A farmer has rejected calls by environmental campaigners to destroy genetically modified crops planted on his land.

Pressure group Friends of the Earth demanded an end to two farm-scale trials being carried out at Glebe Farm, Hinton Waldrist, near Wantage. The crops of GM maize and oilseed rape have been sown as part of Government-backed trials to examine their impact on the environment.

Opponents are demanding an end to the trials though the farmer, Christopher Lewis, insists they are important.

More than 80 villagers packed Hinton Waldrist Village Hall to discuss the trials and a local action group has been set up calling for the crops to be destroyed.

But Mr Lewis said: "Since the meeting I have thought of nothing else other than the rights and wrongs of what I am doing. I have consulted numerous professionals and none of them has given me any reason to change my mind. However, it doesn't mean to say the door isn't still open.

"I have had phone calls from people from all walks of life saying 'don't give in to minority groups'. People argue GM crops haven't been tested for safety, but they cannot be tested unless they are first grown."

Anti-GM campaigners asked for permission from Mr Lewis to monitor the planting of seven hectares of herbicide-resistant oil seed rape, but accused the farmer of failing to keep his side of the bargain by giving activists only minutes' notice before the start of work.

FoE spokesman Jean Saunders, from Longcot, near Faringdon, said: "I am angry about the whole manner in which this trial has been conducted.

"Mr Lewis had kindly agreed to inform us when the rapeseed would be drilled in order that a small group of local people might observe proceedings.

"We wanted to make sure the planting was done in accordance with the scientific guidelines.

"However, he only told us seven minutes before planting was due to start. It is a reflection of his whole attitude towards those people with real concerns over the growing of GM crops. I don't think he had any intention of allowing us onto his land."

Mr Lewis, who volunteered to host the GM oilseed rape trial, after a farmer in the Scottish Highlands backed out, said: "I notified Mrs Saunders as I said I would, even though I had no responsibility to notify her. The plot was pegged out by independent scientists and I don't need someone looking over my shoulder."

A second public meeting will be held in Longworth Village Hall next Thursday.