A tequila bar owner has thought up a harebrained scheme – to make his business a religion to get around lockdown rules.

James Aspell, owner of 400 Rabbits Tequila and Mezcal Bar in Nottingham, has registered to become the "Church of The 400 Rabbits".

The problem is he has no congregation so he's looking for people to become "bunny believers" or even "reverends of the righteous rabbits".

Despite Mr Aspell admitting the idea is a joke, he told the Nottingham Evening Post there's a serious message to what he's doing.

It's all to do with lockdown restrictions and what he calls the "hypocrisy" and "unfair targeting" of so-called "wet" establishments who just serve alcohol.

A city centre tequila bar in Nottingham has applied to register as a religion to show the 'hypocrisy' of lockdown rules`
A city centre tequila bar in Nottingham has applied to register as a religion to show the 'hypocrisy' of lockdown rules

In all lockdown tiers places of worship can stay open. He said: "With the new restrictions we’re forced to close and it could be months before we can reopen. We don’t have a food offering so even if we were in Tier 2, we couldn’t open.

"We feel like we’ve been targeted unfairly, to an extent and it seems wrong. Everything from gyms to massage parlours can stay open and even the Christmas markets are happening – that was the point when I thought, this is ridiculous.

"So we have sent in an application to register as a place of worship."

The 400 Rabbits Tequila and Mezcal Bar in Nottingham could soon be a place of religious sanctuary if an application to become a place of worship succeeds
The 400 Rabbits Tequila and Mezcal Bar in Nottingham could soon be a place of religious sanctuary if an application to become a place of worship succeeds

The application has been sent into the city's registrar general for consideration and the Church of the Four Hundred Rabbits will be signing up a congregation through its new website.

Mr Aspell, who opened the bar five years ago, said he wanted to point out the "hypocrisy" of the coronavirus rules.

He added: "This time of year it’s usually all guns blazing but instead I’m sat at home putting my Christmas decorations up. We have no intention of opening unless the application is granted or when restrictions are lifted.

If we were to open we’d follow government guidelines and I don’t think we’d be selling alcohol. We might be able to adapt in a different way and have some fun with it. We’re not doing this to offend anybody or break any rules."

James said the response has been "overwhelmingly positive", with one person branding the idea as "genius"

Another person commented: "The only religion I would get on board with. Hopes and prayers for your salvation and delicious drinks."