A pub landlord has hit out after being arrested on suspicion of committing a racially-aggravated public order offence.
Police swooped on Peter Mailer's premises, the Black Bull Hotel in Warkworth, last Tuesday, following a formal complaint over newspaper clippings, political cartoons and other items displayed on his bar-room walls.
Mr Mailer, who admits he is an active supporter of the British National Party, was hauled into Alnwick Police Station, along with the cuttings, where he provided a taped interview under caution.
He has now been bailed to return to the station on December 23, when he will learn whether or not the Crown Prosecution Service will charge him. But the 52-year-old publican said he was stunned to learn that the complaint had been made by an off-duty senior police officer from Nottinghamshire, who was on holiday in the region when he paid a visit to the Black Bull the previous Friday night.
Mr Mailer said: "This chap was in with a friend and their respective wives for a drink, and I had a chat with them. It was their first time in Northumberland. There was absolutely nothing said about the so-called racist items on my wall. About 90 per cent of them were clippings taken directly from national newspapers. On Tuesday two Northumbria officers turned up and arrested me, took everything off the walls and I had to go to the station to give a taped interview."
He added: "It seems that this senior officer had to justify his fat salary by rocking the boat in a sleepy little village hundreds of miles away from where he lives. I've had this pub three years, it's full of regulars of all political persuasions who don't have an issue with what I put on my walls."
Asked about his political views, Mr Mailer said: "I don't hide the fact that I am a supporter of the BNP, but I don't force it down peoples' throats. If I am asked who I politically support, then I will say so. I don't make a big issue of it.
"I'm all for law and order, more active policing and less paperwork, priority and more support for the UK residents in general and a harder line on illegal immigrants, but I am not a racist. I have Asian and Arab friends and employees, including the manager of my new business in Harrogate, who is a Muslim. I don't have an issue with race, just with spongers travelling half way round the world to abuse the system we currently have in this country."
A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said: "A 52-year-old man from the Alnwick area was arrested on Tuesday, November 25, on suspicion of committing a racially-aggravated public order offence, and has been bailed."