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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 January 2006, 15:02 GMT
Police take Brother 'gorilla' fur
Pete Burns arrives at the Big brother house
Singer Pete Burns has said he supports wearing animal furs
Police have seized a "gorilla coat" belonging to Celebrity Big Brother contestant Pete Burns.

Officers from the Hertfordshire Constabulary took the coat from the Big Brother house on Thursday after a number of complaints from viewers.

A spokeswoman for the force said: "The coat will now be tested."

Last week a government minister warned Burns could face jail for wearing a gorilla fur. Owning a gorilla skin without a permit is illegal in the UK.

'Number of complaints'

Burns said the coat was made from gorilla fur when he entered the Big Brother house at the start of the series in early January.

The police spokeswoman added: "Following a number of complaints from members of the public regarding a coat taken into the Big Brother house by Pete Burns, the coat in question has been handed across to police officers from Herts Constabulary."

A spokesman for the Channel 4 programme confirmed the fur had been taken.

"We have passed the coat to police for investigation. Pete is aware of the situation." he said.

Animal rights group People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) welcomed the police action.

"We have been encouraging our supporters to vote Pete Burns out of the house at every opportunity," a spokeswoman said.

"Whether it's a gorilla coat, a mink coat or a fox coat, all animals suffer equally at the hands of the fur trade."

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