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The vertically challenged French president is said to have banned statuesque bodyguards despite their added value of being able to spot potential attackers in a crowd.

A police source told Le Parisien that “there’s no point recruiting supermen” as “large-sized” candidates stood little chance of being taken on.

The presidential guard, known by its acronym GSPR, has been beefed up from 50 to 80 men since 2002, when a mentally disturbed man managed to take a potshot at Jacques Chirac, Mr Sarkozy’s predecessor, with his hunting rifle before being overpowered.

President Sarkozy is notoriously sensitive and secretive about his diminutive height of around 5ft 5 ins – making him shorter than Napoleon.

He has gone out of his way not to stand small on the world stage or when next to his 5ft 10 ins former model wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, who mostly wears flat pumps.

Besides wearing specially-designed stacked shoes, Mr Sarkozy has been caught standing on tiptoes in global leader group shots and stood on a box to remain shoulder to shoulder with Barack Obama, the US President, when the pair gave speeches to commemorate the Normandy landings last year.

But his most controversial move to date on the height front was when his aides bussed in a group of factory workers last September who claimed they had been picked to appear alongside the French leader because they were short.

The Elysée dismissed as “grotesque and absurd” reports that it had stage managed the visit to the Faurecia auto parts company in Normandy, despite the fact that staff confirmed they had been selected because they were “no bigger than the President”.

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Article courtesy telegraph.co.uk

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