ENVIRONMENTALLY conscious campaigners covered banking branches in ‘crime scene’ tape to highlight the industry’s “destructive” role in the climate crisis.

Extinction Rebellion Colchester is part of a global movement which launched two years ago to coerce Governments into acting and passing legislation to help prevent ecological collapse.

On Bank Holiday Monday, the town’s protest group targeted local banks in both Colchester and Clacton, demanding they stop financing the production of fossil fuels.

According to NGO BankTrack, for example, since the Paris agreement was signed in 2016, UK banks have poured nearly £150 billion into the fossil fuel industry, of which £13 billion was invested in controversial fracking.

Using ‘crime scene’ tape to get their point across, the impassioned activists blocked the doorways to the likes of Barclays, Santander, and HSBC, branding the areas as ‘Climate and Ecological Crime Scenes'.

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They also stuck notes to the front doors and windows of the buildings, warning banking bosses to keep their establishments closed until they can dissociate themselves with the coal, oil, and gas sectors.

Rosie Dodds, an activist from Colchester who took part in the thought-provoking demonstrations, said the banking industry's consistent funding of fossil fuels is a matter of urgency which needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

"We need banks to stop funding fossil fuels and fast," she said.

“It’s totally irresponsible to keep investing in oil, coal and gas when the planet is overheating.

“We have to leave them in the ground, cut energy use and invest in renewables.

“Anyone can help encourage this by moving their money to more ethical banks.”

A spokesman for Extinction Rebellion Colchester also put pressure on the industry, urging top banking professionals to help make the planet a safer place with a cleaner environment.

They said: "Extinction Rebellion demands we tell the truth about climate breakdown and let people know who is financing continued exploitation of the planet and encourage them to think about where their money is invested.

"Investment in new fossil fuel extraction, infrastructure, and power, flies in the face of the clear and urgent need for a rapid decline in the use of fossil fuels.

"Banks need to drop their support for dirty energy, investing instead in renewable energy, insulation of buildings and other ways to reduce carbon emissions to prevent imminent planetary collapse from man-made climate change."

The Gazette has contacted several banks for comment.