A Christian prison gardener who told gay people to ‘repent’ has lost his legal challenge – after claiming he was unfairly persecuted for his faith.

The row began when the gardener at HMP Littlehey in Bedfordshire, Barry Trayhorn, began helping with chapel services due to his work as a Pentecostal minister.

However during a chapel service in 2014, he told the “sexually immoral” and “men who have sex with men” that they must abandon their sins to “inherit the kingdom of God”.

Following complaints, Trayhorn was banned from taking part in future services and told to stick to his gardening duties – though he claims he was just “sharing the Bible”.

In November 2014, Trayhorn resigned – claiming that he was being ‘harassed’ due to his Christian faith, while facing other questions about his conduct as a gardener.

He subsequently took up legal action with the help of Christian charities, claiming that he was simply spreading “God’s word” and that he was being persecuted because of his views about “homosexual behaviour”.

Today, a tribunal rejected his claim of unfair dismissal, after hearing the case in November last year.

The case has attracted some attention due to a related row – after BBC radio presenter Iain Lee branded anti-LGBT Christian campaigners “bigots” during an on-air discussion of the issue.

Though Lee was cleared of all wrongdoing by broadcast regulator Ofcom, the BBC Trust decided to conduct its own investigation and found he had made ‘serious breaches’.

The presenter now has a show on commercial station talkRADIO.