Cromer Carnival has issued a public apology after a prankster dressed as convicted paedophile Rolf Harris won a prize in its fancy dress competition - while holding a poster that read: 'I touch kids'.

Eastern Daily Press: Cromer Carnival is one of the biggest events in North Norfolk. Picture: James Bass PhotographyCromer Carnival is one of the biggest events in North Norfolk. Picture: James Bass Photography (Image: (C)James Bass 2017)

Organisers were blasted by furious parents after posting a picture of Oliver Denton, 29, wearing the former TV star's trademark specs and beard on their official Facebook page.

The fancy dress dance is the last of a week-long series of events staged by Cromer Carnival which attracts tens of thousands of visitors, many of them families with young children, to the town each summer.

Tony Shipp, chairman of the Cromer Carnival committee, said: 'We would like to apologise wholeheartedly for this. The picture had been taken by a volunteer, as part of an album of pictures and uploaded automatically to our Carnival Facebook page.

'As soon as we were made aware of the specific photograph, we acted straight away to remove the image. The photo was removed within 39 minutes of it being made public.

'The fancy dress competition is judged by volunteers and at the time of judging, the individual was said to be an 'artist'. I and the Carnival Committee would like to apologise for any offence caused.'

The picture, which was with others of children enjoying Norfolk's traditional Cromer Carnival, showed the prankster being presented with a certificate from a carnival official as he holds an explicit sketch that is signed 'R Harris' and also included the words: 'I love Jimmy Savile'.

Lauren Ball wrote: 'This is absolutely disgusting and sick. Celebrating someone making a joke out of something so serious.'

Martin Hipkin added: 'Not really appropriate. Seriously Cromer Carnival, you should be ashamed.'

Carnival chairman Tony Shipp said judges did not realise Oliver was supposed to be pervert Harris.

Rolf fell from grace after he was convicted of sexually assualting three teenage girls between 1971 and 1983

Mr Denton declined to comment.