The girlfriend of a German climate change protester who was jailed for climbing the Dartford Crossing has launched a petition to stop him from being deported after he is released.

Marcus Decker, 34, was jailed for two years and seven months after causing 40 hours of gridlock on the Dartford Bridge by climbing 275ft up the Queen Elizabeth bridge.

Decker now faces deportation back to Germany following the completion of his sentence.

Any foreign national is normally automatically deported if they have been sentenced to more than 12 months in prison.

Decker's girlfriend, Holly Cullen-Davis, has pleaded with the Home Office to allow him to remain in the UK, calling the prospect of deportation a "double punishment" for him and their family.

Decker found guilty of causing public nuisance along with fellow Just Stop Oil protester Morgan Trowland, 40, who was also jailed for three years.

The protest saw Decker and Trowland spend 37 hours sleeping in hammocks on the bridge until October 18, 2022.

Decker’s girlfriend, Ms Cullen-Davis, has launched a petition on in a public appeal for signatures to save him from being deported to Germany after his sentence - the petition currently has 35,834 signatures.

Ms Cullen-Davis explained that he had become a devoted stepfather to her two children since they met three years ago.

She describes him as a “passionate singer and climate activist” who lives “the most modest life possible”.

Just Stop Oil wants the government to halt new licences for the exploration of oil and other fossil fuels in the UK.

It describes itself as "a coalition of groups working together to ensure the government commits to halting new fossil fuel licensing and production".

The government plans to license more than 100 new oil and gas projects by 2025.

Marcus said in a statement on the Just Stop Oil website: “I’m devastated and very sad. I accepted a prison sentence as a consequence of my actions, but to lose my family, home, community and the adopted country that I have come to love feels like a double punishment.

“I know that Holly is devastated too. I stayed in this country because I fell in love with her and we have already been separated for 7 months while I’ve been in prison. Now there’s a high chance I will never go home to her and my family again.”

Marcus’ partner, Holly said: “This is the worst thing that has happened so far. It’s pointless and unnecessary. My children and I were managing to come to terms with his prison sentence. But now it feels like the authorities are trying to completely tear our family apart forever.

“Everyone out there just sees the disruptive activist. But this is the man that I love, a wonderful step-parent who sings the children to sleep at night, a lovely human being who puts those suffering first and never himself.

“He put his own liberty and body on the line for those suffering from the climate crisis right now and was prepared to accept a prison sentence for doing so. To try to stop him coming home to us ever again is so cruel.”

Essex Police said that those impacted by the traffic disruption included a “heavily pregnant woman who needed urgent medical help”.

Another person missed the funeral of their best friend of 35 years, the force said, and a business lost more than £160,000 in earnings.