A Bradford vicar has condemned the sale of imitation crossbows at a city centre shop only days after self-styled Crossbow Cannibal Stephen Griffiths was jailed indefinitely for the murders of three women.
The Reverend Chris Howson, city centre mission priest, said he was outraged after seeing the realistic-looking imitation weapons in the window display of Barkers newsagent and novelty shop in Sunbridge Road.
Mr Howson described the crossbows – on sale alongside Samurai swords and imitation guns – as “deeply offensive”.
He said: “I think shops that sell imitation firearms, Samurai swords and crossbows should be closed down.
“There is something wrong in this culture which glorifies violence and murderers. There is the constant drip, drip, drip of violence and this is one example. We, as a society, need to be on our guard against things which lead to violence.”
He added: “The people of Bradford have been shocked by these horrific murders. We are trying to put the rightful image of Bradford across as it is – a safe and decent city full of good people – and to have shops selling imitation weapons like this is totally unacceptable.
“They are selling paraphernalia looking just like the weapons which this guy used and the imitation weapons are on sale barely 500 metres from where he lived.”
The shop was yesterday still selling the Armex Pistol Crossbows, for £14.99, despite pleas by Mr Howson for them to be removed immediately.
The owner was unavailable for comment when the shop was contacted by the Telegraph & Argus.
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “There is no need for a shop to have a special licence but there are certain obligations under the Violent Crime Reduction Act, such as imitation firearms must be brightly-coloured, and there are age restrictions. Cross-bows, for instance, must not be sold to under-18s.”
Val Summerscales, secretary of Brad-ford Chamber of Trade, said: “Our concern would be that the police are observing shops like this. It is the job of the police to decide what can be sold or not and we’d hope that shop owners would sell responsibly.”
The murder was caught on the building’s CCTV system. Griffiths was filmed pulling Miss Blamires’ body into his flat where he dismembered her and later boasted to police of eating parts of her. He also admitted the murder of prostitutes Shelley Armitage, 31, and Susan Rushworth, 43.
He is being held at Wakefield Prison where he is on hunger strike and on 24-hour suicide watch.