Fred Phelps, founder of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church

Fred Phelps, the head of the radical anti gay Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), and his daughter, Shirley Phelps-Roper, have been banned from entering the UK.

They had reportedly planned to picket the staging of a gay-themed play, in Basingstoke Hampshire, England, about the 1998 homophobic murder of gay student Matthew Shepard.

In a statement, The UK Border Agency said: “Both these individuals have engaged in unacceptable behaviour by inciting hatred against a number of communities.

“We will continue to stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country.”

Phelps-Roper however, told BBC News that other members of the Kansas-based church might still fly to the UK to take part in the protest.

“Unless they intend to begin checking the bare backsides of every person coming into that country to find that tattoo that says ‘Property of WBC’, they will have no way of identifying who is from WBC.”

She slammed the British government for trying “to keep the word of God from coming into her borders”.

The WBC is known for its hate-filled protests at the funerals of American soldiers with placards proclaiming “God hates fags” and “Aids cures fags”.

Its members believe that the war in Iraq and other national woes are God’s punishment for America “supporting” homosexuality.

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