A GAY friendly pub has been forced to take down rainbow pride flags after complaints from villagers.

The Lion, in The Street, Ardleigh, was displaying three rainbow flags at the front of the grade II listed property.

But Tendring Council enforcement chiefs have ordered them to be removed after the parish council complained.

Rules state that only one national flag can be flown without permission and the gay pride display was against advertising regulations.

Landlord, Stephen Culham, has slammed the decision and said he would not have had complaints if he was flying Union Jacks.

He added: “I have run my business in the village, for the village and they have given me two fingers up.

“My policy is we don’t care who you are or who you sleep with. We welcome everyone.

“As a proud gay man I have taken enormous offence at this.”

Mr Culham, 34, has since made the flags into curtains displayed in the pub’s window.