A CONCERNED mother has criticised a funfair stall for giving plastic knives away as prizes to children.
Tanya Richards, of Cowper Road, Hanwell, says it gives completely the wrong message to youngsters at a time when police are battling to stop youths carrying real ones.
The 44-year-old said: "I was with my ten-year-old daughter at the mini-funfair in Walpole Park and gave her some money for the hook-a-duck stall.
"She came back with a brightly coloured bow and arrow, which was fine, but also a grey plastic knife. It wasn't that it would have hurt anybody, I just think it's wrong to give toy knives to children to play with in this day and age with people so worried about knife crime.
"You would have hoped that someone running a stall designed to attract children wouldn't have replica weapons, it's very odd. I wouldn't have minded so much if it was fluorescent green or something, but if it was in an adult's pocket you would think they had a real knife."
But Heath Harris, who owns the hook-a-duck stall, says he has never had a complaint in three years working at Ealing Festival in the park in West Ealing.
The 38-year-old said: "I played with toy swords as a kid, it doesn't mean I want to stick one in someone now. I don't think anything here is offensive, even if you put one in the hand of a teenage hoody.
"If you put the radio on you can hear rappers talking about shooting people and there's war and violence on the television news, I don't think a bow and arrow with suckers and a little fake knife is going to cause it.
"I've been doing this since I was ten when I was with my parents, this bow and arrow set must have been around about 26 years and we've never had problems. A kid always wants cowboys and Indians.
Ealing Council, which runs the festival, declined to comment.
What do you think? Is a plastic knife an inappropriate toy for kids or harmless fun? Post a comment below.