Poundland sweets Nutters branded offensive to those with mental ill health by North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb and the Nutters sweets. Photo: Archant

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb and the Nutters sweets. Photo: Archant - Credit: Archant

A discount store has come under fire for selling sweets which have been branded offensive by mental health campaigners.

Nutters sweets sold in Poundland. Photo: Geraldine Scott

Nutters sweets sold in Poundland. Photo: Geraldine Scott - Credit: Geraldine Scott

Poundland was criticised by North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, for selling chocolates similar to M&Ms called Nutters.

The packaging features cross-eyed characters and Mr Lamb has called for them to be withdrawn.

Mr Lamb said: 'We have to be conscious of the impact language in society.

'More than 10 years ago we were seeing headlines such as the one in the Sun 'Bonkers Bruno', when he was sectioned under the mental health act.

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'There was a great outcry - quite rightly - and I don't think it'd happen today.'

Liberal Democrat Mr Lamb said he feared the use of such language could discourage anyone, but particularly young people, from seeking help for their mental health.

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'You could say this is just being too politically correct,' he said.

'But what we need to do is normalise mental ill health and make people realise it's nothing to be ashamed of.

'So we've got to be more aware of the impact of the language we use in headlines, in marketing on products, and be more respectful of people with mental ill health.'

He added: 'The product needs to be quickly withdrawn from sale and Poundland needs to apologise.'

In Norwich's Poundland store, on St Stephen's Street, the sweets were on sale and promoted at the tills yesterday.

Dr Sophie Dix, of charity MQ: Transforming Mental Health, back Mr Lamb's call for the sweets to be withdrawn.

She said: 'While we have seen a positive change in perception of mental health, promotion of products with offensive language and distressing imagery is a real step backwards for progress.'

Chartered psychologist Dr Rick Norris said selling the sweets in the chain's 896 stores created the impression mental health issues were 'not a serious thing'.

Poundland said: 'These nut chocolate bags have been a popular item over the last 12 months but we are saddened to hear that the item has caused offence.

'We take all feedback on board and have committed to assessing this line at its next formal review.'

• If you need to talk, call Samaritans on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org

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