A POSTER of a Conservative candidate on a South Lakeland road could spook passing horses, a resident has complained.

The billboard was one of two promoting Westmorland and Lonsdale challenger James Airey which were put up alongside the B6524 at Old Hutton near Kendal.

But it came under fire from local resident Jamie Normington who took a photograph of it and complained to the local Tory group via Twitter.

He said it ‘obstructed’ a right of way, was made of single-use plastic and amounted to ‘fly-tipping,’ – adding it could make horses skittish.

He wrote: “You’ve outdone yourselves here. Any rider/farmer will tell you this can really spook horses.”

He added: “I’ve seen a horse with a very experienced rider looking after it – spooked just by a new red roadworks sign. This stretch of road has horses on it daily.”

However, Cllr Airey, a farmer and leader of the opposition Conservatives on the county council, said: “I’m sorry that my face scares not only children but animals now as well. All parties have posters and it’s all part of the election campaign.”

Cllr Airey added that the placards had the permission of landowner John Robinson and care was always taken where they were placed.

Alan Hiscox, of The British Horse Society, said horses would ‘move quickly away’ from what perceived dangers. These included ‘new or unfamiliar’ sights.

“This could result in the injury of themselves and their rider, as well as passing pedestrians, cyclists or motorists, particularly when riding out on a public highway or bridleway,” said Mr Hiscox.

The placards have also been subject to vandalism, with one billboard being defaced by black spray paint and another disappearing altogether.

However, Mr Robinson said he intended to leave the vandalised placard in place to illustrate how "small minded" the culprit was.

Cllr Airey pointed out that such vandalism had been a recurring problem with Conservative posters during this election campaign.

“I just wish people would leave them alone because they won’t be there forever and it’s all part of the democratic process,” said Cllr Airey, who represents Ulverston West.