A feel-good project that started with the idea of painting stones and leaving them around the village for people to find appears to have been hijacked after a number of stones were found with offensive words on them.

Marlow Rocks organiser Elsie Ken previously told the Marlow Free Press the group had been set up to encourage people of all ages to get outdoors and “brighten their day”.

But the community initiative, which sees mostly young children decorating stones and then hiding them around Marlow and Marlow Bottom while leaving clues on the group’s Facebook page as to their whereabouts, has been somewhat spoiled after residents found "shock rocks" with the words p*** off and c*** written on them.

Teenager Rebecca Spencer, whose eight-year-old brother Finley Brooker picked one up at the park in Shelley Road, told the Free Press she was “not impressed”.

The 13-year-old said: “I took it off him quite quickly. I wasn’t very impressed because an eight-year-old found it and I didn’t want him to repeat the word.

“He asked me what it said and I told him it was a rude word.”

Finley and Rebecca’s mother Leanne Brooker said she was shocked at the discovery, adding: “We were fuming – really cross.

“The whole concept of Marlow Rocks is really nice and someone is going around trying to destroy it. It’s quite disheartening.

“If Finley had seen what it said it probably would have scared him because he is quite sensitive, and he wouldn’t have wanted to go out and look for them anymore.”

Will Goodchild, whose six-year-old son also found a couple of stones with inappropriate language near Seymour Court Road, said while it was a shame he does not believe it is intended to be malicious.

He said: “I think it’s just secondary school kids thinking it’s funnier than it is. It’s teenagers being teenagers. It’s a shame really.

“It’s disappointing that someone has done that. I read it before my son picked it up and I had to explain to him that it wasn’t the stone we were looking for.

“They are not really thinking about the consequences of younger kids trying to find them.”

Marlow Rocks declined to comment on the incident.