If you're going to a tarts and vicars party and you are actually a reverend, then it would be much more fun to go in sexy fancy dress.

This is exactly what Rev Martin Wray from Horsley Hill in South Shields thought when the town decided to hold a fundraising evening for charity, the Shields Gazette reports.

However, the idea seems to have gone down like a lead balloon among parishioners at St Lawrence the Martyr Church, who claim the party-loving rev has brought the place into disrepute.

They insist he should not have allowed himself to be photographed in the local newspaper in high heels and a skirt because it was inappropriate.

Poor Rev Wray has been so upset by the whole episode that he has been on long-term sick leave for three months, but a friend told the newspaper the incident has been blown out of all proportion.

"He is being pilloried for something that was meant to be just a bit of fun in support of a good cause," the source said.

After all, going along in vicar fancy dress wouldn't have made much sense, the pal pointed out.

Perhaps given the villagers' sense of humour - or lack thereof - it's a good job he didn't go dressed as the devil!