Asda apologises for 'mental patient' fancy dress costume

LONDON (Reuters) - Asda, Britain's second biggest retailer, has apologized and withdrawn a product it advertised on its website as a "mental patient fancy dress costume" after being criticized as stereotyping those suffering from mental illness.

The firm, the British arm of Wal-Mart <WMT.N>, the world's largest stores group, was selling the costume, designed to look like a blood-splattered straitjacket, for 20 pounds ($32.14).

Its advert featured a man wearing the jacket and wielding a meat cleaver. Asda said it removed the product from its website on Wednesday.

"We'd like to offer our sincere apologies for the offence it's caused and will be making a sizeable donation to (mental illness charity) @MindCharity," the firm said on its Twitter account.

(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)