A controversial billboard advertising this year’s Super Soapbox Challenge has been accused of dragging Barrow 'back to the gutter'.

Th advertisement outside Barrow Raiders’ Craven Park features a 2019 participant taking part in the challenge, running in a shirt and underwear with a ‘censored’ sign covering his pants.

Paid for by Barrow’s Business Improvement District (BID), the billboard sparked anger from the Barrow Business Concerned Rate (BBCR) group, which said it was not promoting the right image for an event in the town.

Colin Garnett, manager at Barrow BID, rejected BBCR’s claims.

He said: “Advertising is advertising; I think when you are doing an advert, you don’t want it to be like everybody else’s.

“You want an advert that people will see and comment on.

“Do I think it is working as an advert for us? Yes I do.

“I think it shows a fun event and it has got people talking.

“I wouldn’t apologise to anyone for the advert; it was intended to get people talking and that is what it has done.

“There is nothing controversial about it, you can’t see anything, it’s just getting people thinking and talking and what you want adverts to do.”

Eddy Wright, who is a member at BBCR, argued the billboard’s image was 'not appropriate'.

He argued: “It is not appropriate, and we would look at something more suitable for the general public.

“The censored sign does not send out the right image for Barrow.

“This photograph clearly suggests that this gentleman is not dressed.

“We would have preferred more thought-out advertisement.”

One reader from The Mail also believes it is inappropriate.

Stephen Snell said: “Surely out of thousands of photos of last event they could have chosen a more tasteful advert?”

In a poll ran by The Mail, 24 per cent of voters believed the billboard should be brought down, with 76 per cent saying they did not believe it should.