A church in Rochdale has issued an apology and removed two donkeys from it’s nativity scene following an incident yesterday involving one of the cast.

Following complaints from animal rights campaigners who likened the scene to “Victorian exploitation” the donkeys were taken to a sanctuary where they will spend Christmas out of harm’s way.

A spokesperson for the donkey sanctuary told us that;

 “the children of Rochdale should be used to donkeys. They have been giving donkey rides along Rochdale beach for years and we wanted to give something back to the church as the nuns are still rather cross about the mix up when the burkini ban came in.”

The incident happened this afternoon as schools began to break up for the Christmas holidays and some of the youngsters attending the nativity service were said to be somewhat traumatised. We asked the mother of the lad playing Balthazar, the third Wise Man, for comment but she would only say that she had no idea why he bit the donkeys.

The part of the donkeys will be played by two Japanese Akitas for the rest of the run in an effort to avoid a similar incident.

Get monthly highlights in your inbox