Questions have been raised after damage has appeared on the statue of Licoricia of Winchester.

The life-sized sculpture of the 13th-century financier and her son, Asher, seems to have been disfigured around the boy’s face. Minor peeling can be seen around the figure’s eye, nose and mouth.

Reports online have suggested the statue, which was installed at Winchester Discovery Centre in February before later being unveiled by Prince Charles, was intentionally targeted as part of an 'antisemitic attack'.

The Jewish Chronicle - a historic weekly title based in London - quoted Jewish Winchester resident David del Monte as saying: "I fear that this could be an act of antisemitic vandalism.

"I think the council may need to look at improved CCTV for the statue. While most of Winchester has welcomed the artwork, there are some who have not."

The JC also said it was passed evidence of one local expressing hostile views about the statue. The resident reportedly wrote online:

“This is the council that took such pride in erecting a statue of a medieval loan shark and her slum-landlord progeny.”

However, trustee of the Licoricia of Winchester Appeal, Tony Stoller, has been quick to pour cold water on any claim the damage was targeted.

He said: "There is indeed some minor damage to the statue, although there is no reason to think it is targeted vandalism. We're examining how best it can be repaired, which ought to be straightforward. There is no suggestion whatever that it may be the result of any antisemitic action."