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English expat who's gone to war with his German neighbours

English expat who's gone to war with his German neighbours
English expat who's gone to war with his German neighbours

An English tree surgeon living in Germany has caused uproar by turning his garden into a quirky tribute to Britain – complete with a 52-ton tank on the lawn.

Gary Blackburn has also installed a red telephone box, post box and model cows painted red, white and blue.

Life-sized models of Queen Elizabeth II and a corgi sit inside his ‘Robin Hood’ log cabin, where there are swords and suits of armour on the walls.

On the roof is a model of a propeller plane – though Mr Blackburn has not yet been able to get his hands on the real thing.

To complete the scene there is a giant tea set, plus an original lime green Mini bearing the image of Mr Bean.

Mr Blackburn recently added yet another item to the collection - a three-wheeled Reliant car like that driven by TV wheeler-dealer Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter in Only Fools and Horses.

The 53-year-old, who lives in the Rhineland town of Kretzhaus, 20 miles from former West German capital Bonn, said he assembled the British scene as a reaction to the Brexit vote in June last year.

He told local journalists: ‘I’m English. We may be somewhat quirky.’

But some locals have failed to see the funny side. The scene has sparked complaints from residents in the surrounding area and even criticism from a German MP.

Mr Blackburn, who moved from Lincolnshire 32 years ago, said: ‘When Britain voted for Brexit I decided to make my own little Britain here in Germany.

‘For me the tank is a sign of peace. I have decorated it with a lot of poppies and white doves.

‘The poppies stand for freedom and peace in England and commemorate fallen and injured soldiers during the past two world wars.

‘Two neighbours want it removed, but at the moment all is fine because the Interior Ministry recognised that the tank is demilitarised, stands on private property and is not visible from the streets.’

Although Mr Blackburn says he has welcomed visitors curious to see his display, the Bonn-based General Anzeiger newspaper has carried less-then complimentary stories.

‘Conflict in Kretzhaus – tank displeases the neighbourhood’, read one of its headlines.

Ellen Demuth, an MP from the ruling Christian

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