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iPhone applications that turns the handsets into mock firearms are at the centre of a storm of controversy.

The Apple App Store is currently home to a range of gun emulators, which feature an image of a gun on the display and makes a noise akin to a shot when the phone is shaken.

However, the apps are proving highly controversial and have been accused of trivialising violence and undermining efforts to tackle gun crime.

Claudia Webbe, who heads an independent advisory group for the Metropolitan Police's Operation Trident, told the Evening Standard: "This is hugely irresponsible in a climate when we are trying to get guns off the streets.

"I am stunned this game should ever have been allowed to have been made. We have spent years trying to get imitation guns out of shops and this sort of product undermines that effort."

Ms Webbe has been joined in her outrage by John Beyer of mediawatch UK, who said that the apps are in poor taste in the light of recent events in Northern Ireland and should be withdrawn.

Apple has thus far failed to respond to the controversy and the apps are currently still on offer at its store.

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