A pair of sailors were marched from Birmingham’s Bullring by security guards for collecting for the Poppy Appeal.

The Royal Navy sailors, who came to Birmingham from Portsmouth, were told charity workers were not permitted to collect at the city’s premier shopping complex unless pre-booked.

Bullring bosses later gave permission for the sailors to collect outside the Rotunda, near the bull, or in designated areas at the rear.

But as military Poppy Appeal collectors cannot wear overcoats that cover their uniforms, they have instead opted to stay indoors and collect from inside Debenhams, following approval from management at the department store.

A leading city councillor and former soldier labelled the incident a “slap in the face” to military personnel and vowed to bring the matter to the council’s attention.

The sailors, from HMS Daring, affiliated to Birmingham, were the second military personnel this week to be turned away from Bullring for collecting. A group of Birmingham University Officer Training Cadets were moved on Monday.

Bullring security guards are told to act “automatically” to remove charity workers who have not pre-booked, general manager Tim Walley said. Despite the British Legion making efforts to secure permission from Monday, they did not get the go-ahead until yesterday because the Bullring boss was on annual leave.

Mr Walley said: “It was a lack of understanding between what needs to take place in order to get permission. We are a focal point. Everybody congregates here, we have to be careful.”