A gay man in the US state of Virginia may be forced to remove his car licence plates because they spell out the word ‘poofter.’

David Phillips has had the plates for eleven years, and has complained that the word is only offensive to English people and Virginians would not understand its meaning.

According to the Washington Post, he first heard the word used by performer Boy George in a TV interview and liked it.

“It’s just an amusing word that I self-identify with,” he told the Post.

But the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles has ordered Mr Phillips to remove the poofter plates because they are offensive.

In April 2006 PinkNews.co.uk reported that a homophobic numberplate had been withdrawn by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) after complaints by a leading gay MP.

Chris Byrant felt that plate H8 GAY was offensive to gay people.