A small waste disposal firm named Lord of the Bins says it has been ordered to scrap its name by lawyers for the Lord of the Rings franchise.

Nick Lockwood and Dan Walker explained how they had received a letter demanding they stop using the name to avoid formal action being taken against them.

The Brighton-based business claim they were also ordered to ditch their slogan, One Ring to Remove It All.

Nick said that the demand came after the company went viral online.

He said: “Someone took a picture of the back of our van and posted it on Twitter and it went a bit crazy.

“We applied for a trademark to try and protect Lord of the Bins, but during a two-month objection period, we received one three or four weeks ago, followed by a formal cease and desist from Middle Earth Enterprises on January 18.”

The pair have sought legal advice on the issue, but have been told that the company would face a huge battle in the courts which they would be unlikely to win, and could face extortionate legal costs if they lost.

Nick said: “We’re a super small business - it’s just me and Dan picking up rubbish in Brighton.

“We’ve only been incorporated for about a year and all of our funds are invested back into the business. We don’t have the money to fight a multi-billion pound company in the courts.

“The general consensus was if you don’t want to get into a huge legal battle that could cost you thousands, it is better off if you walk away and rebrand.”

The pair have expressed hope that the two companies can co-exist “in harmony” and said that no one would reasonably conflate the two firms.

“The Tolkien estate isn’t going to suddenly decide they want to pick up rubbish - it is completely widely different from what their business model is,” Nick said.

He also said that customers have been left “in shock” by the spectre of legal action over the brand name and said that the cost of rebranding would surpass £5,000.

“Our customers love our name, we love our name, and we bring smiles to people’s faces when we go past in our van - it would be great if we could just continue to use our name and live happily with Lord of the Rings,” Nick said.

Middle Earth Enterprises was contacted for comment.