Greenpeace activists have confiscated thousands of Volkswagen keys from a cargo ship in a protests against diesel cars.
Protestors blocked a shipment of VWs arriving at a port in Sheerness this morning, two years after the company was embroiled in a clean air scandal.
The self-proclaimed ‘pirate’ activists boarded the 23,498-tonne carrier to stand in front of the loading bay door before hanging a huge poster showing a child in a gas mask with the words ‘Ditch Diesel’ plastered over it.
They have also broken into the car park at Sheerness and are removing keys from thousands of VWs waiting to be taken to UK dealers, leaving messages on engines for 8,000 owners.
Protestor Janet Barker, 38, a support worker, from Powys, Wales, said: “Diesel cars are toxic – so we’re here to block VW imports on behalf of all of the children who are the most acutely affected by the health impacts of diesel fumes.
“VW’s polluting vehicles are adding to a public health emergency harming thousands of people.”
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The environmental group pulled off the stunt to try and force VW to stop the production of diesel cars within two years and to take their “toxic” cars back to Germany.
The car giant was embroiled in an emissions scandal in 2015 when it admitted 11 million VW cars had been fitted with ‘defeat devices’ that allowed them to cheat pollution tests.
It means their cars were pumping out up to 40 times the permitted levels of emissions when on the road, prompting more scrutiny into older diesel cars.
Millions of cars have been recalled since and UK car makers have introduced scrappage schemes to take older, more polluting vehicles off the road.