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Lichfield factory raided by protestors objecting to manufacture of military drones

A factory has been raided by protestors objecting to the manufacture of military drones.

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Protestors on the roof at UAV Engines Ltd in Shenstone. Picture by Guy Smallman

UAV Engines Ltd in Shenstone, near Lichfield was broken into at 7.15am on Monday with activists from Palestine Action taking to the roof.

They say the drones made there are used by Israel against the Palestinian people. The factory, in Lynn Lane, was sprayed with red paint, had windows smashed and equipment dismantled.

Palestine Action says this latest protest targeted UAV Engines Ltd as a maker of drone engines and parts for its parent company, Elbit Systems, “Israel’s largest arms manufacturer”.

It maintains the drones have been used to enact “countless war crimes” on Palestinian civilians and they have stepped up their protest in Shenstone following the announcement of the closure of Elbit Systems’ site in Oldham.

A spokesperson for Palestine Action said: "Israel's weapons trade is fundamental to the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.

“Elbit should know by now that we mean what we say: we will keep occupying, disrupting and dismantling their sites until they leave Britain for good.

“No matter how much security they hire, how much police priority they receive, our activists will find ways to shut them down.

“We've taken down one of their factories for good, and now we're taking apart the rest.”

Around 30 people are believed to be employed in Shenstone by UAV Engines Ltd, which in 2020 made a profit of more than £2.2 million.

A spokesperson for Staffordshire Police said: “Police were called at 7.45am on Monday, January 24, to a business premises on Lynn Lane in Shenstone, Lichfield.

“Officers attended and found extensive damage to a building, with individuals on the roof.

“A total of six people have now been arrested in connection with offences of criminal damage and aggravated trespass.

“They remain in police custody, no further individuals remain at the site and inquiries are continuing.”

UAV Engines Ltd was approached for a comment.