Augsburg - Two men who sprayed a giant swastika on a roof in the southern German city of Augsburg as a "silly joke" were handed fines by a court on Wednesday of more than 5 000 euros (approx. R78 000) each.

The men, aged 30 and 31, admitted to using a high-pressure water blaster to spray the swastika on a dirty roof during a drunken barbecue, but said they had not intended to offend anyone.

When police started investigating the incident at the beginning of last year, the swastika apparently disappeared from the roof.

Judge Roland Fink found the defendants guilty of displaying an anti-constitutional symbol, but said there was no indication either of the two were right-wing extremists.

Displaying Nazi symbols and publicly denying the Holocaust - the systematic murder of Jews, homosexuals, Roma and political opponents by the Nazis - are criminal offences in Germany.