XR activists dig up lawn outside Trinity College and dump the dirt in Barclays bank

Climate activists have dug up a lawn outside Trinity college in Cambridgeshire and dumped the dirt in a Barclays in the town centre.

Extinction Rebellion protesters claim that they dug up the “prized” lawn around Newton’s Apple Tree over its role in a major development in the Suffolk countryside.

The XR members took the action over what they say is "the destruction of nature" at Innocence Farm, in Trimley St Mary, which is part of plans for a logistics facility.

Extinction Rebellion protesters claim that they dug up the “prized” lawn around Newton’s Apple Tree over its role in a major development in the Suffolk countryside. (PA via AP)

The activists dug up the grass in front of the 16th-century "Great Gate", digging channels in the turf with shovels and pitchforks and planting Extinction Rebellion flags.

They then walked from Trinity College to the Barclays Bank on St Andrew's Street carrying the dirt in wheelbarrows before dumping it in the bank’s foyer, according to Cambridgeshire Live.

Images show the protesters lying down in the dirt.

A Trinity College spokesperson told Yahoo News: “Trinity College regrets the criminal damage done to its property beside Great Gate.

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"The College respects the right to freedom of speech and non-violent protest but draws the line at criminal damage and asked the protestors to leave. The College is liaising with the Police.

"Academics at Trinity are actively engaged in research to understand and develop solutions to climate change, and taking practical steps forward. The College fully supports the University initiative, Cambridge Zero.”

Activists, who also chained themselves to an apple tree on the college's front lawn, said they "were careful to ensure that the digging took place a safe distance from the tree so as not to cause any damage to it".

Derek Langley, a member of Extinction Rebellion Cambridge, told the BBC: "The idea that a rich institution like Trinity College, which tells the world it is serious about tackling this crisis, is looking for profit from environmental destruction is quite simply astonishing."

Trinity had ramped up security measures, closing the college, library and chapel to tourists for the week, so the protesters were not able to access the central "Great Court."

Tom Dorrington, a member of Extinction Rebellion Youth Cambridge, told the Cambridge Independent: “This greedy venture just shows that the college cares more about profit than it does about protecting the environment or even about providing homes for ordinary people to live in.

The college was founded after Henry VIII seized the monasteries and it is sickening to see that its history of theft continues into the 21st century.”