Protesters took to potties over the River Thames this weekend, in a stunt designed to highlight the issue of sewage being discharged into British waterways.

Activists from Extinction Rebellion converged on the Christchurch Bridge in Reading on June 15.

They staged an open-air 'sit-in' on toilets transported to the footbridge especially for the occasion.

The protesters brought along their own mocked-up reading material - including a copy of the 'Faecal Times' - and other colourful props.

The bridge lies close to the head offices of Thames Water, one of the firms Extinction Rebellion is targeting as part of its 'Don't Pay for Dirty Water' campaign.

The group contends that water companies are allowing dangerous levels of sewage to seep into UK rivers.

A spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion, Anne Coffey, said: "Despite lashing rain squalls and strong winds, campaigners were out to remind people of the dreadful state of the River Thames.

"People in a triathlon fell sick last week after swimming in the Thames and the BBC uncovered over 6,000 possible illegal sewage spills by water companies in one year, even during a heatwave."

A spokesperson for Thames Water said: "While all discharges are unacceptable, the sewage system was historically designed to work in this way, to prevent sewage backing up into people’s homes.

"We have published plans to upgrade 250 of our sites across the region. More investment is needed across the entire sector, as infrastructure ages and demand on it increases."