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Environmental activist arrested after complaint of harassment by Newbury MP Laura Farris

An environmental activist was arrested after a complaint of harassment by Newbury MP Laura Farris.

However he hotly denies Mrs Farris’s claim of being stalked online and harassed by email.

Newbury MP Laura Farris
Newbury MP Laura Farris

The man, who was arrested from his house in Adbury Holt, Newtown, put in a cell, and had his DNA and fingerprints taken, is now lodging an official complaint and demanding an apology.

But the MP defended her right to complain about what she felt was harassment.

“The arrest was clearly gratuitous knowing that I’d be put in a cell, fingerprints, DNA and mug shot taken,” said Friends of the Earth campaigner Adrian Foster-Fletcher.

“I was there for two hours before they called for a duty solicitor. So absolutely maximum effort to annoy you.

“They arrested me so that I had no access to my electronic devices but they could have taken those off me when they were at my house.

“The police were doing the bidding of a politician. This is what happens in a police state.

"Jo Cox was mentioned but hardly valid given I’ve met Farris on several occasions.

"I was [arrested on suspicion of] sending ‘too many aggressive‘ emails, but the police were unable to point to a single email over the last year or any part of an email that was aggressive. Eighty over a year is around six a month. How many is too many?

“By a quirk of geography I live just three miles from the centre of Newbury but one mile over the border in north west Hampshire.

"So technically Farris is not my MP but owning property in Newbury and running three charities in the town I felt gave me the right to write to her.”

A letter to Mr Foster-Fletcher from the custody sergeant at Reading Police station where he was taken confirms he was released without charge.

“I have a zero tolerance policy towards anyone who harasses or threatens me or my staff in any way,” Mrs Farris said.

“Previously one man has received a suspended sentence for a threat towards me.

“For some time now a man, who is not my constituent, has continually sent abusive, unpleasant but not threatening letters to my office despite receiving a cease-and-desist letter.

"An MP can only help and reply to someone who is their constituent. This is a longstanding and very clear rule communicated to this man some time ago.

“In September, the number of emails to the office increased and so I contacted Thames Valley Police after liaising with the parliamentary security authorities.

“I believe this man has no legitimate business contacting my office because he is not my constituent and he has his own MP he could write to.

“I thank the police for their work on this matter.”

A Newbury man was given a suspended prison sentence for waging a campaign of terror against the MP in November 2021.

Mrs Farris said in a victim impact statement how she had been "absolutely terrified" by the "relentless... obsessional... fury and fixation" of her constituent Ian Howgate.

The 56-year-old, of Ley Gardens, Speen, was convicted in his absence for menacing Mrs Farris after reportedly stating he did not recognise the authority of the court to try him.

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