SKAT activist Robbie the Pict today claimed that the police have been using strong arm tactics against toll protestors on the Skye Bridge.
Robbie said that since Sheriff James Fraser's ruling that refusal to pay the toll was not a criminal offence as the wording of the New Streets & Roads Works Act 1991 is wrong, police have taken to charging drivers with obstruction.
Robbie said "we have had reports of heavy handedness today, with police charging drivers with obstruction". Some of these incidents have involved women drivers travelling on their own.
"The sooner they update their policy, rather than acting as minders for the bridge company, the better."
Area Deputy Police Commander Chief Inspector John Darcy said , "The matter is being handled as it has been to date. If SKAT have any complaint to make, it should be made to local officers."
Police will continue to take names and addresses, caution non-payers that they may still be reported to the Procurator Fiscal and then ask the toll staff to lift the barrier. Details on how to carry our a non-payment can be found here.
Meanwhile, SKAT have advised non-payers that is the bridge staff will not call the police, that they should do it themselves. SKAT remain convinced that the toll is unlawful and that the Skye Bridge Ltd. is committing a crime by demanding it.
A Crown appeal against the Sheriff's decision is due next Wednesday (23rd July) at the High Court in Edinburgh.
SKAT ask that there be as large a turnout as possible for their demonstration this coming Saturday afternoon. Since the decision by the Sheriff, the number of non-payers turning up at the bridge has more than quadrupled. Well, why pay when you don't have to!
Copyright © Ray Shields, 1997.
Most recent revision, 18 July 1997.