“Crawley Girl Gives Birth to Pitbull,” may not have appeared on any Argus A-boards but its appearance outside one newsagents has sparked a row.

John O'Sullivan, who owns Candy Box in Carfax, Horsham, decided to add some cheer to the street with a set of spoof headlines for the West Sussex Candy Times.

But he says he has been warned by council officials and police that he will be taken to court unless he stops putting them on display outside his shop.

Mr O'Sullivan, 34, said: “I just wanted to make people laugh because life is so miserable at the moment.

“The Crawley Girl Gives Birth to Pitbull bill apparently caused a lot of offence with five complaints but a lot more people have come in and said how much they liked it.

“Another which is said to have caused some offence was 'MPs: What a load of ...' and I blacked out the last word with a box.

“That's when the council came and gave me a warning that they were offensive. It says I have to stop and if I don't I will be prosecuted.”

Mr O'Sullivan says he was also paid a visit by a PCSO and a police officer on two separate occasions, each giving their own warning.

He said: “The policewoman came in and was very strict and said the boards have got to stop. She asked if I realised I could be arrested.

“If everyone hated them and thought they were wrong I would stop but people are laughing at them.”

Others in the series include “Swan Walk Swan in Suicide Drama” and “Local Youths Abduct UFO”.

The latest on display reads: “Candy Box Owner Threatened with Arrest over Funny Boards”.

Mr O'Sullivan has said customers to his sweet shop have complained to him about the police finding the time to warn him when there are other more pressing issues to deal with in the community.

Despite the warnings he has vowed to continue displaying the tongue-in-cheek adverts.

A spokesman for Horsham District Council said: “We can confirm that the council has received recent complaints about what has been written on the A-board outside the shop.

“As a message posted there was considered to be potentially offensive, a street scene officer from the council asked for its removal.”