Celebrity Big Brother contestant Pete Burns could face jail over his "gorilla-skin" coat, a Minister warned.

The Dead Or Alive star claims his fur coat is made from the endangered animals.

Now the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has stepped in to say Burns may face "serious consequences" if this is true.

* Tell us your view on this story. Get in touch by email, messageboard or by sending a web letter to the editor *

Trading in endangered species carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and an unlimited fine.

Biodiversity Minister Jim Knight said: "Gorilla skins belong on gorillas, not on reality TV show contestants.

"Gorillas are critically endangered, and any promotion of gorilla products in this country can only put these amazing creatures in further peril. If this is in fact a gorilla skin, there may be consequences."

The coat has already sparked a furious row with housemate Jodie Marsh.

When Burns said he was offended by Marsh's autobiography, in which she spilled details about her ex-boyfriends, the glamour girl retorted: "Well, I think it's low that you wear a monkey coat. It offends me every time I see it on your back."

Burns hit back: "I get off on the fact that my coat offends someone who put her boyfriend's dirty underwear in a book."