BURY Veteran's Association has expressed concern that replica medals readily available to buy online could be exploited by people who seek to pretend to have served in the armed forces.

Replicas of medals awarded to those who have served in Iraq and Northern Ireland campaigns amongst others are available for as little as £14.

Owen Dykes, a committee member at the Borough Of Bury Veterans Association (BOBVA) said that it does not condone the use of medals to impersonate veterans.

He said: "We do not have the facilities to check complete backgrounds of veterans but if someone came to us and say that someone's medals, service history or stories don't match up, we will investigate.

"There are people out there who will say they stabbed Bin Laden with a spoon or poked Saddam Hussein in the eye.

"Veterans have earned the right to wear those uniform and medals - through blood, sweat and tears."

He said that there are two types of fakes - 'bloaters' and a 'Walter Mitty'.

The former involves expanding and increasing an existent military record, while the latter involves fabricating a story from scratch.

One seller of a series of medals said that they think most buyers have "good intentions."

A spokesman for Cibi, an independent trader, said: "It is indeed disturbing if someone is pretending to be a veteran and he is actually not.

"I think most of my buyers intentions are good. When they are trying to buy some medals, their messages is usually accompanied with reason why they do so.

"The most common use is to commemorate their loved ones fallen in battle during World War One or World War Two, so they will frame their medals with name, rank and some information about their family member.

"Some people are educating children about our history as teachers - there are many uses.

"I am also getting messages about original medals which were stolen or given to museums, so they want to still have reproductions at home."

Owen added: "Personally, I look at impersonators as scum. They have gone online, stolen someone's identity and fantasised a little world around them."