A businessman has been banned from using his personalised number plate after traffic officials said it was illegal to use on the road.

Police have warned Dave Day, who founded the Golden Lion chain of pubs in Brighton, that he faces prosecution if he continues to use the £8,000 MR L10N plate on his chauffeur-driven Bentley.

For the past seven years the plate has been well known in the city with tourists flagging him down to have their photo taken with it.

But last month the 61-year-old was flagged down again, this time by an unmarked police car on Brighton seafront.

Officers issued him with a £60 fine and told him that Mr Lion had to go because the letters were not spaced out correctly on the number plate.

Mr Day, whose pubs include The Cricketers, The Long Man of Wilmington and The Ladies Mile, admits he did have the L moved a couple of millimetres to make the two words more distinguishable.

He said: "People get plates adapted or altered all the time. You would think the police have got better things to do than chase around after my number plate.

"We've had nine murders in the city in the last year. My plate is just there to make people smile. Children and tourists ask me if they can be photographed with it."

He said he found the fact that officers acted on the legal technicality of the spacing between the R and the L being illegal "pathetic".

Members of the Day dynasty are recognisable in the city for their signature plates.

His daughter has MI55 DAY and his son owns L10N LD.

A spokeswoman for the DVLA said: "We make it very clear that registration marks must be correctly displayed. Misrepresented number plates can cause problems for enforcement bodies like the police using automatic number plate recognition cameras.

"The police can issue fixed penalty fines for illegally displayed number plates and offenders could face a maximum fine of £ 1,000."

A Sussex Police spokesman confirmed that if someone continuously failed to comply with the law regarding number plates they could face criminal prosecution.

The Mr Lion plate has now been replaced with 23 DD.