An unholy row has broken out after Jesus was depicted in scarecrow form as part of a town’s annual festival.

A figure suspended from a cross was put up on a lamppost in Stokes Drive, Godmanchester, on Sunday, and its appearance prompted a debate on social media.

With the theme for this year being musicals, the assumption is it represents Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar.

But there have been calls for it to be taken down from people who have been offended by it.

Posting on Facebook, Sarah Fairclough wrote: “I appreciate the theme of this year's competition, however, for me Jesus as a scarecrow is just disrespectful. I was horrified when I came home earlier.

“It's absolutely disgusting and needs taking down now ... if you want to be so disrespectful put it up at your own house.”

Karen Smith added: “Must admit, as a Christian I am feeling uncomfortable about this. A bit shocked when I came home from church.”

Others were full of praise for the efforts that had gone into making it. Rachel Claxton said: “I don't think it's disrespectful and I'm a Christian.

“It looks like an excellent scarecrow depicting Christ from a musical about his life and death.”

Speaking to The Hunts Post, vicar of Godmanchester and current mayor, the Reverend David Underwood, said: “I think it's a well-presented scarecrow.

“I am convinced it was not done with any intention to offend anyone. Personally, as a Christian, I wasn't offended by it.

“This was done tastefully and it certainly was not designed to make fun of anyone's faith.”

The scarecrow festival is held annually to coincide with the run up to Gala Day, which this year is on Saturday, July 5, when the competition will be judged. Other entries dotted around town include Mary Poppins and the Phantom of the Opera, while there's also one of the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.