Bookmaker Paddy Power has confirmed that no trees were harmed in the making of its latest online marketing stunt – and said the plan all along was to raise awareness for the Amazon rainforest.

The Irish firm was embroiled in fresh controversy on Sunday when an image appeared online of a section of Amazonian rainforest cut to show support for England’s World Cup bid.

Twitter went alight with complaints as the Paddy Power image went global ahead of the tournament which kicks-off this Thursday.

But Paddy Power responded to the criticism by revealing that the controversial images were manufactured and designed to raise awareness of the plight of the rainforests.

The bookmaker confirmed to Irish website that the images were manipulated.

A statement from Paddy Power said: “Not a single tree was harmed in the Amazon.

“Paddy Power admits it was a bit out of left field to raise awareness of deforestation by pretending to chop down the Amazon, but we’ve been twiddling our thumbs since the Premier League ended and had a bit of time on our hands before the World Cup kicked off in Brazil.

“Greenpeace told us that in the Amazon an area the size of 122 football pitches is chopped down every 90 minutes, which is shocking.

“Paddy Power’s #Shavetherainforest stunt helps to haul this issue into the public light, with our own little mischievous twist.

“Many people thought Paddy had chopped down a load of trees. We can’t trust Paddy to put his pants on in the morning or eat a Sunday roast without getting gravy on his best shirt, God knows what he’d be like operating heavy machinery.”

The report reveals that Paddy Power used a program called MODO to create a 3-D model of a section of rainforest 85km away from Manaus, capital of the state of Amazonas in northern Brazil and host venue when England plays Italy this Saturday.

Each of the 1.5 million trees were created individually.

Paddy Power’s statement added: “There was no helicopter. In fact, we didn’t even set foot in Brazil.

“We knew we’d drop off a fair few Christmas card lists on Sunday, but we couldn’t resist a bit of fake twitter mischief to highlight an important issue to football fans as our World Cup warm-up.

“At least it gave people something to get animated about during last night’s England-Honduras bore fest.”