Former world heavyweight champion Frank Bruno is backing a pub after a public outcry was caused - because the landlord painted a dragon mural on the side of the building.

The 57-year-old has backed the painting of the large bleary-eyed dragon on the side of the former Brewer's Arms in Bicknacre, Essex.

Pun landlord David Davies, 58, has caused been accused of making a "massive mistake" after he painted the mural which has blasted by residents as "daft".

The mural which depicts a giant dragon leaning blear-eyed on a bar with its elbow nudging a beer bottle and its tail slumped beside it.

However, close pal Frank has weighed into the row.

He wrote on Facebook: "A young man I know has bought a village pub he's trying to launch a new Restaurant The Drunken Dragon in Bicknacre Essex.

"The Dragon its breathing new life into an old country pub so I want you to join me in trying to "Save the Dragon".

Drunken Dragon, which was previously named the Brewer's Arms, has had £100,000 renovation since July 8 after new bosses Ben and Dave Davis took over.

But since the mural was paint, David claims he has received "violent threats" to damage his pub and "verbal abuse".

One resident said: "we all know drunks are not a welcome product".

Andrew Hanson, who lives nearby said: "So you’ve pissed off the majority of locals in one of the hardest most declining business to own before you’ve opened . Not looking good."

However, some locals have welcomed the fiery beast of yore, saying it will liven things up.

“It’s what this place needs. A bit of change never hurt anyone,” said resident Jeanette Doughty.

“At least it might portray Bicknacre as being a fun place and not boring.”

David said he is "staying strong" and sticking with the controversial "drunken dragon".

He said: "I have spent a lot of money on this renovation. We are also offering 20 additional employment positions to local residents as waiting staff and barstaff".

Ben, who has arranged for former heavy weight boxer Frank Bruno to reopen his pub on launch day, said the dragon theme is a tribute to the new owner’s late grandfather, a proud Welshman.

He said: "Artwork is in the eye of the beholder. When Picasso did his work, some people liked it and some people hated it."

Parish council chairman June Saltmarsh declined to comment on the mural.

Borough councillor Richard Poulter said it did not need planning permission and the building is not in a conservation area.

"It’s the same as somebody painting the side of his house,” he said. “He’s just decided to paint this."

A spokesman from Chelmsford City Council said: "The Council have received a large number of complaints from local people regarding the ‘drunken dragon’ mural in Bicknacre.

"Under the Town & Country Planning Act it is considered an advertisement and in response to these complaints, our officers have written to the pub owners to ask them to remove it."