Climate activists have been vandalising branches of Barclays bank across the country today - by smashing windows and smearing them in black paint.

Extinction Rebellion groups struck simultaneously in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in protest at the bank's funding of fossil fuel industries.

The protest includes Cardiff city centre where climate activists chained themselves together inside a bank.

Eco-protesters said the bank was facing 'the biggest ever day' of climate protests as hundreds of people took action at more than 100 Barclays branches.

One activist smeared the front of Barclays in Chancery Lane, City of London, in black paint - one of 45 branches targeted across the capital.

Others struck on Birmingham's High Street where the words ‘Europe’s biggest fossil fuel funder’ was spray-painted on the facade of the building.

In Glasgow, the windows at the company's new offices were smashed at around 8am
while other branches were targeted in Newcastle and Plymouth.

The protest group say the demonstration is part of a UK-wide campaign to cause major disruption to the bank and will also feature 'die-ins' and street theatre performances.

Extinction Rebellion co-founder Gail Bradbrook, said: “Today hundreds of people staged an intervention on Barclays, sending a message to the high street bank that with protests taking place at over 100 of their branches they are rapidly losing the social licence to do business in towns and cities of the UK.

“It’s high time that Barclays recognised the destructive role they are playing as Europe’s largest financier of fossil fuels and changed course.

“We want Barclays to stop funding nature destroying projects and more than that we want them to show leadership.

"We ask them to publicly denounce an economic system that is geared towards the destruction of the planet, we want them to admit in public what bankers tell us in private – that they aren’t changing fast enough because the current system incentivises harmful behaviour.”

In Birmingham, one onlooker Sam Caswell, 33, a shop worker, from West Bromwich, said: "Vandalising businesses is not a way to get people on side.

"You can't argue against their cause but the way they are going about it just puts you off these people. It doesn't sit right with me."

But student Rhiannon Chapman, 24, of Ladywood, Birmingham, added: "Good on them, people need to stand up, listen and act. The paint will wash off."