A CIVIL engineer had to taken off the Tour de Yorkshire duties to give evidence against an anti-fracking protester.

Neil Coxon, prosecuting, said he and Keith Whitehouse, defending, discussed ways of agreeing on Mike Roberts’ evidence against Dr Steven Peers, 49, so that Mr Roberts could concentrate on the bike race. But the defendant, who denied a charge of obstructing police, didn’t accept Mr Roberts’ professional opinion that a wooden tower built in Habton Road, near Kirby Misperton, was unsafe.

Mr Roberts appeared as a witness and Peers, who gave his address as a caravan in Habton Road, was convicted.

Fire service and police witnesses also gave evidence that the tower was unsafe and therefore the police were entitled to remove Peers from it.

He claimed he felt perfectly safe on it as he filmed activity on the Third Energy site and should have been left there.

He was conditionally discharged for 12 months. He was also ordered to pay £120 prosecution costs.

District judge Adrian Lower said a photo showed the tower “resting on a piece of wood” on “a rather soggy grass verge”.