Another said: ‘Thought it was just an innocent chap with a common name till I googled the dates!’

Others decided to treat the plaque as a prank. One member of the group wrote: ‘…Loving Father, Brutal Dictator…’ and another commented: ‘Did you know that Saddam loved Wanstead and was often seen feeding the pigeons with Rumsfeld before they fell out? They both had a favourite Bush.’

Another member added: ‘I have fond memories of him singing karaoke in the Cuckfield,’ and ‘I often used to see him in the Larder looking disparagingly at the craft ale selection.’