HUNDREDS protested outside Barnsley Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

The unrest echoed poll tax protests more than 20 years ago after hundreds were summonsed to the court for not paying their council tax.

Around 200 people ordered to attend waited in a queue stretching the length of the court building and down the steps outside.

As they waited, protesters chanted 'smash the bedroom tax' and waved placards.

The protesters were asked to move on by the court's security staff, but refused, and police were called, although they left soon afterwards.

Many of those waiting were summonsed for failing to pay after cuts to benefits, which meant they had to make a contribution to council tax for the first time.

Only about 12 appeared in front of a magistrate and their cases were adjourned until July, after insisting they wanted their case to be heard. The rest were dealt with by Barnsley Council officials in the court waiting room.

Fran Postlethwaite, of Barnsley Against Bedroom Tax, helped organise the demonstration.

She said in many cases those in arrears with council tax were also behind with rent payments because of the so-called 'bedroom tax'.