A church bell that has chimed every hour for 186 years have been silenced - after four complaints it was too loud.

The St Stephen's Church bell, in Stockbridge, Edinburgh, has been temporarily stopped from ringing by environmental health officers following objections from four new residents in the area over the decibels levels at night.

It is believed to be the first time since the church was built in 1828 that the bell has been silenced. Local people criticised the "jobsworth" decision and accused Edinburgh City Council of breaching the spirit of noise control regulations.

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The row comes weeks after the church was bought by video games entrepreneur Leslie Benzies, of Grand Theft Auto firm Rockstar North, in a deal thought to be worth more than £500,000. The Benzies Foundation had no involvement in silencing the bell.

Dr James Simpson, of the St Stephen's Playfair Trust, which attempted to buy the church but is now set to be wound up following Mr Benzies's successful bid, said: "This is not what the regulations were designed to achieve. I trust the complaint will be rejected and the clock restarted very soon."

A council spokeswoman said: "The bell has been temporarily silenced so we can investigate concerns about noise."