A man has been allowed to wear a pasta strainer on his head in his driving license photo on the basis that it is “religious headgear”.

Niko Alm, an Austrian Aethiest first applied for the licence three years ago after reading that headgear was allowed in official pictures only for confessional reasons.

Alm convinced Austrian authorities that wearing a sieve was a requirement of his religion called, wait for it ….Pastafarianism.

Naturally, they thought he had noodles in his head and they even told him to obtain a doctor's certificate to prove he was "psychologically fit" to drive.

Indeed, he strained to prove his credulity  and was able to prove he wasn’t bonkers at all. Now he has now finally won the right to have a pasta strainer on his head.

Later a police spokesman explained that the licence was issued because Mr Alm's face was fully visible in the photo.

"The photo was not approved on religious grounds. The only criterion for photos in driving licence applications is that the whole face must be visible," said Manfred Reinthaler, a police spokesman in Vienna.

Alm invented the plan three years ago as a way of making a serious, if ironic, point about religion and its influence on society.

A self-confessed atheist, he says he belongs to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster – a light-hearted faith whose members call themselves Pastafarians (got any sauce with that?).

The group's website states that "the only dogma allowed in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma".

In response to pressure for American schools to teach the Chrisitan theory of creationism as an alternative to normal biology, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote to the Kansas School Board asking for the Pastafarian version of how we all came to be on this earth to be taught

to their schoolchildren.

It lay in the hands of a man known as Papa Giuseppe (okay, so we made that bit up).

The next step, Alm told the Austrian news agency APA, is to apply to the Austrian authorities for Pastafarianism to become an officially recognised faith.

I am a bit hungry after writing that up, are you?