THE Blue Room is crammed with canes, loaded with lubricant and heaving with horse whips.

It’s the licensed sex wing of Prowler, which bills itself as “Brighton’s only gay lifestyle store” and manager David Southerland is leading me around.

Prowler is a shop of two halves. On the shelves in the main section, there are coy calendars and “cuddly willy toys”.

In the Blue Room, they’re not so cuddly.

Strung up on the wall, there’s a 17-inch sex toy that looks like a leg of lamb.

In the centre, a mannequin sporting a fetching gimp suit looms over a stack of bamboo canes.

There are aisles of retro-looking gay porn DVDs. Titles include Abducted, Pumped, Boy Next Door, and Huge And Hung.

Back in the daylight of the main shop, David points out cards, gifts, and clothing.

He said: “We’ve got some great Christmas decorations in at the moment.

“They’re all very gay. There’s not a regular bauble in sight: we’ve got unicorns, fluffy feather balls, and flamingos.”

Prowler has expanded considerably from its original store in Soho.

There are now shops in Leeds, Bournemouth and Exeter, as well as a branch selling Prowler products in Sitges, Spain.

The store has even launched its own fetish brand, called “Prowler Red”.

For David and his customers in Brighton, Prowler is more than just a shop.

It has been a fixture of St James’s Street for 14 years and he said it has become “a centre for Brighton’s gay community”.

David said: “We are very much a local hub.

“People come in asking for the best gay bars, where to stay, and general tourist information. They often come in just for a chat.

“We have a lot of regular customers, and at the weekend there are a lot of out-of-towners.

“I love working here every day, serving Brighton’s LGBT community.”

He takes this responsibility seriously.

On one wall, there’s a box dispensing cheap HIV test kits.

David said: “They’re usually £30, but the Martin Fisher Foundation part funds them so they’re £9.99.

“We don’t take any money from it. They’re 99.7 per cent accurate and you can find out the result within 15 minutes.”

Next to it there are shelves stacked with Prowler’s own-brand lubrication, douches, and sex toys.

A man walks in, sees my notepad, and furtively slips a vibrating penis ring and a small vial of “Liquid Gold room odoriser” on to the counter.

David says: “We’re predominantly aimed at gay men and cater for their needs, but we do get quite a few straight people in, especially at weekends.

“We get women coming in for sex toys and you don’t have to be gay to like leather.

“You don’t have to be gay to wear a harness either.”

There’s a rack of them in the Blue Room ready and waiting, just beneath the gimp.