Page last updated at 13:57 GMT, Friday, 21 May 2010 14:57 UK

England flag police crackdown rumour 'nonsense'

England football fans
Rumours of a ban on England flags and shirts have been circulating

A police force has described Facebook rumours of a pub ban on England flags during the World Cup as "nonsense".

The force also moved to quash an "urban myth" claiming pub landlords had been asked not to serve anyone wearing England football shirts.

The rumours started after the Metropolitan Police issued advice to pubs in Croydon suggesting "dress code restrictions - eg, no football shirts".

The advice sparked newspaper stories, and Facebook protest groups.

It is nonsense. Police officers are football fans too
Insp Howard Lewis-Jones

Insp Howard Lewis-Jones, of West Midlands Police, said there had been no directive stating that pubs should not bear flags.

He said: "It is nonsense. Police officers are football fans too and patriotism should be an important part of enjoying the tournament in a fun and friendly atmosphere as long as people are sensible."

The Metropolitan Police says the advice, issued in March, was never meant to be seen as a ban on England flags or shirts.

A spokesman said: "This letter contains a series of suggestions to make pubs safer for everyone.

"However, licensees are not obliged to follow our advice and there is no policy to stop the wearing of England shirts."

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