CAMPAIGNERS staged a protest outside a bank to challenge its climate change policies.

The activists from Extinction Rebellion put up a banner outside the North Street Barclays branch in Brighton city centre this lunchtime.

They are critical of the bank, which they claim invests billions of pounds into the fossil fuel industry, at a time when scientists have called for coal, oil and gas to be left in the ground.

But Barclays says it recognises climate change as a great challenge the world faces, and said it is determined to support a “transition to a low carbon economy”.

Protesters set up a coconut shy with tins depicting coal and oil to be knocked over, and set up stocks for “dirty” bankers to be pilloried with wet sponges.

Meanwhile they also engaged in a “tug of war” between themselves and three people representing “greed”, “money”, and “profit”.

Campaigners from the Momentum and the Labour Party also joined the protest along with other climate change activists.

Among the organisers was hospital worker Paul Jones, of Western Road, who agreed to act as one of the bankers to be pelted with wet sponges.

Speaking to The Argus he said the Extinction Rebellion group in Brighton and Hove has already attracted hundreds of members and wide support in the city.

He said: “We are demanding that banks stop investing in fossil fuels. Around the world the effects of climate change are already catastrophic. A climate crisis is happening now. It is not just up to individual people’s actions to fight climate change. We have to talk to the people with power, the governments, banks and businesses.”

In a statement Barclays said: “We recognise that climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the world today.

"We are determined to do all we can to support the transition to a low carbon economy, while also ensuring that global energy needs continue to be met.

“Our Energy and Climate Change statement published in January this year clearly sets out our approach to carbon intensive energy sectors, and reflects our commitments as a transatlantic bank.

“We continue to develop our green products suite and last year we facilitated £27.3 billion in social and environmental financing across our business including green bonds and renewable financing.”