A religious order that claims to have seen an apparition of the Virgin Mary has been criticised for displaying bumper stickers about abortion near a primary school.

Devotees of the vision, nick-named Our Lady of Surbiton, meet near Christ Church Primary School in Manor Drive, Surbiton, each day.

But bumper stickers about abortion have upset neighbours and mothers at the school.

Mother-of-three Sally Gooding, 32, from Surbiton, said: “The first time I came up here I did not pay the women much attention.

“They are mostly old ladies, singing, and it all seemed quite sweet and innocent, but I have to say I was quite shocked by some of the bumper stickers.

“Everyone is entitled to an opinion but this kind of stuff is very right wing and fundamentalist. There is a primary school in this road and I would not want my kids exposed to such a narrow-minded view.”

One resident, who asked not to be named in case the order “started praying” for him, said: “Up to now they have simply been an irritant because they are always there at midday.

“If they want to go there every day and pray, fine, even if I think they are completely absurd, but to put up a notice saying ‘We pray for souls of aborted children’ opposite a school, I think it is dreadful.”

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was formed in 1984 after Patricia de Menezes claimed she saw the Madonna in a tree near her Surbiton home.

The religious group said Miss de Menezes had been getting messages from God ever since.

But the group was told it was not part of the official Roman Catholic Church in 2007 by the Vatican.

Kitty Fox, from the congregation, said: “Abortion is the cause of the problems in the world and the Lord is helping us to provide the cure.”

When asked if she was worried about offending people Miss Fox said: “Why should we be afraid when doing the work of the Lord?

"People don’t like hearing the truth but the truth is the truth and it needs to be said."