A Norwich city councillor and another woman have gone on trial accused of causing criminal damage when they smashed the windows of a bank in a climate change protest.

Green councillor for Mancroft ward Amanda Fox, 52 and Jennifer Parkhouse, 71, deny causing criminal damage to Barclays' branch on St James Court, Norwich, on April 13, 2021.

As the case got under way at King's Lynn Crown Court on Wednesday, the jury of eight women and four men heard Fox, of Kilderkin Way, Norwich and Parkhouse, of Vale Green in the city, had entered not guilty pleas.

John Fairhead, prosecuting, said the defendants had damaged doors and windows belonging to Barclays.

He said Fox and Parkhouse accepted that they had caused the damage but argued that they had a lawful excuse.

Mr Fairhead said EDP journalist Sarah Burgess had received an email on Monday, April 12 and a text message at 6.30am the following morning telling her that there would be a protest at Barclays Bank at 7am.

He said when she arrived at the bank, she saw two women approach the building. 

In a statement, Miss Burgess said one smashed a window with a hammer, the other used what appeared to be a pickaxe to smash a door.

Miss Burgess, who took pictures during the protest, said the women then sat down with Extinction Rebellion placards before police arrived and arrested them.

Taking to the witness stand, Fox said she worked as a homeless advisor and was elected to the city council in May.

She said she became involved with Extinction Rebellion in 2019 after becoming horrified at the scale of the climate crisis.

She said Barclays Bank had continued to invest billions in fossil fuels despite "unequivocal" evidence that burning them led to the carbon emissions which caused global warming.

She said she had taken part in previous protests against Barclays and had undergone non-violent direct action training.

A group of around 20 Extinction Rebellion protestors held up placards outside the court before the case got under way on Wednesday.

The trial before Judge Farrell KC continues.