TWO veteran peace campaigners have been banned by a court from taking part in a protest against war on Iraq and the presence of a US "spy" base in North Yorkshire.

The US communications station at Menwith Hill, near Harrogate, is to be targeted by peace activists from all over Britain next Saturday, and Sylvia Boyes, 59, and Olivia Agate, a 62-year-old grandmother, intended to be there.

But the pair were arrested at the base last month after a security fence was cut and daubed with red paint. They have been charged with criminal damage and bailed to appear before Harrogate magistrates, on March 31.

Ms Boyes, of Winbourne Drive, Keighley and Ms Agate, from Hallams Yard, Skipton, were in the same court yesterday seeking to persuade magistrates to lift a bail condition.

It insists they do not go within 50 metres of Ministry of Defence land at Menwith Hill, which they say effectively bans them from being part of the demonstration, organised by Neighbourhoods Opposing War, with support from the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases, and CND.

Ms Boyes told the court they wanted the sanction lifted for one day so they could be part of a peaceful public protest "against something that is wrong and which we feel very strongly about".

Peter Scott, for the Crown Prosecution Service, opposed the lifting of a condition imposed initially by the police and reinforced twice by courts.

Court chairman Bernadette Reid refused to lift the bail condition.

"Your ability to demonstrate peacefully will not be impaired by the present restrictions," she said.