An ‘irresponsible’ and ‘offensive’ flyer advertising guns and knives for sale in Sheffield has been banned after a horrified member of the public complained.
The leaflet was dropped through the letterboxes of around 1,000 homes in the cityin April by the retailer Atlas Arms, which has a shop on Middlewood Road in Hillsborough.
It featured photos of weapons including a ‘Predator’ knife, a ‘long reach machete’ and ‘sniper rifle’, and promised customers free delivery and a complimentary gift with orders over £100.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated a complaint from a member of the public who had received the leaflet and branded it ‘offensive and irresponsible’.
The seller defended the advert, saying it was aimed at people over the age of 18 and stated that photo ID was required on receipt of any items.
But the watchdog upheld the complaint, concluding that the leaflet was likely to cause ‘serious or widespread offence’ and was ‘irresponsible’ since it could be viewed by children at the homes to which it was sent.
It found the advert breached the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code rules relating to ‘social responsibility’ and ‘harm and offence'.
“We considered that the presentation of large images of the air rifle and machete in the ad alongside promotional messaging, and the decorative nature and titles of some of the items, contributed to the likelihood of the ad causing offence to consumers,” stated the ruling, published today, Wednesday, August 29.
The verdict continues: “Additionally, the ad featuring guns and knives had been delivered directly into people’s homes, during a climate of widely reported concerns about rising levels of violent crime, in particular knife crime, both nationally and in Sheffield.
“Therefore in that context, we considered those factors also contributed to the ad being likely to cause offence to consumers.”
The watchdog ruled that the advert must not appear again in its current form and told Atlas Arsm to ensure future marketing material is prepared responsibly and not distributed in an untargeted manner.
Atlas Arms told The Star in April that it had pulled the flyer from circulation following concerns raised by residents.
Hillsborough ward councillor Josie Paszek criticised the ‘aggressive marketing’ of the weapons at the time and reported the matter to police.