Police in the dock for giving people the chance to spend Halloween

The Peaky Blinders were a notorious Birmingham crime gang during the First World War and inspired the 2013 BBC series.West was held at the cells while on remand, charged with the murders of 12 people. He hanged himself at Winson Green on New Year’s Day in 1995 as he awaited trial. His wife, Rose, was jailed for life after being convicted of 10 murders at their Gloucester home. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Mugshots of some of the real Peaky Blinders The lock-up at Steelhouse Lane Police Station, BirminghamCredit:SWNS.com A police force has been criticised for cashing in on serial killer Fred West’s notoriety by charging people to spend Hallowe’en in his former cell.West Midlands Police are promoting a ghost-hunting evening at the Steelhouse Lane cells in Birmingham, where West was housed before being transferred to HMP Winson Green in 1994.In its advertising, the force boasted the event provided a “unique opportunity” to spend the night at the notorious Victorian lock-up, adding: “These cells were occupied by none other than the original Peaky Blinders, Fred West and many more. Be there if you dare.”For £75, guests will be locked in the cells overnight in complete darkness, after first hearing stories of the building’s shadowy past. The event, for adults only, stipulates “no alcohol or drugs and visitors must bring their own sleeping bags and pillows, plus a camping mat or inflatable mattress.  The listed Steelhouse Lane, which dates back to 1891, is owned by West Midlands Police and houses the force museum. A force spokesman said: “The Ghost Hunting Mission within the Victorian Lock-Up in Birmingham city centre, run independently of West Midlands Police, is an event to raise money for modern slavery charity Hope for Justice. Steelhouse Lane is where Fred West was held in custody and his name was used alongside the Peaky Blinders to promote this worthy cause.”On reflection, organisers agreed that use of his name was insensitive and had it removed from the event’s promotion material. Mugshots of some of the real Peaky BlindersCredit:SWNS.com The lock-up at Steelhouse Lane Police Station, Birmingham Local residents have expressed dismay at the stunt, accusing police of “glorifying killers”. Victoria Sanderson, 45, a mother of three from Edgbaston, Birmingham, said: “It’s fine to hold a fun ghost-hunting event, but I think the police have gone too far promoting the fact that West was in their cells.“How will the families of those he murdered feel, that he is being celebrated in this way, and by the police? It’s very distasteful and highly insensitive to the victims’ families.”

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