS2 Ltd spokesman said: ‘The safety of those trespassing and that of the HS2 staff and emergency service personnel in this operation is of paramount importance.

‘We are doing all we can to end this illegal action safely, and progress has been made with access secured to the underground tunnel.

Activists in the tunnels include veteran environmental campaigner Swampy, real name Daniel Hooper, and his son Rory. Pictured is a response team working near the entrances to the tunnels

Activists in the tunnels include veteran environmental campaigner Swampy, real name Daniel Hooper, and his son Rory. Pictured is a response team working near the entrances to the tunnels 

Today, staff could be seen removing buckets of mud from the tunnel while several police officers remained around the perimeter of the site

Today, staff could be seen removing buckets of mud from the tunnel while several police officers remained around the perimeter of the site

‘As has been reported this morning, the illegal trespassers have attached themselves underground, which increases the danger to themselves, but also to our team and the emergency services.

‘The High Court this week issued an order to require the illegal occupiers to leave their tunnel. Dr Maxey still hasn’t complied with the court order, which also told him to provide information on the tunnels and its occupants.

‘We urge Dr Maxey to comply with the order as soon as possible – for his safety and the safety of the other activists and the HS2 staff and agents tasked with removing them from the danger they have put themselves in.’

Who are the original Euston Five? Swampy’s band of burrowers include wealthy Laird’s teenage eco-warrior children, geography lecturer, 48, and ex-drug runner who escaped from open prison

The gang of at least five activists who have halted the £98billion HS2 project with a series of secret tunnels include a geography teacher and an ex-drug runner prison fugitive. 

Their efforts have so far infuriated bailiffs trying to remove them from underneath gardens near Euston Station.

And coming from such a wide spectrum of backgrounds, each bring a different set of skills to the protest.

But the authorities warned last night they could be putting their own lives at risk if they did not crawl out of the tunnels.

The National Eviction Team said: ‘The unlawful activists appear to have put themselves in danger of a further tunnel collapse, and potentially of intercepting nearby gas and water pipes, leading to risks of suffocation, flooding and drowning.’

 Here MailOnline takes a closer look at the five behind the tunnels: 

Lazer, believed to be 20, has filmed video from the tunnel as he protests against HS2

Lazer, believed to be 20, has filmed video from the tunnel as he protests against HS2

Lazer: Understood to be called Lachlan Blaze Sandford, 20

Lazer is believed to be the brother of Blue Sandford and from the super-wealthy Sandford family.

He is pictured in images alongside his Laird father Roc Sandford, who refers to him as ‘his kids’ in a video of their actions at a precious Extinction Rebellion protest.

He is filmed juggling on a number of occasions on a sparse social media presence but is frequently seen alongside Blue and her sister.

Lazer is understood to have take part in the Jones Hill Wood sitting protests back in March 2020. 

Environmentalist Daniel "Swampy" Hooper seen at the tunnel entrance at Euston

Environmentalist Daniel ‘Swampy’ Hooper seen at the tunnel entrance at Euston

Swampy in his heyday in the 1990s when he would build tunnels to support his protests

Swampy in his heyday in the 1990s when he would build tunnels to support his protests

Professional protester: Daniel Hooper, 48, AKA Swampy

Swampy, whose real name is Daniel Marc Hooper, became a household name in the 1990s during a variety of environmental protests.

He is best known for spending a week in a complex series of tunnels dug in the path of the expansion of the A30 road in Fairmile, Devon in 1996.

Resisting attempts at eviction by police, Swampy was eventually removed from the network of man-made tunnels.

In 1997, Swampy took part in another tunnel protest against the building of a second runway at Manchester Airport, and has also been involved with the Trident nuclear submarine protest camp at Faslane, Scotland.

In 2019, Swampy took part in an Extinction Rebellion protest by attaching himself to a concrete block at the entrance to the Valero Energy fuel refinery in Pembrokeshire.

Last October, he was arrested at Jones Hill Wood in Buckinghamshire, having occupied a treehouse to prevent trees being chopped down on the route of HS2.

Dr Maxey has sent a video from inside the secret tunnels talking about the bailiffs' efforts

Dr Maxey has sent a video from inside the secret tunnels talking about the bailiffs’ efforts

Dr Maxey protest against trees from being cut down to make way for a housing development

Dr Maxey protest against trees from being cut down to make way for a housing development

Geography teacher: Dr Larch Maxey, 48

Dr Larch Maxey is an Extinction Rebellion activist who was a full-time volunteer for the radical group in 2019 and helped organise hunger strike occupations that year.

In an interview with the Guardian, the long-time climate activist said he had a PhD in sustainability and was a geography lecturer and post-doctoral researcher for 17 years.

However, he said he had no income and described himself as a ‘relaxed freegan’ – someone who only eats food that would be going to waste.

The Bristol-based activist has said: ‘I work about 14 hours, six days a week with Extinction Rebellion. My role involves helping develop and implement our strategy and ideas for actions, and linking up with international groups.

‘This is my life’s purpose, and I couldn’t be happier and more fulfilled. I’m happy to spend every waking moment bringing this change about.’

Breen - known as Scotty and Digger Down - was seen inside the HS2 tunnel last night

Breen – known as Scotty and Digger Down – was seen inside the HS2 tunnel last night

Iain Oliver, Scott Breen and Mark Keir pictured together outside Uxbridge Magistrates' Court

Iain Oliver, Scott Breen and Mark Keir pictured together outside Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court

Reformed drugs runner: Scott Breen, 47, AKA Digger Down

Scotty Breen had been sent to prison for his role in a courier in a heroin deal but absconded in 2007.

He moved in with his girlfriend at Faslane peace camp, getting her pregnant, but was caught after six months on the run.

Little is known about his background, but has moved in political circles and was pictured once with former Green Party candidate Mark Keir.

Since his brush with law he has turned his life around and become a key part of the Extinction Rebellion movement.

He and Keir protested against HS2 back in 2019 locking themselves together with a concrete tube blocking a Hillingdon site. 

Blue Sandford, 18, had stayed in the tunnels overnight and gave interviews on the protest

Blue Sandford, 18, had stayed in the tunnels overnight and gave interviews on the protest

Ms Sandford was dubbed Britain's Greta Thunberg and said she wanted to rewild London

Ms Sandford was dubbed Britain’s Greta Thunberg and said she wanted to rewild London

Writer: Blue Sandford, 18, AKA The British Greta Thunberg

The teenager last year brought out her ‘manifesto’ called Challenge Everything: An Extinction Rebellion Youth guide to saving the planet.

And she revealed in an interview promoting the book she had been arrested in September as part of the controversial protest group’s fortnight of action in London.

She said she spent the start of her 17th birthday in a custody cell and a month later was  charged with obstruction of the highway. It is not clear what happened with the case. 

Ms Sandford, whose real name is Isla, was dubbed Britain’s Greta Thunberg by The Times after doing an interview with them, but later told euronews she did not appreciate the comparison. 

In the same chat she said she wanted to ‘rewilding cities like London’ and advocated ‘guerrilla gardening’ to make wild spaces. 

 The family live part time on the island of Gometra in the Inner Hebrides.  

Their aristocratic father gave both Lachlan and Isla presents made from rubbish at Christmas.   

DailyMail Online


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