A one-legged golfer who has represented England is taking legal action after being told he couldn't use his buggy on a golf course.

Paul Houghton, 60, claims he was told to medically prove he was disabled before being allowed to drive the cart on to the green - despite him having a prosthetic leg.

He explained he is a member of the European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA), but was denied access without a written letter from his doctor.

The former roofer is now suing Brentwood Borough Council for unlawful discrimination.

He said: "I am a proficient golfer and I have represented my country, so to be told I am not allowed on a course left me feeling pretty terrible.

"They tried to tell me that it was not personal but of course I am going to take it personally.

"It sends the message that disabled people aren't welcome.

"It says that we are not part of society, not included, but are segregated and can't join in a sport that's accessible to everybody, because we need to use other equipment to play the game."

Dad-of-two Paul lost his leg 16 years ago after contracting the deadly flesh eating bug necrotizing fasciitis from kneeling in contaminated water.

The bacteria consumes flesh at up to 2cm an hour and he required five operations before his amputation at the knee was completed.

He could no longer work as a roofer so he now works as an access officer for Chelmsford Council.

However, he took up golf to try and stay active - buying himself some clubs, a course of lessons and an Electrokart, a one-seater buggy.

Since then he has joined the Disabled Golf Association and has represented his country 12 times, with a handicap of 14.

But due to his disability and having to learn to walk again with a prosthetic leg, Paul requires a buggy to move around the course when playing 18 rounds.

This is due to the prosthetic leg sometimes causing pressure sores that are difficult to cure.

He was stopped from using the cart however at Hartswood Golf Club in Brentwood, Essex, in August 2016.

Paul, who lives in East Hanningfield, Essex, with his school librarian partner Karen Garner, 56, said: "My mate had booked a round of golf and we had just got onto the green when some men came out and told me I could not bring my buggy on.

"I was so shocked when they told me I needed prior approval from the council.

"I felt absolutely humiliated that I was not allowed to play the game I love because of a disability.

"I've played over 100 courses around England, I've played all around the world and I've not been treated in this way before."

Paul, who has one grandchild, now wants to take a stand to defend the way disabled golfers are treated.

He added: "There is an underlying bigotry in the golfing world.

"The majority clubs I have played at have been really fantastic and supportive but one or two are still in the 1930s.

"I felt that if I did not do something about this, it would keep on happening to other people with disabilities who don't deserve to be excluded.

"I live in the way of trying to help other people and hopefully by me taking a stand, I will help people down the line."

Paul's solicitor, Chris Fry from Fry Law, said: "This case is more than just about making a service more accessible; it's a reminder of the importance of the benefits which sport brings to social inclusion, together with physical and mental health.

"This is especially important for people with a range of disabilities, and not least mobility impairments.

"A simple adjustment in this case will benefit Paul, and thousands of others in a multitude of ways."

England Golf's 'Buggy Use Policy says it 'encourages the participation in golf of all players regardless of disabilities'.

Cae Menai-Davis, from disabled charity, Golf Trust said: "Golf is a sport for everyone.

"Making it difficult for a disabled golfer to use a buggy isn't just bad policy, it is bad business.

"There is a huge untapped group of people with learning and physical disabilities that want to play the game and will benefit hugely from it."

Brentwood Council has denied any wrong doing.

A Brentwood Council spokesman, said: “Brentwood Borough Council is committed to ensuring safe access for everyone to all its facilities.

"Brentwood Borough Council denies any discrimination and is fully defending the ongoing legal action.

"A full statement will be made on behalf of the council once legal action has concluded.”