DEMONSTRATORS have dressed up as superheroes and locked themselves on to gates at the front of a proposed fracking site in a bid to protect endangered bats.

The Anti-frackers have also taken to lying in the road this morning as protesters try and stop Third Energy lorries moving into the site at Kirby Misperton for a second week.

People angry at plans to use the well as a potential fracking site say the drilling work will disrupt the presence of bats in the area and have inserted their arms into concrete barrels to attach themselves to gates.

Police say they have spoken to the four people involved and have been told they would be lying in the road for 24 hours, or ‘as long as it takes’. 

One of the Bat Girls, known as Bex, said: "We have taken this action because bats are a protected species under UK law.

"We're worried that Third Energy will just carry on working despite the presence of these protected species and that this will cause them to be injured or killed. 

"It could also destroy their habitats, endangering their longer term survival.

"Third Energy have so far refused to do the responsible thing and stop work, so we have been left with no choice but to take this action to protect our bats."

The protesters will have to be cut out of the barrels in a process which could take several hours.

Superintendent Alisdair Dey, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “Our core tactic is to engage with people on all sides of the issue, and ask them to work with us to make this a safe and peaceful protest.

“However, once the balance has tipped from peaceful protest to deliberate acts that are unlawful and cause unreasonable disruption to others, including companies going about their lawful business, then we need to take action.

“Whilst we would always wish to negotiate, specialist police teams are on site assessing the situation.”

Habton Road remains open, but drivers can expect delays.