A series of banners protesting against the creation of 10,000 home garden community were mistakenly taken down by Braintree Council.

Banners opposing the new town to the east of Braintree at Andrewsfield Airfield have been regularly erected by campaigners over the past year.

However each time they were put up, the banners disappeared, leaving campaigners puzzled as to who would remove them from what they insist was private land each time.

Now it has been revealed the displays were taken down by Braintree Council, who mistakenly thought they were there.

Colin Davidson, a resident of Great Saling, said: “The council has now admitted that as the banners were on private and common land no action should have been taken.

“It will be returning the banners to Great Saling although we will have to re-erect them.

“Why they did not communicate with the parish council before action was taken beggars belief.

“It would seem they had a complaint from one of our residents and acted without checking.”

Mr Davidson is part of a group of residents who came together and paid for the banners out of their own pockets, and the campaigner said he wanted other groups to be wary of similar things taking place.

A BDC spokesperson said: “Our Street Scene Team removed these banners as they were believed to be on the public highway without advertising consent. Our officers have retained the posters which have been returned.”