Heroic soldiers returning from Afghanistan were told remove their uniforms if they wanted to continue drinking in a Croydon bar.

The troops were forced to buy civilian clothes after staff from Tiger Tiger in the High Street refused to let them stay in their Army uniforms because it breached its strict evening dress code.

The brave squaddies, from the Second Battalion The Rifles, had earlier that day been given the freedom of the borough after marching through the town centre to the cheers and tears of grateful residents.

Their battalion was part of the 19 Light Brigade who took over operations in Afghanistan’s hellish town of Sangin in April this year and had lost 13 comrades, had dozens of injuries and fought “the fight of their lives” in one of the most dangerous places in the world.

Barry Cordery from the Norbury British Legion said: “It is an absolute disgrace, they should have been welcomed in. It was all about them, they had come to Croydon because the borough invited them and they came to remember their comrade, Rifleman Danny Simpson.

“The people at Tiger Tiger should have treated them like celebrities instead of turning them away.”

Dozens of soldiers had been drinking in the bar following the march and a reception for friends and family at Fairfield Halls.

But staff at Tiger Tiger told them they must leave the bar at 8pm because they did not conform to the dress code.

A customer said: “The soldiers took it surprisingly well. A lot of them went out to Primark to buy civvies but they shouldn’t have had to. They were wearing their uniform as a badge of honour and righly so.

“If they had been fighting each other I could understand but they were just having a drink. Everyone else welcomed them to the borough so why Tiger Tiger couldn’t bend their rules for one night I don’t know.”

Tiger Tiger general manager, Ross Palmer, said: “Unfortunately it is our dress code that on Thursday nights people must come dressed in smart casual clothes.

“We understand that they have just returned from Afghanistan but that is our policy I am afraid.”

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