Who are the Euston Five? Swampy's band of burrowers revealed
28th January 2021

Who are the Euston Five? Swampy’s band of burrowers include teenage eco-warrior siblings, geography lecturer, 48, and ex-drug runner who escaped from open prison

  • Five protesters are currently holed up underneath London trying to stop HS2
  • They include geography teacher Dr Larch Maxey, 48, and Scott Breen, 47
  • Blue Sandford, veteran protester Swampy and man nicknamed Lazer also there

The gang of five activists who have halted the £98billion HS2 project with a series of secret tunnels include a geography teacher and ex-drug runner prison fugitive. 

Their efforts have so far infuriated bailiffs trying to remove them from underneath gardens near Euston Station.

And coming from such a wide spectrum of backgrounds, each bring a different set of skills to the protest.

But the authorties warned last night they could be putting their own lives at risk if they did not crawl out of the tunnels.

The National Eviction Team said: ‘The unlawful activists appear to have put themselves in danger of a further tunnel collapse, and potentially of intercepting nearby gas and water pipes, leading to risks of suffocation, flooding and drowning.’

 Here MailOnline takes a closer look at the five behind the tunnels: 

Environmentalist Daniel “Swampy” Hooper seen at the tunnel entrance at Euston

Swampy in his heyday in the 1990s when he would build tunnels to support his protests

Professional protester: Daniel Hooper, 48, AKA Swampy

Swampy, whose real name is Daniel Marc Hooper, became a household name in the 1990s during a variety of environmental protests.

He is best known for spending a week in a complex series of tunnels dug in the path of the expansion of the A30 road in Fairmile, Devon in 1996.

Resisting attempts at eviction by police, Swampy was eventually removed from the network of man-made tunnels.

In 1997, Swampy took part in another tunnel protest against the building of a second runway at Manchester Airport, and has also been involved with the Trident nuclear submarine protest camp at Faslane, Scotland.

In 2019, Swampy took part in an Extinction Rebellion protest by attaching himself to a concrete block at the entrance to the Valero Energy fuel refinery in Pembrokeshire.

Last October, he was arrested at Jones Hill Wood in Buckinghamshire, having occupied a treehouse to prevent trees being chopped down on the route of HS2.

Dr Maxey has sent a video from inside the secret tunnels talking about the bailiffs’ efforts

Dr Maxey protest against trees from being cut down to make way for a housing development

Geography teacher: Dr Larch Maxey, 48

Dr Larch Maxey is an Extinction Rebellion activist who was a full-time volunteer for the radical group in 2019 and helped organise hunger strike occupations that year.

In an interview with the Guardian, the long-time climate activist said he had a PhD in sustainability and was a geography lecturer and post-doctoral researcher for 17 years.

However, he said he had no income and described himself as a ‘relaxed freegan’ – someone who only eats food that would be going to waste.

The Bristol-based activist has said: ‘I work about 14 hours, six days a week with Extinction Rebellion. My role involves helping develop and implement our strategy and ideas for actions, and linking up with international groups.

‘This is my life’s purpose, and I couldn’t be happier and more fulfilled. I’m happy to spend every waking moment bringing this change about.’

Breen – known as Scotty and Digger Down – was seen inside the HS2 tunnel last night

Iain Oliver, Scott Breen and Mark Keir pictured together outside Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court

Reformed drugs runner: Scott Breen, 47, AKA Digger Down

Scotty Breen had been sent to prison for his role in a courier in a heroin deal but absconded in 2007.

He moved in with his girlfriend at Faslane peace camp, getting her pregnant, but was caught after six months on the run.

Little is known about his background, but has moved in political circles and was pictured once with former Green Party candidate Mark Keir.

Since his brush with law he has turned his life around and become a key part of the Extinction Rebellion movement.

He and Keir protested against HS2 back in 2019 locking themselves together with a concrete tube blocking a Hillingdon site.

Lazer, believed to be 20, has filmed video from the tunnel as he protests against HS2

Lazer is understood to be Lachlan Blaze Sandford, brother of another protester Blue Sandford

Juggler: Understood to be called Lachlan Blaze Sandford, 20, AKA Lazer

Lazer is believed to be the brother of Blue Sandford and from the super-wealthy Sandford family.

He is pictured in images alongside father Roc Sandford, who refers to him as ‘his kids’ in a video of their actions at a precious Extinction Rebellion protest.

He is filmed juggling on a number of occasions on a sparse social media presence but is frequently seen alongside Blue and her sister.

Lazer is understood to have take part in the Jones Hill Wood sitting protests back in March 2020.

He said from the tunnel today of the bailiffs: ‘They have kept us constantly awake via loud noises once they have been dropping dirt on us continuously so we haven’t had a chance to sleep.’

Blue Sandford, 18, had stayed in the tunnels overnight and gave interviews on the protest

Ms Sandford was dubbed Britain’s Greta Thunberg and said she wanted to rewild London

Writer: Blue Sandford, 18, AKA The British Greta Thunberg

The teenager last year brought out her ‘manifesto’ called Challenge Everything: An Extinction Rebellion Youth guide to saving the planet.

And she revealed in an interview promoting the book she had been arrested in September as part of the controversial protest group’s fortnight of action in London.

She said she spent the start of her 17th birthday in a custody cell and a month later was  charged with obstruction of the highway. It is not clear what happened with the case. 

Ms Sandford was dubbed Britain’s Greta Thunberg by The Times after doing an interview with them, but later told euronews she did not appreciate the comparison. 

In the same chat she said she wanted to ‘rewilding cities like London’ and advocated ‘guerrilla gardening’ to make wild spaces. 

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