A PIECE of urban art which featured children playing has been destroyed after someone complained it showed bare midriffs.

Southend artist John Bulley was commissioned to paint the mural on a wall at the Epic Quest school in the One Love Centre, in Wallis Avenue, Southend.

It depicted youngsters jumping with their arms held high and showing a few inches of bare flesh around their tummies.

The gleeful scene included a girl sitting with her legs held slightly apart as she gazes at a star held in her hands.

But the images were enough to cause one person, said to be a parent, to dismiss the artwork as indecent.

The school’s proprietor asked Mr Bulley to alter the scene, but instead he whitewashed it all in disgust.

He said: “Apparently a mother complained about the painting of a girl on the wall. She said her legs were apart and it was an inappropriate image for a school and the kids jumping were showing their midriffs.

“Jules Esposito, the owner and headmaster, was very apologetic and not a little embarrassed, but had to ask me to cover up the offending imagery. I thought he was joking at first.

“He said maybe I could cover the belly buttons. It’s my work and I wasn’t going to do that, so I whitewashed it all. Quite frankly, I think it’s ridiculous.

It’s not just a school, but a community centre.”

Mr Bulley, who is set to start work at the school as an art teacher, has been behind a number of urban art pieces around the town, including famous film gangsters who adorn a derelict building opposite the Kursaal in Southend.

Julian Esposito, the school’s proprietor, denied there had been any specific complaints, saying it was just Facebook rumour mongering.

He said: “Some people expressed a need for change and that they would like to see something else more appropriate.”