Council twerps in Hartlepool were called “bananas” last night for putting up a plaque to explain that their town’s famous monkey statue isn’t racist.

Bedwetters at Hartlepool Borough Council are worried that the popular monument could offend people following the Black Lives Matter protests and scrutiny over statues.

According to local folklore, a monkey that washed ashore in the north-eastern town after the wreck of a ship during the Napoleonic Wars was hanged as a French spy.

People from Hartlepool are fond of the tale, which been the subject of songs, plays and books and the town’s football club mascot is a monkey called H’Angus.

But local authority bosses are worried that this story may give the impression the town is “unfriendly to foreigners”.

And despite the council noting that the story of the monkey being hanged is “not a factual event”, work is now underway to mitigate any negative perception with a plaque.

A spokesperson said: “We are working on an interpretation of the Hartlepool monkey legend with the intention of installing an explanatory sign or plaque on the statue.”

However, the news went down like a lead balloon, with many suggesting that the council was racist for assuming others would think the monkey had racial connotations.

One person said on Twitter: “How incredibly racist of the Hartlepool council to automatically link ethnic minorities with monkeys. They are doing exactly what they claim to be against.”

Another added: “Why would Black Lives Matter have a problem with a statue of a monkey? What is Hartlepool council implying here?”

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A third said: “Well that finally proves it. The #woke nutcases have lost any last shred of credibility.”

Dr Zareer Masani, a historian, has criticised the push to “cancel” the monkey, saying: “This is an example of tragedy ending as farce, virtue-signalling gone crazy. As this legend is probably a myth, will we be searching the Greek classics next for xenophobia?”

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