THE costs of policing the continuing fracking protests in North Yorkshire have soared, new figures reveal.

Last month the cost leapt by more than twice the previous period - taking the total so far to more than £414,000.

And although the North Yorkshire force has the contingency funds to deal with the bills at the moment contact has been made with the Government to try and get some of the money back if necessary.

In August, when the protests began, the policing cost was £80,238 and the figure rose to £101,476 for September. However the costs for October jumped to £233,704.

The figures include overtime, mutual aid, equipment, subsistence and travel-related costs. It does not include the cost of those officers that are assigned to policing the site on a day-to-day basis.

The county's police and crime commissioner Julia Mulligan said: “The costs incurred during October were considerably higher than the previous month and this is due to a number of factors, including a rise in the number of officers needed when protest activity increased and, on a number of occasions, support from other police forces in the form of mutual aid."

She added:"At the moment we have the necessary contingencies and budgets in place to deal with events such as this in the short term.

"However, if the costs go beyond one per cent - or £1.4m - of our total budget, I have this week received a positive response from the Policing Minister to my letter stating that I have the option to seek a partial recovery of costs."

During October, a total of 40 people were arrested in connection with protest activity, of whom 35 were charged, cautioned, or remain under investigation. In September, 26 people were arrested, of whom 24 were charged or cautioned.

Superintendent Alisdair Dey said: “As well as facilitating people’s right to assemble and protest peacefully, part of our role is to keep disruption to local residents and businesses to a minimum.

"We are responding proportionately to any protest activity, which means at times there is an increase in the number of police officers in Kirby Misperton as we work to keep everyone safe.

“When protests are safe and peaceful, we are able to scale down our resources at Kirby Misperton, and redeploy those officers on other duties, such as high-visibility patrols and neighbourhood policing elsewhere in North Yorkshire.”

Police have also thanked residents of Kirby Misperton and nearby villages for their "support, patience and understanding" throughout the policing operation durign the protests.