Pensioners have been told to take down their flags

A pair of Rangers-daft pensioners have been told to take down flags outside their homes - because they might be deemed offensive.

Duncan James, 70, and Joe Stirling, 74, from Troon, South Ayrshire, are next-door neighbours and have adorned the backs of their ground floor flats with Saltires, Union Flags and Rangers FC flags for around six years.

However, at the beginning of July, Joe was approached by a council warden who works at the sheltered housing area where they live, and warned him that the flags could offend people.

Days later, on July 10, the two friends received letters from South Ayrshire Council concerning 'flying of flags in council tenancies'.

The notice stated the flags could incite anti-social behaviour, cause potential vandalism to their homes or gardens, and that football flags or other flags may cause offence and complaints.

Former landscape gardener Joe, who has lived in his flat for nearly ten years, said he has never had any bother in the past about flying his flags and thought the council's response was "heavy-handed".

Grandfather-of-three Joe said: "Five or six years ago I just had the Lion Rampant and the Saltire up and nobody said nothing.

"Then two to three weeks ago a woman came by and said 'you can't have those flags there in case it offends people'.

"She said even the Lion Rampant and the Saltire are offensive."I said 'it's just a flag, I couldn't care less'.

"Then about a week or so later we received letters."The letter was very abrupt, somebody should've came out and told us.

"It's my backdoor, same as Duncan's, so if there's two flags here who can see them, you can't see them from the front - you have to go out of your way to see them.

"I stayed in England for a while and they had St George's Cross flags everywhere. I'm quite surprised about the letters coming through. I think it's quite heavy-handed.

"Widower Duncan, a former coal miner, has lived in his flat for nine years and was and was also left baffled by the council notice. He has a Rangers flag flying outside his back door from a flagpole has a Rangers crest on his garden gate.

Grandfather-of-four Duncan said: "Who would do this?"It's either a neighbour or a warden, but we don't know. I'm very surprised we've been asked to take them down.

"It's the only thing we have left to enjoy is our football - it's terrible."

Joe added: "What's the point in selling flags if you can't fly them?"I was going to put a flag up of Mickey Mouse but I think Donald Duck will be offended."

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