A hotel owner in Hampshire has been condemned by a local council for declaring: “Poofters welcome here.”

Mike Sacqui, owner of the Penny Farthing Hotel, in Lyndhurst, put the message on an A board outside.

Several councillors at a council meeting last week said they were “offended” by the sign and chairman Mark Rolle said: “We could be branded a village of bigots.”

Other councillors argued that the hotel was listed as gay-friendly and the sign was a light-hearted joke.

Mr Sacqui, who received a visit from police over the A board, often writes topical messages on it.

Last month, a gay couple won £3,600 in damages after a bed and breakfast denied them a room.

Mr Sacqui told the Southern Daily Echo: “This is a just a storm in a teacup and the parish council has overreacted.

“I’ve been writing fun, comical messages on the A-board for the last ten years and no harm is meant by them.

“We have a small minded parish council who have their knickers in a twist and I just want to get on running a business.

“This is the political correctness culture gone mad. The latest message is not homophobic, we welcome gays, lesbians or whoever.”