London (AFP)

British darts legend Bobby George, who made a memorable sweary intervention in the Brexit referendum, said "lying" anti-EU politicians should be jailed for having deceived the public.

The 71-year-old, known as the "King of Darts", made an unlikely viral social media video before the 2016 vote, urging people to keep Britain in the European Union.

"It only takes five seconds to put an X in the box. Takes you five seconds to stop people (messing up) your future", he said, using a sweary term, while wearing a Vote Remain t-shirt.

Now he is taking aim at Leave-backing politicians who swayed voters with visions of vastly reduced immigration and spending all the money Britain sends to Brussels on the state-run National Health Service (NHS).

"The politicians that told lies before people voted, and people believed them, they should be locked up," George told AFP, pointing to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a leading Brexit campaigner.

"I was really annoyed. You mustn't lie to the people.

"Freedom of travel -- you're not going to stop it. The world's got smaller and smaller. We've all got to live together and trade together."

- Unlikely Remainer -

With his dazzling gold jewellery, huge grin and leathery Londoner's voice, George was one of the top players in the 1980s televised boom in sports.

He was known for revelling in darts theatrics, going on stage with a glittering cloak and even a candelabra, lording it up to Queen's song "We Are The Champions", often with an England flag in tow.

He made for an unlikely Remain campaigner as older and working-class votes went heavily for exiting the EU.

George said leaders now had a duty to make a success of Brexit, but reckons Britain faces several tough years ahead as it ends four decades of EU membership.

"We went down one stretch of the river with deep water, no rocks. Now we're going down another one and there might be loads of rocks in it. So we've got to be very careful," he said.

"You make your bed, you lie in it. They've got to make it work. But I reckon it will take five or six years before we get out the hard bit. It will be more difficult than people thought."

- Olympics, cancer push -

George was the world darts championship runner-up in 1980, and again in 1994, incredulously playing with a broken back in a steel corset.

With sports climbing and skateboarding joining the roster for the Tokyo 2020 Games, George said he hoped to see darts become an Olympic sport.

"I would love to see it in the Olympics because it is a world sport. More than 72 countries play darts now," he said.

"Don't knock it until you've tried it," he added.

George is currently working with the Prostate Cancer UK charity, appearing at the Great British Beer Festival this week in London to try to get more pubs involved in raising funds and awareness.

"One in eight guys in Britain gets prostate cancer. But the trouble is you don't know you've got it. You can have a simple blood test that will provide a guideline," he said.

"All blokes should go and push to have the test. Because if you catch it early, you can do something about it."

Agence France-Presse

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