A FORMER soldier who served in Iraq has been barred from joining the police because of a tattoo.

Craig Briggs was told the ‘England’ tattoo on his forearm “might be seen as racist or cause offence” by Greater Manchester Police.

Mr Briggs, 23, of Batley, said: “I thought, it only says England – what’s the big fuss about?

“It’s insulting. I don’t think having England on my arm could intimidate anybody or cause a riot.”

Mr Briggs first applied to join the force aged 18 when he finished his studies at Huddersfield Technical College in 2001.

But his application was rejected on the grounds of being too young.

So instead he served in the Army for four-and-a-half-years, competing a tour of Iraq.

The former Lance Corporal, who was based with the 3rd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, is now looking at other career options.

But he says he is still keen on joining the police force.