A gay couple has told a court in Derby of being ‘sickened’ by anti-gay protesters at a pride march in the city who claimed there was a genetic link between homosexuality and paedophilia.

Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court heard from the gay couples who had been passing and witnessed the anti-gay protest.

Four men have been charged with using threatening and abusive words or behaviour that could cause harassment, alarm or distress.

According to the Derby Telegraph, the men formed part of a group whose placards read “Homosexuality = Freedom Gone Too Far,” “Homosexuality = A Crime Against God” and “Islam is the Ultimate Truth”.

In CCTV footage, the group was seen chanting “Gays, gays, gays, we hope you die of Aids” as the parade progressed. Mr Ahmed was reportedly heard on a loudhailer saying there was a proven link between homosexuality and paedophilia.

Aaron Stephens, 43, told the court: “The phrase that I heard which sticks out in my mind is one that linked gay people to paedophilia.

“I was shocked, offended and sickened by it. I was surprised that the police, who had formed a cordon around the men, let this kind of chanting go on.”

The prosecuting lawyer said the defendants were part of a group of “around 30 protesters carrying placards with anti-homosexual comments on them”.

“As the parade passes each defendant makes homophobic comments such as ‘scum,’ ‘gays will go to hell’ and ‘we hope you die of Aids’.”

The charges have been denied by Kabir Ahmed, 28, of Madeley Street, Normanton, Amar Iqbal, 32, of Rosehill Street, Normanton, Jordan Tudge, 23, of Hawthorn Street, Osmaston, and Zied Zinnedine, 36, of Mount Crescent, Warsop, Nottinghamshire.

The trial continues.