A trader says the board had a sense of humor failure after banning the sale of its “best-selling” product.

The Handmade in Rossendale Facebook page posted a series of messages encouraging the council after the mugs – which carry the slogan In Rossendale, we call our idiots ‘The Council’ – were withdrawn from sale at the market hall stand of Rawtenstall.

Council chief Alyson Barnes said “they are not trying to be the fun cop” but said the article was “derogatory” and could cause “upheaval”.

The company, which is run by Anthony Gotts, wrote: “I’ve been selling these mugs for almost three years – local councilors, politicians, city workers have all bought them along with other members of the public. We all had fun discussing them; they were a great icebreaker. I sold 122 mugs, 31 coasters and seven panels with the tagline.

Handcrafted in Rossendale, the mugs were withdrawn from sale at the stand, but are available at Queens Dock Barbers on Bank Street.

A separate message read: “Many thanks to Rossendale Borough Council for their excellent PR campaign which helped me sell all of my Idiot mugs. I feel inspired by the generosity of my customers, so not only will I be donating the profits, but I will donate the entire proceeds from these mugs and round it up to £ 150. Merry Christmas Rossendale Council.

Councilor Barnes said: “We enjoy laughing just as much as the next person and we’re certainly not trying to be the fun cop, but we think in this case it’s not appropriate. While I could see the humor in it, we felt the wording on the mug was derogatory to the board and board staff.

“We have a lot of amazingly hard-working officers and board members who live locally, who choose to support the market and take their jobs seriously and do their best to make things better for the residents of Rossendale.

“It’s been a very difficult year for everyone, and it’s supposed to be the season of goodwill; we just felt it wasn’t done with that in mind and might upset some people. We subsequently requested that the matter be raised directly with the trader.

“Market stalls provide a unique opportunity for new and emerging businesses to take off. A considerable amount of consulting time and effort has been devoted to the Rawtenstall market over the past few years to help the facility remain open and reach its potential.

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