A CHEEKY gardener has told how cops were called to his home after a neighbour complained about his “obscene” bush.
He crafted the cheeky gesture after drinkers in the village pub opposite his home in Warton, Warks, teased his green-fingered skills.
The huge bush went viral and attracted hordes of visitors keen to grab a selfie – but also led to complaints that it was offensive.
He told Sun Online: “It all just started as a bit of a laugh with my mates in the pub across the road.
“They teased me when I cut the hedges and I thought I’d get my own back.
“I never thought it’d be there for this long – but it became something of a tourist attraction.
“Even now we still spot the odd person outside taking photos, even though it’s not in the best of condition.
“We’ve had a laugh for 20 years but now’s the time to move on.
“We’ve had drunks jump into it, so it’s been battered and had big holes in it for a while.”
Richard, who lives with wife Linda, 70, was threatened with a fine in 2012 over complaints the bush was “obscene”.
A resident living nearby moaned about the hedge and Warwickshire County Council wrote to him threatening him with legal action.
Council chiefs ordered him to cut it down – with a copper knocking on his door suggesting he cut it into a fist to avoid a public order fine.
But Richard, a caretaker, remained defiant with locals leading a ‘Save the Warton Bush’ campaign.
Warwickshire County Council sent a letter threatening legal action and a police officer was despatched to investigate.
Richard said: “The copper knocked on the door and said basically that if there were any more complaints I’d get a fine on the spot.
“He told me I should turn it into a fist instead, because that would be less offensive.
“But I didn’t listen and the fine never came.
“It was all a load of hoo-ha. I haven’t heard a word from them since.
“I think the council are probably as fed up of it as I am.”
But now Richard, a grandad of four, has revealed he has now had enough of pruning the giant middle finger with his hand shears.
He said: “I’m fed up with it, to be honest with you.
“I’m going to dig it up or burn it. People love it but I’ve had enough of it.
“It’s just a pain in the backside to keep it in shape.
“It’s not a statue – it grows and it’s harder and harder to keep it in shape. It’s too much trouble now.
“We still have folks come up to take photos but it’s past its prime.
“It’s like me – old and in bad shape.”
The bush, which needs trimming up to four times a year, starred on Have I Got News For You and hit headlines on ITV News – with producers opting to blur out the offensive digit.