Four people have been charged with criminal damage after the toppling of a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in the English city of Bristol earlier this year.

Rhian Graham, 29, Milo Ponsford, 25, Jake Skuse, 32, and Sage Willoughby, 21, will appear before Bristol Magistrates' Court on 25 January next for their first hearing, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

The bronze memorial to the 17th century slave merchant was pulled down during a Black Lives Matter protest on 7 June, before being dumped in Bristol Harbour.

It was later recovered from the water by Bristol City Council and assessed to have suffered £3,750 (€4,160) worth of damage.

No arrests were made at the time but Avon and Somerset Police launched an investigation.

The CPS said that it had authorised charges following a review of a file of evidence from the force.

A spokesman said: "The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against all four are now active and that they have the right to a fair trial.

"It is extremely important there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings."