Sacked Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson could face three years in jail over his "arrogant" Falklands car registration plate stunt in Argentina.

Prosecutors are appealing a judge's decision which refused to take further action against former the Top Gear presenter and his co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May when they entered their country last year in Clarkson's Porsche, which had the number plate, H982 FKL.

The TV stars were chased out of the country by "thousands" of angry locals who pelted rocks at them for having the offensive number plate. They had been filming a Top Gear special.

Judge Maria Cristina Barrionuevo rubbished claims by the BBC and Clarkson that it was just an "unfortunate coincidence". But she refused calls to launch an official probe into the incident saying the team acted quickly and replaced the number plate to avert more conflict.

But local prosecutors on behalf of Falklands war veterans are still not satisfied with the ruling and have decided to challenge her decision in the high court, which if successful could mean three years of imprisonment for Clarkson, which is the jail term that falsification offences carry in Argentina.

Osvaldo Hillard, spokesman for the Malvinas Veterans Centre in the southern city of Ushuaia, said: "We do not share Judge Barrionuevo's interpretation of events in the slightest. We believe the Top Gear people changed the number plates in the full knowledge that what they were doing was illegal."

Barrionuevo concluded Top Gear chiefs had not acted in "bad faith" in changing the plates and their hand was forced by "massive government and popular pressure".

She added: "It led them to remove the original number plate and replace it with another which in principle wouldn't have negative connotations with the aim of ending the main focus of conflict and avoiding violent reactions by locals which indeed ended up taking place.

"The change was not done in a surreptitious way, but with the knowledge and approval of the presenters who participated in meetings with the programme producers."

Clarkson was fired after punching producer Oisin Tymon, which prompted thousands of fans to appeal for his reinstatement. His fellow co-stars James May and Richard Hammond have since resigned from the hit show. Rumours are now flying around whether the A-team will be taking part in a rival motoring show for Netflix.

In April, May said on his resignation: "It has to be the three of us. You can't just put a surrogate Jeremy in and expect it to carry on. It would be forced. I don't believe they would be stupid enough to try that."

Jeremy clarkson faces jail
The car bearing the registration plate which hinted at the Falkands war of 1982. BBC