Tesco supermarket has apologised for targeting children as young as five with a line of blood-splattered, horror-themed colouring books.
The Colour Me Good - ARRGGGHHHH!! adult colouring books contain drawings of infamous scenes from 18-rated films such as Psycho, A Clockwork Orange, Hellraiser and The Shining. The book was being advertised for five to eight years olds on their website, despite having “more blood than you can shake a dagger at” inside.
Tesco said that the book had been inadvertently placed in the children's section of their website by a third-party publishing brand.
Speaking to the Independent, author Mel Elliot said that she had no idea how the book had been categorised in that section and that the supermarket giant had not contacted her to explain the error. “They don’t buy it from me", she said, "it’s bought from a third party so I honestly do not know how it ended up there.
“Perhaps it was because my products are quite difficult to categorise.
Her range of colouring books are sold all over the world and have never received negative feedback, she said.
Whilst Colour Me Good - ARRGGGHHHH!! was created specifically for adults, she said her four year old daughter enjoys using many of the colouring books sold on her online shop, Ilovemel.me. “She loves them, and there are none that I stop her from using,” she said.
“Some parents tweeted me today and said they had bought titles for their seven year olds and they really enjoyed them.
Ms Elliot said her books have proved extremely popular with adults and Penguin books will be publishing another title within the next two months.
In a statement, Tesco said they have "very clear guidelines" for third party sellers who list items on their website, and they were "sorry that on this occasion they weren’t followed."
Their statement added: "We have spoken to the seller to remind them of the importance of selecting the right category when listing products with us. Of course, when issues do arise we act quickly to ensure that the item is updated with the correct information."