PROTESTERS have blockaded the gates to Third Energy’s fracking site after securing themselves to a metal barrel believed to contain propane gas.

The group laid down in front of the gates to the site at 4am this morning to lock their arms into the devices.

Police say four vehicles containing about 15 people attended the hydraulic fracturing site at 4am and unloaded the metal device, which police say they believe is a propane gas canister.

North Yorkshire Police say a police officer, one of two officers at the scene at the time, was pushed to the ground by a group of people and suffered an ankle injury after the device was pushed onto his foot.

A security guard, a man in his 40s, sustained a bite injury to his hand during the incident.

Superintendent Alisdair Dey, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “A police officer and a member of the public have been injured in this incident. This kind of behaviour is completely unacceptable, and will be investigated thoroughly and dealt with appropriately.

“Our officers are there to support and protect people engaged in peaceful protest, and the safety of everyone at the site remains our priority.”

Members of Kirby Misperton Protection Camp say while they were carrying the device, protesters were pushed by police and have called for calm.

A spokesperson for the camp said: “Our actions are always peaceful, at no point do we wish to enter into any kind of confrontation with the police or security.

“We ask North Yorkshire Police and Next Level Security to please consider everybody’s safety to avoid the risk of serious injury.

“Our focus has always been to protect Ryedale’s land and communities from fracking. Long after Third Energy have gone, the police and the community will still be living together. Let’s not burn bridges.’’

Two men currently remain in the road with their arms locked into the device.

Police say officers are at the site to ensure the two men in the road are safe and well and a North Yorkshire Police team with specialist training and cutting equipment is assessing the scene.

The active protests have now entered their third week outside the gas well site, near Kirby Misperton, since deliveries began at the site in preparation of hydraulic fracturing.

Police say a 21-year-old man has today been charged with obstructing a police officer, after being arrested at Habton Road, Kirby Misperton, at about 11.30am on Friday.

He will appear at York Magistrates Court in November.