A unique golden clock which was unveiled at Cambridge University by Professor Stephen Hawking was defaced in a protest against climate change.
The words ‘wake up to climate change’ were scrawled across the famous Corpus Clock by a group of around 15 student activists on Wednesday.
The 4ft-wide sculpture, which cost £1m, has previously been dubbed the strangest clock in the world as it has no hands or numbers.
Instead it features a giant grasshopper and has 60 slits cut into its face which light up to show the time.
But protestors fled 'pretty sharpish' after vandalising the monument with orange and black paint, attracting attention from passers-by on Cambridge's King's Parade.
Tour guide Samuel Bols witnessed the protest and the clock being defaced and said: "There was a protest going on about climate change. There were about 15 of them in total.
"They had been there a while when one of them spray painted the big golden clock outside Corpus Christi.
"They left pretty sharpish after that. I didn’t really know what to think when I saw it. It’s certainly one way to get people’s attention."
The clock, which was unveiled in 2008 by Stephen Hawking, was voted one of Time Magazine’s best inventions in the same year after being created by inventor John Taylor who said he "wanted to make timekeeping interesting".
Mr Bols said staff from the college have since wiped the glass in front of the clock clean, as the paint was still wet when they arrived.
Cambridge Zero Carbon Society said the protest was part of the People & Planet National Day of Action.
The group staged a "series of coordinated actions calling for Cambridge University to divest from fossil fuels."
They also staged a 'die-in' inside the Old Schools, the main administrative centre of the university.
A spokesperson for Cambridge Zero Carbon said: “The message we sent today is clear: time is running out for Cambridge. The university must act now to put an end to its complicity in climate breakdown.
"We will not allow Cambridge to continue funding companies engaged in the destruction of the planet and the devastation of the lives of marginalised communities across the globe.”
The act comes as other protests are going on around the country this week against the Government’s alleged lack of action on climate change, including mass protesting shutting down London’s main bridges over the weekend.