AN ex-pat couple who put up a Saltire in the window of their home were stunned to receive an anonymous note telling them they were “lowering the tone”.

American artist Shane Semler and his Italian partner moved to Scotland from England, setting up home in Paisley.

The pair put up a Scottish flag on the inside of a first-floor window. But they were astonished when an unsigned message was put through their letterbox urging them to take it down – because it was “lowering the tone of the neighbourhood”.

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The typed and printed letter, which was delivered by post, states: “Myself and a few other home owners in the street feel that your flag in the window is lowering the tone of the neighbourhood.

“We appreciate you are very proud to display this. However, it’s not something that looks attractive to the eye when you enter the street.

“Would you please kindly remove it or even have it to the back of your property.

“Kind regards.”

The National:

After reading the message, the pair visited all neighbours in the Renfrewshire street to find out who was behind it and talk about their objections.

However, they all denied sending it or even knowing about it, meaning the couple is still unsure which residents took exception to the window covering.

But they say they cannot believe anyone would object to the flying of their national flag – because it would not happen in their own countries.

Semler told The National: “Someone said that this is an upmarket place – it’s a nice neighbourhood, but it isn’t filled with multi-million dollar mansions, so I guess they just don’t like the Scottish flag.

“It’s very common to see American flags flying in the US.

“I know there’s a bit of commotion between Unionists and people who want independence, but I’m surprised that they would actually send a letter to us and then lie about it.”

Semler’s Italian partner, who did not want to be named, echoed his sentiments and said the problem might be the so-called “Scottish cringe”, which sees Scots feel embarrassment over their country and culture.

However, unless the sender comes forward, the pair will never know.

She said: “In America you have the flag everywhere – in some communities it’s in every house, every garden.

“No-one would complain about the Italian flag in Italy.

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“I feel very much at home in Scotland, we both do. We wanted to show that by putting up the national flag.

“I think it’s shocking that any person in any country would feel that the flag of their country was ‘lowering the tone’.”

She added: “It’s very unfair for this country that it doesn’t get to shine on its own. It’s unfair that anyone would ask us to take the flag down. It’s not even in the public street, it’s inside the house.

“We haven’t taken it down, but we would have liked to talk with the person who sent the note.”

She went on: “When we went door to door one of the neighbours questioned why, if I’m Italian, I would have a Scottish flag. I replied that I am honoured to be able to be in this country, that I feel Scottish and I am proud of it too.”