One arrested after Fathers4Justice 'Spiderman' ends Taunton bridge protest (From This is The West Country)
Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting COUNTY GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
One arrested after Fathers4Justice 'Spiderman' ends Taunton bridge protest
Enable automatic updates every 30 seconds? YES NO
- Protestor dressed as Spiderman climbed onto bridge over Toneway
- Campaigner sends email stating intentions to County Gazette
- Banners were seen by hundreds of motorists in Taunton
- Drivers faced severe delays as Toneway and M5 slip roads shut
- Campaigner left bridge at around 11am after three-hour protest
POLICE have confirmed that the M5 near Taunton has reopened.
A spokesman said: "There is likely to be some congestion over the next hour as things get back to normal."
Police also confirmed they have arrested a man on suspicion of a public nuisance offence.
Good to observe @ASPolice @swasFT and @DSFireUpdates working so well together this morning #Taunton #Toneway— @DSFireXO 24 September 2013
A MEMBER of the public has told the County Gazette he spotted a person dressed as Spiderman at the same site yesterday afternoon (Monday) at 3pm.
It is believed the man who caused disruption on the bridge today may have visited the site to take photographs yesterday.
THE scene of the incident.
OFFICERS remove the banners displayed by 'Spiderman' from the scene.
A SPOKESMAN for Somerset County Council has confirmed that any motorists who were directed through the Blackbrook bus gate by police this morning shouldn't receive a ticket through the post.
He said: "Today's incident has been a 'permitted exemption'.
"No penalties will be sent out to motorists who drive through the bus gate on the instruction of a police officer."
DOZENS of frustrated motorists have contacted the County Gazette via Facebook, Twitter and using the web comment facility on this story to express their anger at the severe delays caused by the 'Spiderman' protestor.
You can email your views to email@example.com, Tweet us @CountyGazette or search 'Somerset County Gazette' on Facebook.
M5 junction 25 and Toneway has is now re opened. #M5 #Taunton— @DSFireUpdates 24 September 2013
KELLY de Andres said Spirit Health Club, where she works as a therapist, had been "dead" this morning.
"I got to work late because of the disruption - but no clients have turned up, the club is absolutely dead," she said.
"I don't know why there was so much fuss - at the end of the day he wasn't going to jump and it's caused a big chaos for everybody. It's ridiculous.
"I get the F4J thing, but there's a way of doing things. This just makes everybody fed up."
Student Ellen Francis said many of her colleagues had been unable to make it into Somerset Skills and Learning.
"He's just caused a lot of disruption.
"I was sat in the car for about an hour and I'm not really very happy.
"It's stopped me doing my college work."
Her friend Sarah Polley said: "It's disruptive.
"There's nobody at college because they're all stuck in traffic.
"He should have gone a different way about it."
Nigel Albright said: "People are entitled to protest because we live in a democratic society with freedom of speech, but where you cause inconvenience to other people, it's very selfish."
THE protestor looks at officers below during his bridge occupation.
PHOTO: Apex News
COUNTY Gazette chief reporter Phil Hill said officers had been tying ropes to themselves and preparing to scale the bridge shortly before 'Spiderman' ended his protest on the bridge.
The campaigner was on the bridge over the Toneway for approximately three hours, between 8am and 11am.
POLICE officers speak to 'Spiderman' shortly before he steps off the bridge.
PHOTO: Apex News
THE protestor has come down from the bridge and has been taken to a police station for questioning by officers.
OFFICERS are diverting traffic wanting to get to Taunton town centre through the controversial Blackbrook bus gate, where thousands of drivers have been hit with fines over recent months, as reported here .
A spokesman for Somerset County Council said drivers would not be expected to pay a fine if they pass through the bus gate but could not confirm if tickets would still be automatically issued.
THE protestor sent this image to the Somerset County Gazette this morning (Tuesday). It is not believed to have been taken today, suggesting 'Spiderman' has visited the footbridge in advance of his actions.
POLICE are using the Murco garage at junction 25 as a temporary command base to deal with the incident.
J25 M5 #Taunton closed north & southbound. Avoid Toneway & Creech Castle. Northbound get off at J26. Southbound get off at J24, follow A38.— @ASPolice 24 September 2013
10:15am Tue 24 Sep 13
Very Selfish so many drivers were put at risk sat in a queue on the M5 on a foggy Morning.
POLICE have closed off access to Toneway from junction 25.
COUNTY Gazette chief reporter Phil Hill at the scene of the incident: "There are more than a dozen emergency vehicles at the scene, including police, fire and ambulance crews.
"Traffic is passing under the bridge heading out of Taunton but the road remains closed inbound. Both slip roads at junction 25 remain closed.
"Police are diverting traffic heading into the town through the notorious Blackbrook bus gate.
"There is no indication at this stage as to when the protestor might end his occupation of the bridge - and the considerable incovenience to motorists."
#Taunton toneway closed heavy traffic, fathers for justice protester hanging from the bridge!”oh dear #spiderman causing trouble !— @pennyssweets 24 September 2013
Just caught in an enormous traffic jam because the police have spiderman cornered on a footbridge in Taunton. I've seen him get out of worse— @1jamiefoster 24 September 2013
Congestion at junction 25 on M5 (Taunton): Motorists travelling northbound and southbound on the M5 are being ... http://t.co/8M9aL9XYIM— @ASPolice 24 September 2013
POLICE say motorists planning to join the M5 or leave it at junction 25 are being asked to use junctions 24 and 26.
9:39am Tue 24 Sep 13
Incredibly selfish. I saw an ambulance trying to get through all the traffic. Live are being put a risk. Hardly the actions of a responsible father.
M5 junction 25 is completely shut until further notice due to an ongoing incident just off the motorway in Taunton #M5 #Taunton #roadclosure— @DSFireUpdates 24 September 2013
BOTH exit slip roads off the M5 at junction 25 have now been closed.
SOME traffic is now being allowed to pass down the bus lane on Toneway.
THE campaigner hanging over the side of the bridge.
9:32am Tue 24 Sep 13
Not the way to get the public on there side. Should be made to compensate everyone, for his foolish action.
TRAFFIC on the M5 motorway is moving fine in both directions but as CCTV images show, there are long queues to leave the motorway at junction 25. Photo: Highways Agency.
COUNTY Gazette chief reporter Phil Hill: "There is a police negotiator speaking to the man at the moment.
"The protestor is on the outside of the footbridge looking in and appears to be strapped to the bridge.
"Police officers are watching on from the Toneway below."
Reports of tailbacks of up to a mile both north & southbound lane 1 on #M5 on approach to J25 following closure of #A358 Toneway #Taunton— @timesavetraffic 24 September 2013
REBECCA Jones, who was commuting to work in Taunton from Clevedon, said: "I was approaching junction 25 for Taunton and I saw a sign saying 'Queues Ahead'.
"There was a long queue along the slip road. I joined it but it took me 10 minutes to get the roundabout and then I was stuck for another 25 minutes.
"The dual carriageway was shut off so I was diverted down Blackbrook. It was chaos."
THIS image of the man scaling the bridge - but not thought to have been taken today - was sent to the Somerset County Gazette.
THE latest images of traffic queuing around the roundabout for the M5 motorway at Blackbrook (Junction 25). Photo: Highways Agency.
What is happening in Taunton. I've been stuck in stand still traffic for 30 minutes— @xlauraorton 24 September 2013
Toneway closed as Fathers4Justice 'Spiderman' scales footbridge in Taunton... http://t.co/8EZYK5a0RB— @F4JOfficial 24 September 2013
COUNTY Gazette chief reporter Phil Hill is at the scene of the incident.
He said: "The road is closed off from the motorway.
"There are two police officers standing on the Toneway speaking to the man above. Another man, in plain clothes, is on the footbridge, speaking to the man.
"He is displaying banners promoting his cause.
"It is an eerie scene with the usually-packed Toneway deserted."
#Taunton toneway closed heavy traffic apparently a fathers for justice protester hanging from the bridge!— @timesavetraffic 24 September 2013
COMMUTERS heading into Taunton are facing severe delays due to the incident, which has forced police to close one of the busiest routes into the town.
A POLICE spokesman said they were called to reports of a man on a bridge at 8.17am and it is likely the road will be closed for some time.
He added: "We would advise people to avoid the area."
A CAMPAIGNER from rights group Fathers4Justice has scaled a footbridge in Taunton dressed as Spiderman to display a banner promoting his cause.
The man climbed the bridge over the Toneway shortly before 8am today (Tuesday) to display the banners.
In an email sent to the County Gazette, the man claims to be a Wellington father in his 30s who is fighting for access to his child.
The campaigner said: "[The Government] is failing children by preventing them from having contact with loving fathers. We must force change."
Campaigners from Fathers 4 Justice have dressed as superheroes to stage protests for several years, with high-profile targets including a father dressed as Batman climbing onto the outside of Buckingham Palace in 2011.
Comments are closed on this article.