A Lincolnshire fire service has axed children’s character Fireman Sam as its mascot because he’s not "inclusive" enough.
Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue have urged staff not to include the character in future advertising material, with their chief fire officer, Les Britzman, calling the cartoon "outdated".
Instead, the service will use its own characters - fire extinguishers called Freddy, Filbert and Penelope - in future promotions.
Mr Britzman, said Fireman Sam did not "reflect the fire service today, in terms of both the job itself and our workforce", and should be renamed "Firefighter Sam".
Freddy (left) Fireman Sam (centre), and Filbert (right)
He said the character perpetuated the stereotype of firefighting being a profession geared towards men, and was the reason "more women don't want to be firefighters".
According to government statistics, 5.2 per cent of firefighters in England were women in 2017.
Lucy Masoud, who was a firefighter for 12 years, described the decision by Mr Britzman as “absolutely ridiculous”.
She told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer that fire services “bang the drum for equality” but need to take more practical measures to encourage women to join.
“It’s absolute nonsense because if you go to most fire stations across the country, and Lincolnshire specifically, if you look for female accommodation and female facilities, they don’t have any or if they do it’s completely inadequate.”
The ban has also sparked debate on Twitter, with Fireman Sam appearing the top five UK Twitter trends.
Olympic diver Sarah Barrow said Britain had “gone mad” and tweeted: “I’m done. Axing #firemansam because he’s a white male. Postman Pat - you’re up next #britainsgonemad”.