Abingdon locals were left puzzled after the town's iconic holy man statue was spotted wearing a red cloak bearing a mysterious logo.

Some assumed the new outfit was a nod to the festive season, with others speculating about a deeper meaning.

But the Oxford Mail can reveal that the statue's new attire was the work of climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion Abingdon.

A spokesperson for the group said the red symbolised "the blood we share with all species".

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They continued: "The monk was dressed as an Extinction Rebellion red rebel.

"Our group wants to say that, despite COVID restrictions, we still love the planet and everyone that lives in it."

However, it's bad news for those wanting to get a glimpse of the statue's new outfit for themselves.

Read also: Abingdon's holy man statue in search for loving owner

"Yesterday, the monk's outfit was removed by someone calling himself 'Destroy the Environment'. His motivation is a mystery to us," the spokesperson said.

There has been mixed reaction to the wooden statue's dress.

"I’m glad someone dressed him up. What a mess he is normally, it’s an embarrassing eyesore," said one resident.

Read also: Extinction Rebellion members from Oxford in court over HS2 protest

But the outfit wasn't to everyone's taste, with one local calling it "pointless desecration".

Another joked: "The poor monk".

It isn't the first time the statue on Marcham Road roundabout has been used to promote a cause.

The monk is often dressed up by people wanting to promote a message, and was once decked out in a pink sash to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month.