In a legal first a man on Instagram is to sue his beard, claiming the luxurious face-fungus has eclipsed his own popularity on the photo and video-sharing social networking service, and is plotting to murder him to carry on the account on its own.

Hipster Struan Mackenzie (28) had amassed almost 300,000 followers posting his daily exploits as a Hoxton-based micro brewer, when suddenly his beard starting getting likes all on its own.

Followers stopped addressing Mackenzie directly in their replies to his posts, but instead began quizzing the beard about its lifestyle, how it felt about being stuck to Struan’s face and why it didn’t think of branching out on its own.

Mr Mackenzie said: ‘I think the beard has acquired some kind of malevolent consciousness of its own and I can no longer trust it. Just say it decides to smother me one night when I’m sleeping? Thing is though I don’t want to shave it off as that’s my image gone down the drain.’

My beard’s on my bottles and all other promotional materials. It’s my brand. What’s an East London artisan hipster brewer without his big bushy beard? Customers would never take me seriously without one.

Instagram refused to comment on the matter, meanwhile the beard is believed to be seeking legal aid to mount a defence against Mr Mackenzie’s proposed lawsuit demanding the beard must submit to being restrained at night in a beard net.’