A council has been forced to distance itself from two bonfire effigies of Alex Salmond, which are now under investigation by police.
The two models of Scotland’s first minister were heralded as the centrepiece to the controversial Lewes celebrations last night. However police stepped in at the last minute to stop the models being burnt while investigating a complaint about the celebrations.
East Sussex County Council tweeted an image of one effigy, commenting: ‘A sneak preview of Alex Salmond and Nessie ahead of tonight's bonfire in Lewes - it just rolled up at County Hall.’
However the message has since been removed following a backlash from members of the public and angry Scots.
SNP councillor at Aberdeen City Council Graham Dickson confirmed he had lodged an official complaint with the East Sussex chief executive, stating the ‘crass and insulting effigy burning’ was ‘not what councils should be doing’.
East Sussex later clarified: ‘Please note that the Alex Salmond and Nessie models were created by Waterloo Bonfire Society #LewesBonfire and have NO connection to ESCC’.
The society said it had ‘no wish or intention to offend’.
A Sussex Police statement said: ‘We are aware of the portrayal of Scottish first minister Alex Salmond as an effigy at the 2014 Lewes Bonfire event and acknowledge that concerns have been raised.
‘Whilst we accept there is a long tradition of creating effigies of high-profile individuals in politics, sport, the media, etc, a complaint has nevertheless been received and will be investigated.’
Other effigies that have recently been burnt at the Lewes festivities include likenesses of Piers Morgan, US president George Bush and Osama bin Laden.