The “Tyre Extinguishers” are a group of climate demonstrators who have made it their mission to make it “impossible” to own an SUV in a suburban area. In April the group claimed to have deflated the tyres of nearly 2,000 SUVs in the space of four weeks across Britain. They have claimed that their actions on Monday night, May 9, showed their campaign was gathering pace.
They added that the night of deflating tyres was a response to the “deadly climate-change fuelled heatwave (affecting) billions of people across South Asia – something that will only continue to get worse”.
Large vehicles are damaging to the planet due to their greenhouse gas emissions and harmful air pollution, and are often less efficient than cars.
They feature off-road capabilities that are debatably necessary in an urban setting.
Marion Walker, a spokeswoman for the Tyre Extinguishers, said: “Unless a bobby is posted beside every SUV in the country 24 hours a day, we don’t expect anyone to be apprehended.
“Better to break the law than allow these killer vehicles to continue to be used on our streets.”
She said of Monday’s night of activism: “It’s exciting to see how fast the campaign is spreading. Anyone can join in where they are.
“We want to see SUVs put in the dustbin of history, and this is the fastest way to do it.”
The group also said activists targeted more than 30 SUVs in the Edinburgh suburb of Portobello on Sunday night.
A spokesperson for the Edinburgh activists said: “Edinburgh’s politicians have been elected with promises to take action on the climate crisis, on air pollution and on road safety.
“But their plans go nowhere near far enough. Our message to them is: Take real action, or we’ll take it for you.”
The group began their crusade on March 7, and encourage followers to deflate tyres by following instructions posted on their website.
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Activists can also print off leaflets to leave on the windscreen of vehicles to explain why their tyres are left deflated.
They said in a statement last month: “So far, the Tyre Extinguishers have disarmed nearly 2,000 SUVs in the UK, in Brighton, London, Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Bristol and Edinburgh, in repeated actions.
“Plans are being made to launch the Tyre Extinguishers leaflet in four other languages as interest grows internationally.”
Their international impact appears to be growing, with reports of vehicle tyres being deflated in Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, and the US states of Arizona and Colorado.
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The method the group encourages their followers to use is to force a small object, often a lentil, into the air valve of a tyre to hold it open until the wheel is flat.
Their controversial methods have been accused of endangering drivers as well as “disarming” hybrid and electric vehicles.
Inspector Nicky Stuart, of Brighton and Hove’s Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We understand the impact these crimes have on the community and I would like to reassure the public that our officers are working hard to catch those responsible.
“We are exploring several lines of enquiry, but as always the public are our eyes and ears. If you see anything suspicious, have relevant dashcam, doorbell or CCTV footage, or any information that could help, contact police online or by calling 101, quoting Operation Extinguisher.”