When most people want to upset their neighbours at Christmas, they tend do it with obnoxious displays of electric light. For one Ukip supporting cabbie in Southampton, however, a big flashing Santa is not quite enough.

Instead, he has opted for an enormous 22ft by 9ft banner asking Father Christmas for a British exit from the EU – or a copy of the Koran and lessons in Arabic.

Timothy Miller, 66, is notorious in his home town of Hedge End in Hampshire for his commitment to big political statements at this time of year. His latest effort, featuring Santa with a copy of the Muslim holy book in his sack, has been described as "verging on racism" by one of his neighbours.

The massive sign reads: "Dear Father Christmas, an EU exit is the only present for me if not, it had better be a Koran and lessons in Arabic".

Miller, a member of the right-wing political party Ukip, denies that his banner is racist, and told the Southern Daily Echo that he is simply worried about open borders, and that EU visas are possibly going to be issued to 70 million Turkish people next year.

He said: "I do realise that it's on the edge, but I have taken it to the edge to get the desired result, and that is none other than to get this talked about.

"I'm not bashing Muslims at all, but there is a Government in Brussels that is giving away 70 million visas to a non-EU country.

"You've got to get over this thing of racism and see that there is this tsunami coming towards us.

"There is a very big difference between this country and an Arab country – and I have lived in one."

One of his neighbours, who did not provide a name, said "I think it's awful. I hate it". Another described it as "divisive" and said that it had "crossed the line".

Arshad Sharif, chairman of the Muslim Council of Southampton, was also upset with the message, telling the Echo: "It is worrying because when you take into account Donald Trump's comments these days it is acceptable to blame Muslims for everything, and it is quite worrying."

In previous years, Miller has hung a sign simply asking for "our country back", and of a huge Union Jack which was hanging upside-down: which is either a common mistake, or a mayday signal.