'Swastika' Flowerbed Lands North Somerset Council In Hot Water

Council workers have removed this civic flowerbed after complaints it was grown in the shape of a swastika.

Red-faced gardeners hastily dug up the blue centaurea perennial display after accusations that it looked like the infamous Nazi symbol.

Horrified locals in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, reacted with fury over the embarrassing gaffe - on one of the town's main roundabouts next to its train station.

Mike Donoghue, commenting about the swastika display on Facebook, said: "How do you accidentally leave flowers in the shape of a swastika?"

Andrew Joules added: "Now I know that Weston-super-Nightmare is twinned with Hildesheim in Germany - but this is just a step too far."

North Somerset Council said the symbol was created by accident after certain flowers were removed, leaving just the outline of the "swastika".

A spokesman explained: "This planting formed part of a random pattern in one of the flower beds we maintain.

"When summer bedding was removed in November, the centaurea perennials were left in place to give the bed a splash of winter colour and so the bed was not totally bare.

"After we had a call about the pattern we have taken all the plants out. They are due to be replaced soon with sustainable planting and a sculpture designed by students from Weston College."

The swastika is an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles.

It can represent eternity in East Asian culture and Buddhism, but it was adopted as a symbol of the Nazi Party of Germany in 1930s.