Two animal rights activists have been cleared of intimidating police officers in relation to charges over protests at Norwich Livestock Market.

Gemma Barnes, 34, and Elenor Kenny, 19, have been on trial accused of following, filming and making a string of derogatory comments towards the officers, including accusing them of lying in court proceedings.

Norwich Crown Court has heard Sergeant Kelly Larkin and PC Dean Horgan were "bombarded with slurs, accusations and comments" with the "intention to intimidate".

Norwich Crown CourtNorwich Crown Court (Image: Peter Walsh, Newsquest) But on Friday, a jury took a little over four hours to find both defendants not guilty of the two counts they each faced of intimidating police officers.

It was alleged they had done so after each woman attended a hearing at Norwich Magistrates’ Court on May 23 last year in which they were both defendants.

Jurors were sent out to consider their verdicts at just after 10.30am and returned with not guilty verdicts at 2.46pm.

Giving evidence this week, Ms Barnes said it was "preposterous" she had tried to intimidate the officers after they came across them in the Queen Street area of the city, near Tombland, following the court hearing.

Gemma Barnes at a previous court hearingGemma Barnes at a previous court hearing (Image: Newsquest) Ms Barnes, who told the court she had been on her way to Norwich Market to buy some tofu for lunch, said she had only accompanied a friend they were with -  who has some mental health issues - and who had "wanted to raise some issues" with police.

She said she was "concerned" about her friend and "quite reluctantly followed" him.

Ms Barnes, previously of St Leonards Road, Norwich, said she set up her phone to record her friend as he approached the officers to help "supervise" him.

"I had no intention to intimidate - it's about accountability."

Also giving evidence this week, Ms Kenny said she was being "silly" and was "messing about" when she looked up details of PC Horgan on her phone as she waited to go into court.

Elenor Kenny leaving a previous court hearingElenor Kenny leaving a previous court hearing (Image: Newsquest) When asked if she had been trying to intimidate him, Ms Kenny, of Ashleigh Gardens, Wymondham, replied: "No, no definitely not."

She said: "Looking back, it was a silly thing to do. I was just messing about - that's all it was."