Rock legend Rod Stewart was forced to ask pub-goers to keep their distance due to Covid fears as he popped into a south Essex pub on Sunday.

Rod, 76, was joined by wife Penny, 50, in the packed boozer for Sunday lunch - with the couple arriving in their white Bentley 4X4.

Several people approached Rod for autographs but he asked not to be crowded due to concerns over Covid, according to pub staff.

Rocker Rod donned a personalised football jacket from his son's team - Bishop's Stortford Football Club - alongside his classic scruffy hair-do.

Rod ordered a pint of Brewers Gold ale and a spicy cajun chicken burger - costing around £20 - at the Barge Inn in Battlesbridge, around 45 minutes from his mansion home in Harlow.

Pub supervisor Chloe Guntrip, 25, said: "Rod and Penny were both really lovely.

"They sat down quite centrally in the pub and then everyone started to clock on to who they were.

"A couple of people were asking for autographs but he didn't want to have people around because of Covid."

Chloe said the couple ended up taking away their food after Rod received a phone call and announced they had to leave.

She said: "They had the drink and then took the food away.

"Penny actually left her cardigan on the seat so I had to run out and flag down their car as they were driving off!"