CHRISTIAN activists who were convicted for obstructing the highway into one of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) sites have all been acquitted.

The group made up of five peace campaigners, were all part of the group Put Down the Sword joined other activists from the Trident Ploughshares in June 2016, in attempting to stop the building of new Trident nuclear missiles replacing old stock.

Protestors were arrested after successfully blocking all vehicle access to the Burghfield site, and appeared at Reading Magistrates Court when the judge rejected the argument that blocking Trident counted as prevention of crime when considering a previous case.

However, the convictions have now been quashed after a High Court ruling said that “the prosecution failed to establish by evidence before the District Judge in the course of that single hearing where the boundary lay.”

Angie Zelter of Trident Ploughshares said “Trident Ploughshares’ actions have always been within the law. It is a crime to threaten mass destruction and this treaty strengthens pressure on the UK government to finally obey international law.”

After being acquitted a joint statement from the defendants was released.

The statement said: “We stand by what we said in court: Trident is an illegal and immoral waste of money, a crime against humanity and God. The prosecution said we could just have joined in a prayer vigil to the side of the road, instead of lying in it; we said our consciences wouldn’t allow that.

“We believe prayer is important but sometimes our faith compels us to put our whole bodies in the way of injustice and violence.

The Bible says religious acts are meaningless unless we also stand up for the poor and needy; we are called to bring a just peace with hope for all.

“We will continue to seek peace, and to take the consequences of doing so. We welcome the verdict today, but whatever the courts say, we will continue to oppose the evil of nuclear weapons.”