TWENTY-five environmental protesters who squatted at Didcot power station were yesterday fined almost £5,000 - but said it was worth it.

The Greenpeace campaigners, including 27-year-old Paul Mellett of Oxford, all pleaded guilty to aggravated trespass in relation to the two-day demonstration last November.

They occupied part of the power station and painted 'Blair's Legacy' down the main 650ft stack before surrendering to police.

Didcot magistrates ordered them to pay between £100 and £300 each - a total of £4,850, plus £300 costs.

The demonstration cost RWE npower an estimated £690,000 by disrupting power generation at the coal-fired Didcot A part of the plant.

RWE npower is considering civil action to recover its costs.

Despite pleading guilty, Greenpeace director Blake Harwood read out a statement in court defending his actions as "reasonable".

He said: "I don't believe I will ever have to apologise to my children and my grandchildren for my actions."

One group of campaigners climbed to the top of the chimney, while a second group climbed on to a coal conveyor belt system, 60ft above the ground, after switching off the machinery.

Oxford resident Paul Mellett, of Southview, Binsey, said that he thought it was worth getting a criminal conviction to spread Green- peace's message about energy wastage. The solar panel fitter said: "Two-thirds of the power generated at Didcot is wasted. We've only got ten years to turn this thing around. It will be catastrophic if we don't."

Leon Flexman, of RWE npower, said of the court case: "It isn't something that gives me any pleasure. We support Greenpeace's right to have a point of view but what they did was dangerous."

Those convicted were: Emily Armistead, 31, of London, Mark Bateman, 50, Liverpool, Stephen Baker, 60, London, Richard Carlson, 35, London, Richard Claxton, 40, Pocklington, Yorkshire, Nicholas Cobbing, 39, London, Keith Dawson, 34, Stamford, Lincolnshire, Katherine Davison, 36, Surbiton, Fabrizio Grassi, 31, London, Blake Harwood, 44, London, Simon Hackin, 41, Edinburgh, Lisa Kamphausen, 23, Edinburgh, Oliver Knowles, 31, London, Jens Loewe, 38, London, Paul Mellett, 27, Oxford, Janet Miller, 51, Buxton, Abigail Pound, 27, Manchester, Shaun Qureshi, 35, Essex, Darren Shirley, 26, Basingstoke, Ben Stewart, 33, London, Rebecca Sumner, 32, Stoke Newington, Christopher Suttie, 32, London, Andrew Taylor, 37, Stroud, Gloucestershire, Jacqueline Westwood, 49, Swinton, Huw Williams, 39, Nottingham.