'Shocking' flyer advertising guns and knives in Sheffield is pulled as police investigate

A arms seller in Sheffield has pulled a flyer advertising guns and fearsome-looking knives after it provoked a backlash from some horrified residents.

Saturday, 28th April 2018, 8:15 am
Updated Saturday, 28th April 2018, 1:46 pm
The flyer which one resident branded 'shocking'. The supplier's name and contact details have been blanked out

More than 1,000 of the leaflets, promoting weapons including air pistols and a 'Predator' knife with a 20-inch blade, were distributed to homes in the city by a business in Hillsborough.

But the shop's owner says no more will be delivered after the advertisement prompted complaints from some members of the public and was reported by local councillors to police.

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Some recipients felt the flyers, offering a free gift on orders over £100, were particularly distasteful given the recent spate of stabbings and shootings in Sheffield.

Police said they were working with councillors, the firearms licensing department and Trading Standards after concerns were raised by some Hillsborough residents.

One woman, who lives in Hillsborough but asked not to be named, said: "I'm absolutely disgusted and shocked by this piece of junk mail that has just been shoved through our letterbox."

A Southey resident, who also wished to remain anonymous, said she 'couldn't believe' the company was allowed to sell air guns and knives like this and found it 'absolutely shocking' the flyers were being distributed in a community where someone had recently been stabbed to death in broad daylight.

The owner of the shop, which The Star has chosen not to name following complaints from readers, said he decided to pull the flyers after receiving a 'few complaints' but he insisted the shop was following the law and had done nothing wrong.

"People are too quick to demonise items like these, which are used by law-abiding citizens who collect knives, use them as tools or enjoy shooting as a sport," he said.

"I think the trouble is that if you don't use them you don't understand and don't believe anyone else should be using them.

"Banning knives won't stop people stabbing one another. These items don't kill people, people do, and if you banned knives those people would still find a way."

New laws will soon prevent anyone buying a knife online from having it delivered to a residential address, and the retailer said the flyers had been sent out partly to help replace business which might be lost due to this legislation.

He added that anyone buying knives at his shop is required to provide proof of age, and a register is kept of those who have purchased air pistols.

Hillsborough ward councillor Josie Paszek said she had contacted police after being alerted to the flyers by a shocked resident.

"On a personal level I wish these weapons were banned entirely. As someone who lives in the area I totally understand people's concern regarding the aggressive marketing of the weapons together with the fact that they are offering a service where purchasers are not required to come to the premises, which are required by law to have surveillance, to make a purchase," she added.

Inspector Colette Fitzgibbons, of the Sheffield West neighbourhood policing team, said: "We have been dealing with concerns from some Hillsborough residents about a flyer that has come through the door advertising knives and guns for sale.

"We have been working with our councillors, firearms licensing department and trading standards on this matter and will continue to do so.

"I am reassured that there will be no further leaflet drop but thank you to those people who have contacted their local councillors with their concerns. It has meant that we have quickly been able to address the matter."