Suella Braverman makes views 'very plain' to police over golliwog doll seizure from Essex pub

Home Secretary Suella Braverman is said to have made her views "very plain" to police after five officers were sent to seize golliwog dolls from a pub.

Essex Police took several of the dolls from the White Hart Inn in Grays last week after receiving a hate crime complaint on 24 February.

The dolls, based on 18th century minstrels, are now considered to be racist caricatures.

Owner Benice Ryley said she "can't see any harm" and that the 30 or so dolls had been donated over the years by her aunt and the pub's customers.

Police said an investigation was ongoing after a "member of the public reported being distressed after attending a venue off Argent Street" - where the pub is located.

Mrs Ryley's husband is set to be questioned when he returns from abroad but no one has been arrested or charged.

A Home Office source told Sky News Suella Braverman regards it as a waste of police resources.

"The Home Secretary's views have now been made very plain to Essex Police so they're under no illusions. Police forces should not be getting involved in this kind of nonsense," they said.

"It's about tackling anti-social behaviour, stopping violence against women and girls, attending burglaries and catching criminals - not seizing dolls."

In a statement, Essex Police denied the home secretary had been "contacted directly" over the incident.

"We maintain operational independence from the Home Office which ensures that every investigation is carried out without fear or favour," the force said.

Pub owner Benice Ryley hit back at allegations of racism and said she was angry the dolls had been taken away as they were part of her "childhood history".

"No, I don't know how they [people] can find it offensive," she said. "If they don't like it, they don't have to come through the door."