A 'NAZI' flag outside a Worcester house has shocked locals but the owner says he meant no offence.

The red flag is flying in the garden of Steve Allman who lives in Hurst Lane.

Mr Allman, a retired finance manager and keen vexillologist (studier of flags and symbols) said he put up the controversial flag to commemorate the day when three British war boats sank the first German U-boat.

He said: “I did think the symbol may cause some controversy, but I didn’t mean to cause any offence. The Nazi symbol was actually first used by Buddhists. It used to symbolise peace before it was purloined by the Nazis.

“I put the confederate flag up a few years ago, and that also caused controversy, obviously. I like to change the flag to remember certain anniversaries and special dates or just as an educational thing in terms of the history.

“Tomorrow I shall change it to a smiley face to try and bring some cheer to these difficult times we're all facing. I have been doing this for many years. I have hundreds of different flags. I first got my flagpole as a wedding gift.

“I just find them so significant and symbolic. It fascinates me and resonates with others. I have people stop and come to the house to talk about my flags. I put up a Bermuda flag and a young lad came round to thank me for flying his flag. I have had an Estonian woman do the same. It brings the communities together and my flags are always the talk of the village.”

However, a passerby who did not wish to be named doesn’t think it is acceptable to fly a flag with a Nazi symbol on it.

She said: “ I did a double take when I saw a flag bearing a swastika and eagle flying from a flagpole. This is the day after the Battle of Britain anniversary and I don’t believe that is a coincidence. I think it is provocative and offensive to victims of the Nazis and those whose family members sacrificed so much to defeat Hitler in the Second World War. How depressing that the homeowner obviously feels safe in the current political climate to display openly their support of such evil views.”

A spokesman for West Mercia Police said: “We have received a report of a hate incident in relation to a flag being flown outside a property in Hindlip, this is now being investigated.”

It is not illegal to fly the Nazi flag in Britain.

What do you think about the flag? Historically significant or offensive? Contact reporter Jemma Bufton via jemma.bufton@newsquest.co.uk