LONDON: A chocolate billboard lovingly assembled by UK confectionery firm Thorntons in the capital's Covent Garden shopping area was devoured by the great British public and massed ranks of tourists in just three hours.

The promotional Easter sign was expected to stay standing for around a week, but its 10 chocolate bunnies, 72 giant chocolate eggs and 128 chocolate panels, each weighing 2kg, proved irresistible to sweet-toothed passers-by.

Commented shell-shocked chocolatier Barry Colenso, who designed the billboard: "I had to give it a lot of thought. Special moulds needed to be made for the thicker-than-normal eggs. There was no chance for a dry run."

Thorntons plumped for the world's first edible billboard to celebrate its holiday season resurgence after sales melted away last summer.

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff