A MALVERN group which has campaigned to bring Syrian refugees to the town was forced to take down an exhibition in the town's library promoting its work because of the EU referendum.

Malvern Welcomes Syrian Refugees had created the display in the library off Graham Road to coincide with Refugee Week. It went on show on Monday, and was expected top remain there until Saturday.

But on Tuesday, the group was told by Worcestershire County Council's libraries department that it would have to come down until voting on the EU referendum had finished, due to so-called 'purdah' rules which come into effect in the run-up to a vote.

Julian Roskams of the group said: "We agreed the display two months ago. Then yesterday [Tuesday] we were approached by library staff and told told we had to pack up right away and move the display out, Which we did.

"Had we known this would be the approach of the library, we would have arranged for the display to happen elsewhere. By forcing us to take down the display, the council has in effect made a political decision that the refugee crisis is related to the EU referendum - which is a very controversial and partial position."

He said that the group will be permitted to reinstate the exhibition on Friday, but that was hardly satisfactory.

"It's all about the week - refugee week - which is recognised around the world, in which we wanted to play our part. And it's something we had been planning for months," he said. "To lose three days of that week is very frustrating."

A county council spokesman said: "The display has been temporarily removed due to purdah rules and how they apply to our libraries during the lead up to the EU referendum. The display will be up again on Friday and will run through next week to give people the chance to view it."

Malvern Welcomes Syrian Refugees has been campaigning since October 2014 to allow fugitives from the war-torn Middle East to settle in the safety of Worcestershire. Some 50 are expected to arrive in the county this summer.