MASKED vigilantes painted over a controversial barbers shop mural said to dishonour a village’s war dead in broad daylight while customers sat inside having their hair cut, its owner has claimed.

The shock development comes as Lads and Dads owner Janice Stevens claims she has been the victim of death threats since The Northern Echo broke the story on Friday (March 7).

Yesterday (Monday), she told the Echo: “I’m livid.

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“But I’m not finished. Watch this space.”

The huge mural showed Edward Scissorhands holding his blade hands menacingly towards the throat of Mr T with the slogan: “I pity the fool who don’t go to... Lads and Dads.”

Ms Stevens had it painted on the gable end of her new walk-in barbers to celebrate its opening in her native Sherburn Village, County Durham, last month.

But it overlooked a world wars memorial and Durham County Council ordered it be removed.

Ms Stevens refused, risking a fine of up to £1,000.

But the plot thickened when the mural was painted over in a red, brick-like colour on Friday.

Ms Stevens said two men wearing ski masks carried out the unauthorised job on Friday lunchtime, while she was at her other barbers, in Coxhoe.

“I was livid. I would never have commissioned that,” she said.

“If it had caused massive upset I would have taken it down. But everyone was asking why I took it down.”

Further, after Friday’s story, the mother-of-eight says she was the victim of death threats online.

On the Lads and Dads Facebook page on Saturday, she wrote: “Oh how refreshing it is not to wake up to some drunken threats to me and my business.

“If you have anything worth saying don’t wait until you’re paralytic. Come and see me face to face and I’ll explain why I did the mural. Spineless.”

Ms Stevens has declined to take the matter to the police but said it was not over.