First the Fire Brigade's poster boys were banned from doing a charity car wash, then questions were asked about whether they were even real firefighters.

To add insult to injury, the people appearing to question their bona-fides were fellow fire fighters from Epsom fire station.

The fiasco started last week when Sainbury's caved-in to pressure and banned the planned car wash from its store in Kiln Lane store, Epsom.

Several people complained that it was too risque for their town - their ire apparently sparked by posters plastered around the store of the firemen posing topless.

Only after Sainsbury's pulled the plug on the event did it emerge that the men, whose topless charity calendar has clocked up over 1m sales, would actually have been washing the cars fully clothed.

There were dozens of tweets from angry residents condemning the ban as sad and unnecessary.

Epsom firefighters then added fuel to the fire by posting a comment on our online story inviting people to see "REAL firefighters" at their open day next month.

The poster team hit back saying: "The guys mentioned are REAL Firemen. They donate their time to model in the calendar to raise money for The Firefighters Charity every year. It sold it's millionth copy in 2011 and has raised a significant amount of money for the above cause.

"It seems it has all been a huge misunderstanding ..."