ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners' plans to take over a key University of Glasgow building in an protest against 'unethical' investments was scuppered - after they advertised their intentions in advance.

Glasgow University students gathered outside to protest over the establishment's involvement with the arms trade and potential 're-engagement' with fossil fuel investments.

The action, led by The Glasgow University Arms Divestment Coalition (GUADC) and Extinction Rebellion Glasgow University (XRGU) demanded that the educational institution divests in the arms trade within a timeframe of less than two years.

They are also concerned that a "pledge" to divest from fossil fuels by 2025 is not happening quickly enough and claim nearly £12m is still invested in fossil fuel industries.

They also claim that a policy review includes an option that they stop the divestment altogether.

"This cannot be allowed to happen," they said.

The university says they are "ahead of schedule".

But the group had announced that they had occupied the atrium of the court offices in the main building of the university before they had.

And by the time around 50 had attempted their takeover, university staff had acted quickly to lock them out.

They were left to launched their demonstrations in the East and West Quadrangles - outside.

The group are concerned about what they described as "deeply unethical investment practices" and attempts to "renege" on an over five-year long pledge to divest from the fossil fuel industry, "in spite of having declared a climate emergency".

The University of Glasgow was the first UK university to divest from fossil fuel companies in October 2014 in whas was described as a turning point for the British arm of the student-led global divestment movement.

After 12 months of campaigning, led by the Glasgow University Climate Action Society and involving over 1,300 students, the university court voted to begin divesting £18m from the fossil fuel industry and freeze new investments across its entire endowment of £128m.

And this was soon followed by major divestments after sustained campaigns at institutions including Warwick, Sheffield, King’s College London, Edinburgh and Durham.

A spokesperson for the University of Glasgow said: "We set out a timescale to achieve this and we are ahead of that schedule. A sub-committee has been set up to advise the University Court on defence-related investments and a decision will be made later this year.

"The student protest has been entirely peaceful. Senior management have previously met with student leaders to discuss divestment and offered to do so again today." A statement from the group claims the university still has an investment of over £3m in 27 arms manufacturers and military service providers. The university says it is a "small proportion" of overall investments.

"The coalition condemns these investments - the principle being it is completely immoral for any institution, particularly an educational institution which prides itself on facilitating ‘world changers’, to invest in companies that are directly responsible for global atrocities," the groups say.

They say that following a meeting with university officials, including Dr David Duncan, the university secretary, to make their demands.

And the groups said they thought it was "necessary to keep up the momentum of the campaign" through actions such as the failed court office occupation in order to keep the pressure on.

They want a full divestment from the arms trade, in adherence with the university's policy on socially responsible investment in less than two years.

They also want a pledge to "never again" invest in companies that have any links to the arms trade, and to pursue greater accountability of fund managers and internal investment decisions.

They also want a "comprehensive and immediate ban" of all arms companies from campus events and that the careers department and post-graduate schemes sever all ties with such firms.

A groups spokesman said: "We intended to occupy the atrium of the court offices in the main building. It seems they had been informed of our intentions and locked the doors, we thus protested outside for three hours.

"The feeling is that the message was put across successfully and it had come to its natural conclusion."