Amazon UK's riot gear sales soar: Aluminum bats up 6,000%

@CNNMoneyTech August 9, 2011: 2:37 PM ET
amazon riots

Sales of aluminum bats and other weapons soared on Amazon's British site Tuesday, as riots spread across the nation.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Aluminum bats, police nightsticks and other weapons dominated the "movers and shakers" list of hot-selling items in Amazon.uk's Sports shop on Tuesday as riots spread across Britain for the third day.

British newspaper The Guardian flagged the Amazon sales spike in its running live-blog on the rioting. The outbreak of violence began in London's Tottenham neighborhood after police fatally shot a local 29-year-old man, Mark Duggan, on August 4. Riots and looting soon spread to other British towns, and the government called in police forces.

By mid-day Tuesday, the top five sales-rank gainers in Amazon.uk's "sports & leisure" category were all baseball bats and a "military police telescopic tonfa" -- somewhat similar to a nightstick.

Though the tonfa appeared on the list, it seemed that Amazon had removed the item from its site; clicking the item led to an error page. Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

One of the top items, an aluminum baseball bat, gained a whopping 6,541% on its "sales rank" over the past 24 hours. Amazon's "movers and shakers" list tracks items that are showing the biggest spike in sales that day.

Amazon's U.S. site, by comparison, had more routine summer items topping its movers list on Tuesday. The U.S. top-five spots in the "sports & outdoors" catagory included an outdoor stove, folding knives, a scooter and tennis balls.

Amazon.uk users added reviews of the aluminum bat and other items on Tuesday, referencing the riots with a dose of black humor.

"This bat is perfectly weighted and will suit any UK shop-owner looking to protect their property," reviewer Harry Fish wrote about the suddenly popular Rucanor bat. "Thanks to the ergonomic handle, one easy swing should be enough to shatter patellas, skulls or any other bone on your targeted looter."

But others who joined the discussion seemed less tongue-and-cheek.

"Ordered 2, one for home & one for the shop," another shopper wrote in reply to Fish's review. "Now lets see the idiots try & loot our shop."  To top of page

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