New Fathers 4 Justice activist in police custody after Stevenage Police Station rooftop protest

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A fathers’ rights protester who yesterday climbed onto the roof of Stevenage Police Station dressed as the Muppet Elmo has been arrested and remains in police custody.

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New Fathers 4 Justice protester Bobby Smith dressed up as Elmo on the roof Stevenage Police Station.

Bobby Smith scaled the building at about 12.30pm, and was arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass when he came down at 5.35pm.

The 33-year-old’s protest in which he identified himself to the Comet was in support of three fellow New Fathers 4 Justice activists who appeared at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court yesterday morning.

The trio – Sharon Chesterman, 55, of Minehead Way in Stevenage, Daniel Dedman, 33, from Potters Bar, and Martin Matthews, 48, from Leatherhead – pleaded not guilty to disrupting people engaged in lawful activity and will go to trial.

They held a rooftop protest at the court last month in support of Bobby, who had been found guilty of breaching a restraining order by publishing photographs of his two daughters on Facebook.

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Bobby, of Anderson Road in Stevenage, says he has been treated unfairly by the courts and denied proper access to his daughters for four years.

His adoption of Elmo as a mascot comes from a pet name he has for his children.

Bobby’s protests last year included climbing onto roofs at Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, and standing against David Cameron in the general election.

New Fathers 4 Justice campaigns for equal rights for fathers in divorce and separation proceedings and reform of the family courts.