A SCOTS joke shop owner has been ordered to take down a huge fake Groucho Marx nose and glasses hanging over his front door.

Heritage and planning chiefs failed to see the funny side of businessman Bill Cowan's plan to promote his shop in the heart of Edinburgh's historic Old Town.

But now the shop owner has vowed to battle the stuffy planning chiefs and wants his spoof sign to stay in place.

The Aha Ha Ha joke shop, in Edinburgh's West Bow, just yards from the Royal Mile and overlooked by the castle, is run by Mr Cowan and his wife Cathi.

They thought a good way to let customers know about the shop was to build a massive sculpture of film legend Groucho Marx's nose and spectacles, a popular joke item sold in the store.

After consulting with planning chiefs at Edinburgh City Council they were told they did not require planning consent for the sign.

But after putting the nose and 'specs in place, complaints were received about the sculpture lowering the tone of the area.

Council chiefs and Historic Scotland experts claim the sign ruins the appeal of a grade-A listed building next door and is not in keeping with a designated World Heritage Site.

Mr Cowan said last night: ``I can't believe people are being so narrow-minded.''

A spokeswoman for Edinburgh City Council disagreed and said the sign ruined the ambiance of the area.

She said: ``This is not appropriate and it detracts from the atmosphere in what is one of the most historic areas of the city.

``Mr Cowan was told that a smaller sign would be more suited, but then this one was put up.''