ANTI-FRACKING protesters blocked the gates to a controversial site, trapping staff inside for more than seven hours.

Staff from Third Energy were left stuck inside when they went to the Kirby Misperton site in North Yorkshire on Tuesday to conduct routine monitoring and testing equipment as part of a regulatory compliance programme. .

He added that the protestors allowed the staff and contractors off site at 9.30pm in the evening, “slow walking” them through Kirby Misperton.

The company’s chief executive Rasik Valand said the action had caused distress to the staff and contractors, who were “only trying to go about their daily, legitimate work, and will continue to do so”.

A spokesman for the protestors said: “Ryedale residents and members of the Protection Camp mobilised when heavy machinery was spotted entering the KM8 well site.

“To begin with we had little warning as Third Energy seemingly disbanded their liaison group straight after they secured permission to frack.”

A police spokesman said: “We have well-rehearsed plans to deal with such events.

“Although the circumstances which led to the protest action at Kirby Misperton on Tuesday were not anticipated, we were able to put those plans in place and they were effective.”

He added: “We are mindful of the small number of complaints relating to the protest. However, we were able to keep disruption to a minimum while keeping people safe, which is always our absolute priority.