A SHOP in the heart of Horsham selling imitation firearms and smoking paraphernalia has come under fire.
Street Value has a prime site in West Street but Horsham district councillor Laurence Deakins (Con, Denne) told the County Times: “It’s not appropriate for Horsham high street, it’s completely out of character with the town.
“I think it’s glorifying guns and sending out the completely wrong message to the youth of Horsham.’’
Mr Deakins said he was particularly concerned that they were on sale during the summer holidays and for the lead up to Christmas.
“While I’m sure there’s an age limit for selling these weapons I don’t think there’s a common sense limit and they could get into the hands of anyone.”
Mr Deakins said there had been numerous incidents around the country where replica firearms had been mistaken for real guns by the police.
The shop also sell bongs, a type of pipe commonly associated with the smoking of cannabis.
On these particular items he added: “The effects of drugs can have disastrous consequences for people’s lives and the fact that paraphernalia commonly associated with drug use is being sold in this store is worrying.
“I think there’s no place for these kind of items to be sold in the town centre and I hope they are taken off sale promptly.
“I will contact the police to have a discussion about the potential effects of selling these items in the high street and utilise all available measures that I have at my disposal as a councillor.”
Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Deakins said he been contacted by six members of the public concerned about the items on sale in the last 24 hours.
It’s not illegal to sell BB guns or bongs. A police spokeswoman said people didn’t require a licence to own BB guns but under the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 it was an offence for anyone under the age of 18 to purchase them and proof of age was required.
Under the legislation the imitation firearms must have bright parts on them and it is an offence to sell plain black weapons.
Ricky Juneja, 28, manager of the store, told the County Times on Tuesday: “I spoke to my seller yesterday. We’re not allowed to sell them in black but they are different colours. We’re not allowed to sell them in black and I haven’t got any in black.
“I only sell to over 18s and I ask for their IDs. When I do sell to over 18s, I tell them not to use them in public.
“The picture might look black on the box but inside it’s all bright colours.”
They had also been checked by local police who hadn’t found anything wrong with the products, he added.
To purchase any of the bongs or other smoking paraphernalia people had to be 18 or over as well, he added.