Charlie Hebdo special edition featuring cartoon of Prophet Mohamed to be sold in UK

There are concerns the number of editions being sent to Britain will not meet the expected demand

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The Independent Online

More than one thousand copies of the first edition of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo since the massacre which left 12 people dead, with its front cover depicting a cartoon of the Prophet Mohamed, will go on sale in the UK on Wednesday.

The special international edition appears to show the Prophet Mohamed against a green background with a tear streaming down his cheek, holding a sign reading “Je suis Charlie”, replicating the phrase meaning “I am Charlie” which was used as a show of unity in the wake of the attacks.

It will receive a limited sale in the UK. But there were concerns that the number of editions being sent to Britain will not meet the expected demand.

A spokesman for newspaper and magazine wholesaler Smiths News said:  “We are due to get a very limited supply of the title but full details are yet to be confirmed.”

The wholesaler indicated that it expected to receive around 1,000 copies.

Smiths News distributes a range of print media to 30,000 customers, ranging from large general retailers to smaller independent newsagents.

Menzies Distribution will also make copies available. A spokesman said: “I can confirm that Menzies Distribution will handle supplies of the upcoming Charlie Hebdo special edition. We don't expect to face particular security issues, but we will take whatever precautions our security team believe are sensible to ensure the safety of our employees.

“As the allocation process is still ongoing - and we don't know for certain our supply from the distributor - I'm unable to comment on the type of customers likely to receive copies.”

A spokesman for distributors Comag said the firm will also be involved in the distribution of the magazine but would not be handling a lot of copies. The spokesman said some customers would want more but he did not think the company would “be able to satisfy that”.

He added that customers interested in receiving the magazine are “specialist retailers, not newsagents.” No-one at the firm had indicated any worries about security, he added.

Up to three million copies of the edition are believed to have been printed in France ahead of tomorrow's publication date - well up from the magazine’s usual run of 60,000 copies.