CLIMATE activists staked out Barclays branches in Trowbridge and Bath on Wednesday morning as part of a nationwide protest against the bank’s continued financing of fossil fuels.

The action was timed to take place during Barclay’s Annual General Meeting as protesters throughout the UK warned the bank that actions would continue until they ceased further investments fuelling climate breakdown.

Bradford on Avon environmental campaigner Chrissie Aslett said: “We want Barclays’ customers to know the dirty truth about their bank.

“They may not be aware but Barclays provides more money to finance fossil fuels than any other bank in Europe.

“Since the Paris Agreement in 2015 when we signed up to drastically reduce all climate warming activities, what have Barclays done? They’ve actually increased investment, by a whopping $145 billion (£104.2 billion).”

Last month, Extinction Rebellion members targeted the Barclays Bank headquarters in London's Canary Wharf, smashing glass in some of its windows.

At the time, a Barclays spokesperson said: “Extinction Rebellion are entitled to their view on capitalism and climate change, but we would ask that in expressing that view they stop short of behaviour which involves criminal damage to our facilities and puts people's safety at risk."

Local Extinction Rebellion activist Ros Pears said: “Barclays are directly responsible for the destruction of the living world by funding fracking, arctic oil and gas extraction and industrial animal agriculture.

“Our planet is in the midst of a major mass extinction event, the first of its kind caused by humans. Barclays is actively bankrolling this process. In 2019 alone Barclays financed activities linked to biodiversity risk to the tune of over £70 billion.”

Bath resident Sue Sidey said: “We also wanted to let people know how easy it is to compare and change banks. It’s a quick and easy process particularly if you use a site like www.switchit/money - they do all the work for you.”

Campaigner Jenny Ruskin warned Barclays: “We will use any non-violent, economic or political means necessary to ensure this is Barclays’ last AGM.

“We will target you, we will regulate you, we will prosecute you. We will force you to make reparations for the climate crisis and extractivism that you continue to enable around the world.”

She added: “It is deeply distressing that Barclays, Europe’s largest fossil fuel funders, have responded to the impending mass extinction so inadequately. Only their shareholders benefit from Barclays’ lack of ethics.

"While the world burns and millions lose their homes. Shameful behaviour!”

An Extinction Rebellion spokesperson said: “History will judge Barclays executives, directors and investors harshly for putting profit ahead of the safety and rights of humanity for this long. Today is a historic day. Today we announce that we will not wait for that bleak future.”