COUNCIL bosses have asked York supporters of a far-right political party to stop using the city’s coat of arms on its website.

Backers of the British National Party (BNP) have placed York’s crest at the head of a blog page promoting the organisation in the city, but have now been told using it without permission is breaking the law.

The coat of arms, which is made up of a shield bearing the Cross of St George and five lions, is the official symbol of local government in York and is a prominent part of City of York Council’s public and corporate image.

But its use by supporters of the BNP, which has been condemned in many quarters for its views on race and immigration, on a webpage entitled York Nationalists was brought to the attention of the authority’s legal teams, and the council has now written to the local party asking for it to be removed.

“City of York Council wrote to the organisation concerned regarding the use of the registered council crest of arms being used on their website,” said a council spokeswoman.

“They have been advised that the coat of arms is registered with the College of Arms [the body which regulates the use of such crests] and that it is unlawful for anybody else to use it without our permission.”

The website is run by “an independent group in York that supports the British National Party”, including contact details for the organisation at a local level.

Coun James Alexander, who leads the council’s Labour group and brought the matter to the authority’s attention, said: “The BNP have been continually rejected by the people of York and their politics of hate have no place here.

“It is shameful for them to steal symbols of York’s civic pride for their own personal gain, and they have no right to do so.”

The Press tried to contact local BNP representatives before going to print, but they were unavailable.