Powdered paint used by activists to deface a national monument has been removed.

As previously reported, at around 11am on Wednesday, June 19 two supporters of the protest group Just Stop Oil approached the columns of Stonehenge before beginning to spray the iconic rocks at the ancient site near Salisbury with orange powdered paint.

Police attended the scene and arrested two people on suspicion of damaging the ancient monument.  

They have since been released on bail.

READ MORE: Just Stop Oil vandalise Stonehenge with orange paint

Just Stop Oil have taken responsibility for the incident which occurred just one day before thousands are expected to visit the site for the summer solstice.

English Heritage has since said the orange paint had been removed using a "specialist handheld blower".

Police in attendance after the paint was sprayed over the monument Police in attendance after the paint was sprayed over the monument (Image: Mark Verbinnen)

Wiltshire Police said that the two arrested following the incident at Stonehenge have been released on bail pending further enquiries. Specialist officers are examining the stones, with police adding that their enquiries are 'ongoing'.

SEE ALSO: Two people arrested on suspicion of damaging Stonehenge

A spokesperson for Wiltshire Police said: "A man in his 70s and a woman in her 20s were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, damaging an ancient monument and deterring a person from engaging in a lawful activity.

"It follows reports that an orange substance had been sprayed on some of the stones by two suspects.

"We also continue to work closely with English Heritage."

A statement from English Heritage said:  "English Heritage is deeply saddened by the vandalism at Stonehenge yesterday. The ancient stones are a testament to the desire of people – from prehistoric times to today – to connect with nature, the earth, the sun and the moon, as well as crucially, each other.

"We can’t understand why anyone who professes to care for the environment would attempt to harm such a monument and to distress people from all over the world, including those for whom Stonehenge holds a spiritual significance. 

"Our experts have already removed the orange powder from the stones. We moved quickly due to the risk that the powder would harm the important and rare lichens growing on the stones and that if the powder came into contact with water, it would leave difficult-to-remove streaks. 

"And while we are relieved that there appears to be no visible damage, the very act of removing the powder can – in itself – have a harmful impact by eroding the already fragile stone and damaging the lichens.

"English Heritage relies on our members, visitors and donors to help us bear the costs of cleaning up such vandalism. However, as a charity we would much rather be spending our limited funds – and time – on essential conservation work across the 400 castles, abbeys, houses, and stone circles in our care as well as sharing with everyone more of those sites’ stories.

"Stonehenge remained open yesterday and our annual Summer Solstice celebrations will go ahead as usual from 7pm this evening (Thursday, June 20 2024). We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone – whether it’s in person at the stones or online via our live stream – to what should be a joyous and peaceful celebration of the changing seasons and human ingenuity."

Chief executive of English Heritage Dr Nick Merriman OBE said: “Stonehenge is a unique place, one that has special meaning to many of us. Surely vandalising a landmark that celebrates the changing seasons, the importance of community, and sheer human ingenuity completely contradicts the protestors’ own principles.

“Thankfully, there appears to be no visible damage but that’s in no way saying there hasn’t been harm, from the very act of having to clean the stones to the distress caused to those for whom Stonehenge holds a spiritual significance.

“We are looking forward to welcoming people to our Summer Solstice celebrations at Stonehenge, whether that’s in person or online, for a joyous and peaceful occasion.”