Religious groups have attacked Marks & Spencer for being “insensitive” after its latest outdoor advertising campaign, featuring a naked model, was posted on sites in devoutly religious areas.

The retail giant has been forced to replace posters with another execution, which features a clothed woman, on a number of sites following complaints from the local Jewish and Muslim communities.

An M&S spokeswoman admits some posters have been replaced but refuses to say how many sites have been affected. “This does not run into the hundreds,” she adds.

A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain says: “It was highly insensitive to place this explicit picture in or close to Muslim areas. Our children must be protected from this sort of pornography.”

There have also been nationwide reports of posters being defaced.

But James Murphy, managing partner at Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, the agency behind the ads, claims the “naked” execution had been thoroughly checked with all religious groups.

“We went to all the relevant bodies before we printed the posters,” he says, “including Jewish, Catholic and Muslim groups, and they did not object. We also had it approved by the Advertising Standards Authority.” The ASA admits it has received 54 complaints about the poster, but has ruled that the ad can continue to run.