ACTIVISTS who put up makeshift road signs as part of a protest in Kendal have cost Cumbrian taxpayers £2,500.

Cumbria County Council revealed the figure after complaints of homemade road signs and chalked bike lanes being found on Aynam Road and Highgate.

Extinction Rebellion activists, who put up the signage as part of a ‘bike action’, have now been warned that legal action will follow any similar actions in the future.

A Cumbria County Council spokesman said: “The council received reports from residents that misleading and illegal road markings had been painted on the roads in Kendal town centre.

“Defacing a public highway with misleading signs and painted lines, is illegal and dangerous, not just for the perpetrator but for other road users and the highways team who have to fix it.

“The council’s highways team has now removed the signs and markings, diverting resources away from other highway work, at a cost of approximately £2,500 to the Cumbrian taxpayer.”

Cabinet member for highways and transport Keith Little said: “It was very disappointing to receive so many complaints about paint being put down on a public road.

"These signed were confusing to the public and were a risk to safety. There was no consultation before this happened and people first thought it was the council who had done this.

"We had to deploy four crews with specialist equipment to clean up the vandalism which took two days of work.

"If something like this happens again the council will be prepared to pursue legal action.”

A police spokesman said the incident was not being pursed further.

XR released a statement reading: “Any clean-up costs are dwarfed by the colossal costs from the climate impact if we don’t rapidly transform our transport system to enable us to cycle safely instead of using our cars.

“We’re disappointed that the council has spent £2,500 of taxpayers’ money spraying over a few washable bike stencils, which we could have washed off with water in a couple of hours.

"It was clear that drivers slowed down in the areas where the signs and bike stencils were, which made cyclists safer for the time they were there.

“We took great care to carry out the action safely, with our activists working in socially distanced pairs, on quiet roads during the early morning daylight.

"So many people have taken advantage of the quiet roads during lockdown to ditch their cars in favour of their bikes.”