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Flag puts old sea salts in a flap

OLD sea salts became uphappy over a naval flag being flown by a shopkeeper in Canterbury city centre to celebrate the Canterbury Festival. Now the unwitting trader has been told to take it down because it breaches Royal Navy protocol.

The flag is the white ensign which, although incorporates the union emblem, should strictly only be flown by ships of the line or from naval buildings. The storm blew up in Palace Street where the chairman of Canterbury's Independent Traders, Alan Jeffrey, had the idea to mark the festival by brightening up the street with flags and bunting.

City council contractors put them up, but a retired Royal Navy officer and then other ex-navy servicemen and a heraldic expert complained at the blunder. The offending flag was being flown from Siesta which is on the corner of Palace Street and Orange Street. Manager Laurissa Woolgar said she was completely bemused when a policeman called at the shop and told her it would have to come down.

She said: "Mr Jeffrey organised flags for the whole street. We thought it was a good idea. We couldn't understand what the problem was although we obviously don't want to offend anyone."

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