Baseball bats, police batons online sales boom in UK

LONDON Tue Aug 9, 2011 1:34pm EDT

LONDON (Reuters) - Sales of baseball bats and batons have shot up more than 5,000 percent in the last 24 hours on Amazon's British website, as London suffered its worst violent unrest in decades.

Seven of the top 10 'movers and shakers' in Amazon's sports and leisure list were baseball bats of various kinds, their sales since Monday rising between 1,756 percent and 5,149 percent.

A "military police telescopic baton," described by the manufacturer as useful for "effective self-defence with extra reach," was the 110th best selling item among Amazon's sports and leisure customers, up from a ranking of 5,622 just 24 hours ago. Actual sale number of the items are not given.

Many Londoners have questioned how rioters had been able to loot and ransack shops on Monday night with impunity, with the stretched police force criticised for its inability to cope and reluctance to use heavy tactics.

The Metropolitan police have vowed "robust" action which may include rubber bullets if disorder breaks out for a fourth day on Tuesday.

Amazon UK could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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