A PROTESTOR dressed as a newt was arrested at the site of a proposed opencast coalmine after trying to lock himself to a lorry carrying machinery.

The 26-year-old man is the 14th person to be arrested as part of an ongoing campaign by people opposed to the development near Consett.

Banks Group intends to remove 500,000 tonnes of coal from the Bradley site, between Leadgate and Dipton.

Protestors claim their planning permission is now void following the discovery of Great Crested Newts at the site.

The firm claims an independent ecological survey carried out at the site found no evidence of them.

Police were called at 9am on Monday morning to the site and arrested the man.

It is understood he had been detained by security guards working for the company.

A spokesman for Durham Constabulary said: “A man was arrested earlier today after an incident outside the proposed opencast mining site between Dipton and Leadgate.

“Police were called to the site shortly before 9am today following renewed activity.

“A 26-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of obstruction of the highway and a number of other offences and remains in custody.”