Two men, including a church minister, are due to go on trial accused of trying to disarm a fighter jet destined for Saudi Arabia. Reverend Daniel Woodhouse, from Leeds, and fellow campaigner Sam Walton, a Quaker from west London, were charged with criminal damage after allegedly breaking into the BAE Systems site at Warton, Lancashire, on 29 January in order to sabotage the £69m Eurofighter Typhoon warplane.
The protesters said they hoped that disarming the fighter jet would "save innocent lives and prevent war crimes" as they believed it would be used by Saudi Arabia to target Yemeni civilians as part of the ongoing conflict in the country.
Campaign groups allege the UK has licensed more than £3.3bn worth of arms sales to Saudi Arabia since it began bombing Yemen in March 2015 despite a "growing body of evidence" to suggest the air strikes have been used to target civilians at schools, mosques and weddings.
Both men were charged with causing criminal damage of less than £5,000 to BAE's perimeter fence and causing criminal damage to a hangar door. They deny the allegations against them.
Speaking ahead of the trial, the defendants said they have "no regrets". Woodhouse said: "The fighter jets being made in Warton are being used to destroy Yemen. The atrocities being committed against the people of Yemen are being done with the full complicity of Downing Street. The real crimes here are the decisions of BAE Systems and the UK government to keep arming and supporting the brutal Saudi regime."
Walton added: "We took action on behalf of the people having their lives and homes destroyed by BAE fighter jets. We have no regrets, and would do the exact same thing again. Our consciences are clean, we acted to prevent crimes against humanity and will be using the trial to highlight BAE's role in the devastation of Yemen. If the government refuses to take action to stop war crimes then ordinary people must do all we can."
The trial at Burnley Magistrates Court is expected to last three days.