For sale: the world's smallest country with its own flag, stamps, currency and passports.

Apply to prince michael of sealand if you want to run your own nation, even if it is just a wartime fort perched on two concrete towers in the north sea.

Built in world war Two as an anti-aircraft base to repel german bombers, the derelict plat-form was taken over 40 years ago by retired army major paddy roy bates who went to live there withhis family.

He declared the platform, perched seven miles off the east coast of england and just outside britain's territorial waters, to be the principality of sealand.

The self-styled prince roy adopted a flag, chose a national anthem and minted silver and gold coins.

The family saw off attempts by britain's royal navy to evict them and also an attempt in 1978 by a group of german and dutch businessmen to seize sealand by force.

Roy, 85, now lives in spainand his son michael told bbcradio his family had been approaehed by estate agents withclients "who wanted a bit morethan a bit of real estate, they wanted autonomy."

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