Stickers calling for home rule for England have been placed to road signs along its border with Scotland.
The stickers bearing the flag of Saint George were put on signs at various border communities in Northumberland – including Berwick, Norham, Horncliffe and Cornhill on Tweed – as well as Coldstream in Scotland.
The campaign was last night condemned by a councillor who claimed it sent out the wrong message to visitors to Northumberland at its busiest time of year.
They also said the timing of the act could not have been worse, just a month ahead of the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the famous battle between England and Scotland at Flodden.
There was also consternation at the cost to taxpayers, with two authorities confirming they would be sending teams out to remove the posters.
The paper posters are around two foot by one foot, with an image of the English flag above the words “Home Rule”.
Dougie Watkin, Northumberland County Councillor for Norham and Islandshires, spotted four stuck to road signs at the border – where the village is separated by the River Tweed from Scottish community Ladykirk – on Tuesday.
Two have since been removed by locals.
On Wednesday afternoon, Coun Watkin noticed the same posters on signs on the Welcome to England sign at the A1 at Berwick – where four to six had been stuck – as well as at the Morrisons roundabout.
Further posters have been reported at the border spanning Union Chain Bridge at Horncliffe as well as Cornhill and Coldstream and the Northumberland Cumbria border on the A69 near Haltwhistle.
Coun Watkin reported the posters to the county council, asking that staff be sent to remove them.
He said: “At the height of the tourist season, it is absolutely disgraceful.
“It reflects terribly badly on an area which depends on tourism, much of which is coming from across the border. It is not the impression that this part of the world wishes to give to tourists.”
The councillor said the timing of the poster campaign before September’s marking of the Battle of Flodden was unfortunate. “It is not the image we wish to portray, particularly the month before Flodden.
“We are coming up to the celebrations. To have them affected by something like this is awful really.”
Highlighting the financial implications, Coun Watkin added: “It is going to cost money to the ratepayers to get rid of them.
“It will take two or three workers a week to get them off.”
Last night, a spokesperson for Northumberland County Council said: “These posters have been reported to us and we will be removing them in due course.
“We will be advising the Highways Agency of the ones on the signs adjacent to the A1.”
A spokeswoman for the Highways Agency said officials would be visiting the signs targeted and removing the posters.