Three climate change protesters who blockaded a tunnel to Heathrow Airport told getwestlondon although they are expected to plead guilty , they would like to think "climate defence is not a criminal offence".

In a statement made outside Uxbridge Magistrates Court, defendants Esme Waldron, 23, Alistair Cannell, 26 and William Pettifer, 27, spoke out about their decision, despite previously denying the offence.

Supporters of the group surrounded the trio with banners and anti third runway placards as they entered the court room.

William Pettifer, who lives in Somerset, explained why the trio had a change of heart.

He said: "We felt that, regardless of pleas, we were going to lose.

"Pleading guilty seemed the most sensible option.

"We like to think that climate defence is not a criminal offence".

Speaking ahead of the sentencing hearing, he said: "I'm interested to see what will be said, we're expecting a fine."