Brentwood animal rights protest: ‘Shots fired’ at Warley abattoir demo

One protester was assaulted and another’s car was “shot at” during a demo outside a Warley abattoir on Wednesday.

Supporters of Essex Animal Defenders gathered outside Cheale Meats (Elmkirk Ltd), Little Warley Hall Lane, as part of continuing protests against the abbatoir which sacked two workers over alleged abuse of pigs last year.

Protesters, in fancy dress, had been holding banners and placards outside the facility and by the side of the A127 dual carriageway.

Members said they heard a “pinging noise” and “sounds like something ricocheting off” a car which was parked some way from them in Little Warley Hall Lane.

On returning to the hire car she had been driving, Jane Callow, who has multiple sclerosis, discovered the damage. She said: “We didn’t know what it was at first, so someone came back to have a look and called me over.”

Fellow protester Marcia Hagon said: “It was badly damaged, it looked like it was an air gun. It’s not been done at a great distance but we were close by, anybody could have got hit.”

Police confirmed that they are investigating the possible shooting of the blue BMW 320. Officers did not find cartridges or pellets.

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An 18-year-old from Dagenham was arrested after a protester had a water bottle emptied over them. The man, a passing motorist, was issued with a caution after admitting assault.

Brentwood Police Inspector Jon Burgess said: “We were present to ensure a peaceful protest as people have the right to voice their opinions on such issues.

“The protest escalated and it’s a shame that police resources were diverted from other patrols and incidents.”

Protesters are calling for the prosecution of the sacked workers, as well as more stringent animal welfare standards.

They have pledged to continue their regular demonstrations.

Cheale Meats (Elmkirk Ltd) have previously said that two workers were sacked over the alleged abuse which they “unequivocally condemned”.