The French artist who created a red-triangle warning sign of a Jewish man and placed it in Stamford Hill has apologised for the offensive stunt

Franck Allais, a photographer, said the warning sign – which was reported to police as a hate crime – was in fact part of an artistic project, with other ‘warning’ signs showing an old woman, a man pushing his wheelchair and a cat.

Allais said it was meant as a comment on identity and that the sign in Stamford Hill, home to a large Orthodox population, was not intended to be anti-Semitic statement.

“It was a project about crossing the road, how everyone is different, everyone has an identity,” he said. “There is not only one sign in the street. I put more signs up in the street, but only this one got noticed. I am sorry for any offence caused.”

Jewish neighbourhood watch group Shomrim reported it to the Metropolitan Police and Hackney Council, saying it had caused “alarm and distress to local people”.

It was found fixed to a lamppost near a synagogue on Clapton Common. The image depicted a man in Orthodox dress within a triangular sign with a red outline that traditionally denotes danger in British road signs.

Hackney MP Diane Abbott called it “disgusting” and “unacceptable”, whilst Tottenham MP David Lammy said it was “despicable, nasty behaviour”.

Stephen Silverman from Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “This latest hateful incident shows the lengths to which anti-Semites are prepared to go to tell Jews that they are unwelcome in their own city.”