• A sign saying ‘Save Me’ was hung from the head on Monday evening before the face was taken down by local protesters.

A “racist” pub sign has been removed following pressure from campaigners to have it taken down – but locals claim it will be replaced at a later date.

Thousands of people signed a petition calling for the removal of a caricature of a black man above the 18th century Greenman pub sign in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

Derbyshire Dales District Council said on Monday it would remove the sign with “immediate effect” but when the head was taken down yesterday evening, locals said they had done so to protect it.

According to the council, around 150 locals had gathered by the pub.

In a statement, they said: "The group, who had ladders, then decided they would remove the figure themselves for safe keeping and, not wanting to create a confrontation, in the circumstances we did not object."

The sign at the Greenman pub in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, has been described as ‘racist’ by campaigners. Credit: ITV News Central

The petition against the head, has more than 42,000 signatures and it drew inspiration from an anti-racism demonstration in Bristol, which saw protesters topple the statue of slave trader Edward Colston before the bronze monument was pushed into the harbour.

The Grade II-listed pub sign, which arches over St John’s Street, depicted the face of a black man. Credit: BPM Media

Meanwhile, a petition page to keep the head has gained more than 4,000 signatures.

Organiser Shaun Redfern described the sign as a tourist attraction which “should be kept because of the history for the town”.

The sign was gifted to the District Council a number of years ago and they expect to have possession of the head figure later today.

It's one of a number of petitions to emerge online demanding controversial monuments in the UK are taken down following the Black Lives Matter movement, sparked by the killing of George Floyd in America.

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