A police and crime commissioner has criticised a road sign that appeared to warn against orthodox Jews.

After the sign sparked outrage, its creator, freelance photographer Franck Allais apologised, saying it was an art project and not hate crime.

He said the red, triangular sign depicting the silhouette of a Jewish man was not meant to cause offence.

But the PCC for Surrey, David Munro, said the artist’s work was “incredibly offensive”.

He said: “When this was brought to my attention, I was dismayed with the true lack of thought given by the artist for the distress this could cause to those of Jewish backgrounds.”

He added: “By responding to this, I hope to reassure the public that offensive material such as this will not be tolerated.”

The sign’s installation just 200 yards away from a synagogue in a London borough with a huge Jewish population prompted a neighbourhood watch group to report it for anti-Semitism.

Placed in the heart of Stamford Hill, north London, it was spotted by a member of a Jewish neighbourhood group, Shomrim NE London, and reported to police on Tuesday.