Two brothers who have restored many of the famous Dunkirk boats that rescued British troops from the French beaches in 1940 have won their own private war against the Royal Borough - which threatened the boat repair business they have run in Windsor for 20 years.

Stephen Messer, 56 and his brother Colin, 57, have won the Classic Restoration Services boat repair business in Mill Lane, Clewer since the 1990s.

Their problems began when they moved their floating boat shed a short distance downstream to gain extra space and a neighbour complained.

A visit from a council enforcement officer followed. They were told the shed was an illegal permanent building and an enforcement notice was issued.

The brothers needed the shed to keep boats they were working on sheltered and faced losing the business they had painstakingly built up over two decades and which had given them a home.

They appealed against the council's decision and now a Government inspector who visited the site has found in their favour.

But Stephen Messer says they feel angry with the Royal Borough.

He says officers failed to properly examine the boat shed which is a floating structure moored by ropes and which opens up to let large 50 ft boats in and out.

He said: "We kept asking the council officer how he thought a permanent structure could let a 50 ft boat through and out the other side. The appeals inspector saw at once it was not a permanent building when she visited. She was very fair.

"This has cost us thousands of pounds even though I handled the appeal myself and had quite a dramatic effect. We have not been able to take in some boats because we did not know if we would be able to continue working on them - it has all been completely pointless."

Deputy leader of the council Phill Bicknell insisted that the council had behaved reasonably after receiving a complaint.

He said: "We listened to both sides and went through a proper process.

"Good luck to the brothers. Proper process has been followed and both sides will accept the inspector's decision."