A cheeky gardener who trimmed a 10ft hedge into a hand flipping the middle finger has been warned he faces police action if he doesn’t chop the "obscene" bush down, despite it being there for nearly 20 years and proving an online hit.

Richard Jenkins, 63, initially carved it as a joke for drinkers who teased him while he cut the hedges at a pub opposite his home in the village of Warton, Warwickshire.

The middle-finger bush also attracts hundreds of visitors, with Instagram and TikTok fans desperate to feature it on their online profiles.

But Richard, who has two grown-up children and four grandchildren, was stunned when council chiefs ordered him to cut it down, with a copper even suggesting he cuts it into a fist.

A resident living nearby complained about the hedge and Warwickshire County Council wrote to him threatening him with legal action.

But Richard has remained defiant and locals who love the hedge have even launched a ‘Save the Warton Bush’ campaign.

He said: "It all started years ago as a bit of a laugh with the locals in the nearby pub.

“I used to do the hedges over there and they’d give me a bit of a tease when they came out.

“One day I thought I’d get my own back so cut the hedge into a giant middle finger.

“The pub locals thought it was hilarious and it just went from there. It became a permanent fixture in the village.

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“Everything was fine until I got a letter from the council saying someone had complained, saying the hedge was obscene.

“I was told I’d have to cut it down or modify it so it didn’t look rude anymore. I refused so they got the police involved.

“A policeman came out and said if they received any more complaints then I’d be instantly fined.

“He even suggested I turn it into a fist but I told him no way.

“I still didn’t do anything about the hedge apart from let it grow out a bit but there’s no way I’d chop it down.

“It was all for a laugh.”

Richard and his wife of 22 years, Linda, 69, live opposite The Office Pub in the village with the hedge pointing towards the entrance.

He added: "Many people quite like it, often you see you people stopping in their cars, getting out and having a picture with it.

"One local lad even has it as his screensaver on his phone.

"I have had it up for nearly 20 years now, it is staying."

Warwickshire Police confirmed an officer was sent to investigate although they had not received a direct complaint.

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