A student is facing police and trading standards examinations after public outcries over a website selling products targeting the disabled, gay people and victims of crime.
The site offers items featuring homophobic slogans and also attacks wheelchair users, celebrates terrorist attacks and glorifies child killers Ian Huntley and Myra Hindley.
Its owner, Warren McKenzie, a University of Central Lancashire student, boasts it is the “sickest shop” on the Internet. Gifts on the website are advertised as being “ideal for hatred”.
Merchandise ridiculing gay issues includes mugs that say “HIV positive”. Philomene Evans, chairman of Preston HIV support group, told the Lancashire Evening Post, “It’s unacceptable behaviour. HIV is not a joke – it affects real people, some children.”
Mr McKenzie, 25, told reporters he had found a gap in the novelty market, “We have been going three or four months now and we have found a real niche. It has spread like wildfire.”
“The more shocking, the more I sell.”
He claims to make at least £2,000 a week from sales and said, “If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.”
Jim Potts, from Lancashire Trading Standards, said: ” We were not aware of this site nor have we received any complaints as yet. We have now referred the site to the Advertising Standards Authority who can exercise controls over offensive advertising and will await their consideration.
“We will also liaise with Lancashire Police to determine if any of the materials on the site may be controlled by the Indecent Displays (Control) Act 1981 or any other specific legislation.”