London, Sep 5 (ANI): The Church of England is said to have dropped a legal action it filed against a photographer who used a sacred altar for an erotic photoshoot.
The pictures of semi-naked models, which showed them cavorting around a graveyard and inside the church, had been taken at St Michael Penkivel Church in Cornwall by Andy Craddock, 43.
One picture showed two models, called Kate and Bex, fondling each other on a cloth-draped altar, while another showed a partially clothed woman lying on a grave.
The Diocese of Truro launched legal action against photographer Craddock for trespass and not having permission to take photographs, and it also accused him of blasphemy.
A solicitor's letter from Reverend Andrew Yates at the church ordered him to remove the photos from his website within 24 hours, and "begin destruction of all copies of the images in your possession or under your control".
But Craddock, who takes erotic fetish snaps during secret photoshoots at churches across the UK, ignored the letter and calls from the church's solicitors Michelmores.
He claimed they were powerless to stop him, and defended the photos as "art".
The 13th century church, which was used in Rowan Atkinson's 2005 comedy 'Keeping Mum', about a serial killer in a quiet village, has now dropped the case.
"People in the locality where he lives are not best pleased with him, and nor are the church," Sky News quoted Jeremy Dowling, a spokesman for the Diocese of Truro, as saying.
"But the case has been dropped. We thought it would be better to do that rather than give Mr Craddock continued publicity.
"If he had done the same thing, say in a mosque for instance, all hell would have been let loose... he probably wouldn't have just got a letter," he stated.
But Craddock has defended his actions, saying that the pictures would not be offensive to many.
"I can see how my photos could cause offence, but I think they would only be an offence to a minority of people," he said.
"It's a difficult thing, it may be a bit twee, but historically artists have offended people. Van Gogh painted prostitutes...and Banksy sprays stuff on public buildings.
"But I don't like the way the church went about their complaint. If Andrew Yates had sat down with me, face-to-face, I would have listened to him.
"I think it shows a level of cowardice hiding behind a solicitor, it's not the sort of openness I'd expect from a man of God," he added. (ANI)