REBELS at City Hall are taking a stand against moves to confiscate their toasters, fans and portable heaters.

Staff working in the landmark listed building are banned from using these everyday appliances, it has emerged, because they do not meet the council's eco-friendly standards.

Now, City Hall bosses are warning staff that contraband gadgets will be confiscated from Monday, but the Conservative group office is point-blank refusing to hand over its cherished toaster.

A staff memo, seen by the Telegraph & Argus, says an 'environmental awareness officer' has spotted items around City Hall which "do not comply with the council's agreed recycling and heating efficiency policies".

It says: "Therefore next Monday, December 14, an amnesty of all portable heaters, fans and toasters will be carried out."

Conservative group leader Councillor Simon Cooke, who has long waged a war against what he calls "nannying fussbucketry", said he struggled to suppress a laugh when he read the email.

He said: "This is one of those decisions that will achieve nothing constructive, but will make us look silly.

"As we speak, staff throughout City Hall, are falling into three camps. Those that are bemused, those that are annoyed and those who are scurrying around trying to hide toasters and desktop fans."

The memo also warns employees that any small waste bins found in the building will be removed on Monday, with staff instead being given larger recycling bins.

Cllr Cooke said the idea of switching to recycling bins "has its merits", but he remained baffled about what was so wrong with a toaster.

He said: "The Conservative group has a small fridge, a microwave and a toaster, for the use of 23 councillors, which I do not consider to be extravagant or environmentally unfriendly."

Cllr Cooke then channelled Mel Gibson's Braveheart by declaring: "They may take our bins, but they will never take our toaster!"

Internal council rules instruct staff not to use fans in summer or portable heaters in winter, instead advising them to "dress appropriately" for the time of year to save energy.

And a council spokesman said toasters were banned for fire safety reasons, rather than environmental ones.

She said: "Toasters are not permitted in council buildings, especially Grade One listed City Hall, due to the risk of them setting off sensitive smoke detectors.

"These in turn trigger the fire alarms, leading to full building evacuations. False alarms are a waste of both council and fire service resources.

"We are also trying to encourage everyone to be energy efficient, minimise waste and recycle as much as possible.

"This new policy is to make sure that it is as easy as possible for employees to be more energy efficient, minimise waste and recycle at work to help the council to save money."