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Shocking moment airport owner, 65, drags councillor by hair in tree felling row

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SHOCKING video has emerged of a councillor being dragged by the hair and lifted by the belt by a raging airport owner.

Chris Makin, 65, was ordered to pay £8,000 for assaulting Andrew Mason, 63, who said he feared he might be killed in the attack.

Airport owner Chris Makin is seen dragging local resident Andrew Mason by the hair

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Airport owner Chris Makin is seen dragging local resident Andrew Mason by the hairCredit: PA
Makin then tries to move Andrew from the path of a cherry-picker by the belt

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Makin then tries to move Andrew from the path of a cherry-picker by the beltCredit: PA
Andrew told Makin, 'Get off me!'

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Andrew told Makin, ‘Get off me!’Credit: PA
Andrew speaks to media outside Harrogate Magistrates Court in North Yorkshire on Thursday

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Andrew speaks to media outside Harrogate Magistrates Court in North Yorkshire on ThursdayCredit: PA

Footage showed Andrew sitting on a road in front of a tree-cutting cherry-picker before Makin grabbed him by the hair and attempted to drag him from the vehicle’s path.

Andrew managed to break free from Makin’s grip and shouted “get off me” as Chris pulled the councillor along the ground by the leg – then by the arm and then by the belt – but could not move him.

Makin retreated and appeared to urge the operator of the vehicle to “move it forwards” to where Andrew was on the road.

Andrew said feared he might be killed by the machinery.

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When the vehicle did not move forward, Makin approached Andrew once again and pushed him as Andrew said: “Get off me, you ignorant man. Get away from me.”

“The police are on the way, you lunatic.”

The video ended with Andrew still seated on the ground in front of the vehicle, leaning his back against a tyre.

Harrogate Magistrates Court heard on Thursday that Andrew had been walking to the village shop in Church Fenton, North Yorkshire for a volunteering shift on April 4 when he spotted Makin and some contractors working on trees on the boundary of Leeds East Airport.

Andrew was said to have been concerned that there were birds nesting in the trees, and told Makin he did not have consent to fell the trees or close the road.

The councillor “protested” the illegal tree felling by positioning himself in front of the cherry-picker.

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It was then that Makin launched his assault, dragging Andrew across the road by his hair and his belt, putting him in a headlock, breaking his glasses, and tearing his clothes, the court heard.

Andrew – who claimed he and Makin only knew each other “vaguely” prior to the incident – said he also suffered muscle damage.

The workmen were not involved in the violent altercation.

Andrew told the court Makin was “out of control”, adding: “This was a deep injustice that took place in a village that I love.

“I feared further brutalisation.”

Makin has owned the former RAF Church Fenton base since 2016 and believed he had “lawful justification” for crowning the trees under his responsibility to “make the airport a safe environment”, the court was told.

The airport owner said he had been tending to the trees ahead of a vintage airshow the site was hosting, in line with Civil Aviation Authority regulations.

His lawyer said he only closed the road because it was a “windy” day, and that the bird nests in the trees were empty.

Makin was “not a thug”, the lawyer said, but a man who “is used to getting jobs done and got a job done, but went about it in the wrong way”.

Makin, of Micklefield, was found guilty of assault by beating and was ordered to pay more than £8,000 in fines, costs, and compensation to Andrew.

The airport owner had no previous convictions and the court decided that he had “learned a lesson” by the loss of his good reputation.

Outside the court, Andrew said: “Justice has been done. Civil society broke down that day.

“Makin is now a convicted criminal and he has lost his good name.”

The airport owner said he had been tending to the trees ahead of a vintage airshow

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The airport owner said he had been tending to the trees ahead of a vintage airshowCredit: PA
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