Although expecting some police presence, the protesters were shocked to find Mr. Battye had a copper inside the house. But more was to come.
A couple of days after the local press had covered the garden protest, Mr. Battye wrote to the Oldham Evening Chronicle (the Oldham equivalent of the MEN) slagging them off for not breaking the embargo on the press release. Mr. Battye thanked the MEN for breaking the embargo (not the first time the MEN have done this - be warned!) since it meant he could arrange for a police riot van outside his house, a copper inside, video surveillance and phone taps (his or Earth Firsts'?). A bit of an over-reaction if you ask me.
Battye then told the OEC, effectively, to piss off.
Every issue of the OEC over the next two weeks had letters slagging off Battye either for his waste of police money, the Council's stance over Beal Valley, Battye's snobbish attitude to the press or pointing out other environmental destruction that the Council were responsible for. Oh, and there was one (and just one) letter in support of Battye.
As somebody said at a recent Beal Valley meeting,
"Earth First playing golf in Battye's garden has got the issue back in the public's eye and on the Council's agenda - something our letters over the years have failed to do".
We'd also like to thank John Battye himself for reaching rock bottom and continuing to dig - somebody throw that man a shovel!
Dun Diggin', Oldham EF (c/o [pls use email])