A search for pair-produced massive coloured scalar particles decaying to a four-jet final state is performed by the ATLAS experiment at the LHC in proton–proton collisions at √s = 7 TeV. The analysed data sample corresponds to an integrated luminosity of 4.6 fb−1. No deviation from the Standard Model is observed in the invariant mass spectrum of the two-jet pairs. A limit on the scalar gluon pair production cross section of 70 pb (10 pb) is obtained at the 95 % confidence level for a scalar gluon mass of 150 GeV (350 GeV). Interpreting these results as mass limits on scalar gluons, masses ranging from 150 GeV to 287 GeV are excluded at the 95 % confidence level.