It's cheeky but a chunk of metal claimed to be from the buttock of an iconic Saddam Hussein statue is going on sale.

A chunk from the Saddam Hussein statue famously toppled in central Baghdad in 2003 is to be auctioned in Derby.

The 2-ft wide bronze buttock was claimed by a former soldier who brought it back to the UK. Now Nigel Ely, who used a sledgehammer and crowbar to grab the unusual memento, hopes its sale will raise money for charity.

Toppled over: The face of Saddam Hussein's statue that was brought
down in April 2003. File pic/getty images

Ely was working with a TV crew covering the fall of Baghdad in April 2003 when he decided to claim the historic keepsake.

He said, "When we arrived in Firdos Square, the statue had just been toppled and the US Marines had erected a cordon of tanks to guard the square. But I wanted a piece of the statue -- and when I mentioned to the marines that I was an old soldier and with the press they told me, 'No problem, buddy -- help yourself'."

He said, "I only wanted a piece big enough to put in my pocket, but I ended up with a chunk about 2ft square.

I thought, 'What the hell am I going to do with this?' and threw it in the back of my truck and forgot about it until we tried to re-enter Kuwait, where the Kuwaiti army arrested us and searched us for plunder."

Ely said he was charged �385 (Rs 30,000) to fly the chunk home. Proceeds from the sale will go towards helping injured ex-servicemen from the UK and US.

Ely said, "It's been with me all these years, but I decided it was time it did some good."