A brawl broke out at a 1940s festival after a group of people turned up dressed in Nazi uniforms.
The annual Second World War-themed event in Sheringham, north Norfolk, drew up to 25,000 people, many of them in period dress, at the weekend.
Among them was a group of at least 10 men in Nazi-era German uniforms, including some with SS markings on their collars as well as badges featuring the “death’s head” symbol and swastikas.
Onlookers confronted them, shouting that they were not welcome, and they were subsequently escorted out of the area by police after event marshals stepped in to ask the group to leave.
Police said one man had reported being assaulted and that they were still investigating.
The men, part of a re-enactment group that raises money for military veterans, defended wearing the SS uniforms and said they had been attending the festival for years with no trouble.
The Eastern Front Living History Group also claimed the confrontation was an isolated incident on what was a weekend of good-natured fun.
A spokesman for the group said: “We do battle re-enactments, displays and educational visits across the UK, raising money for charity for wounded soldiers so they can have artificial limbs.
“We represent the Western European nations that fought against Stalin and communism during World War Two. We were wearing Waffen SS infantry uniforms displaying national shields and insignia of the countries portrayed. Not one member of the group portrayed a German.
“The uniforms were supplied by Germany, as were the weapons, to the foreign volunteers from 1941-1945. They’re as close to authentic as you can get.
“As a group we’ve been attending the Sheringham 1940s weekend for four or five years running and never had any problems before.”
The incident has prompted calls to ban Nazi uniforms from future weekends, and the town council has agreed to discuss proposals to make the event Allied-uniform only.
German military clothing from the period is not currently banned – although the North Norfolk Railway, which runs an associated event over the weekend, does not permit such uniforms.
A spokesman for the main festival organisers said German uniforms are permitted as long as they do not “promote the Nazis”. He claimed the incident had been a “misunderstanding” and that the group was there to “commemorate the German people”.
Witnesses said the group congregated outside the Lobster Inn, where they were confronted by locals.
Mike Keller, who lost family members in the Holocaust, said: “It was a lovely family atmosphere and very friendly when suddenly, from nowhere, there were 10 to 15 men dressed in authentic SS uniform literally marching in unison.
“It was deeply offensive. These men were not milling about and blending in among people. They were marching and making a demonstration. It was frightening.
“My father was from a Jewish family, who lost his parents and brothers and sisters in death camps. He was fortunate to escape with my uncle via Kindertransport, so having to see this with my son was mortally offensive and a disgraceful act.”
Another witness said: “When the group gathered outside of the pub, the family-friendly atmosphere of the day fell tense. There was so much tension and shock in the air.
“There were many jeers and heckles from onlookers. While the group stood proud, one man at the pub confronted them. That’s when the police arrived and swiftly escorted the group out of town. It all happened quite quickly.”
A Sheringham Town Council spokesman said: “Sheringham Town Council will consult with the police, North Norfolk Railway and others to determine what happened and what action may be taken to prevent a recurrence.”
A Norfolk Constabulary spokesman said: “A police officer on patrol in Sheringham came across a confrontation in the High Street on Saturday at about 5.30pm, involving a man and a group of people who had been attending an event.
“The officer intervened and quickly resolved the incident. One man reported being assaulted, and this is being investigated further. No one was injured during the incident.”
Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 1 month, then enjoy 1 year for just $9 with our US-exclusive offer.