A NAKED student protested outside St Paul’s Cathedral against the use of bearskins for the Queen’s Guards’ ceremonial caps.

Ben Cook, 18, of Princes Close, Billericay, was one of 80 protesters who stripped off and daubed themelves in red paint They were demonstrating against continued use of the tall black caps worn by the Queen’s Guards who patrol outside Buckingham Palace.

Ben, who is studying media at Chelmsford College, was not at all embarrassed.

He said: “I was nervous as I’ve never gone naked in public, but as soon I took off my clothes I felt really relaxed.

“I think I must have been the youngest person there, but everyone was supportive.

“We were naked and painted the colour of blood to symbolise how the bears are skinned.

“It’s pointless killing bears, just to make soldiers’ hats.

“They kill at least one bear to make each of the hats.”

Many of the protestors, who gathered outside St Paul’s Cathedral, wore bear masks and held banners with the slogan: “1 cap = 1 bear, MoD: go fur-free.”

The demo was organised by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Spokesman Sam Glover said: “Many of the bears killed for the caps suffer greatly and are shot several times before they die.

“Some escape before eventually bleeding to death. When mother bears are killed, orphaned cubs are left behind to starve.”

A MOD spokesman said: “The MOD is not opposed to synthetic materials as an al-ternative to bearskins, provided such materials meet the requirement for a quality pro-duct that performs adequately in all weather conditions.

“Regrettably, a suitable alternative continues to prove elusive. “