Clothes retailer Urban Outfitters has "sincerely apologised" for selling a Kent State University sweatshirt with red marks which appear to resemble blood stains.

The store was heavily criticised after it was found to be selling the top from the university in which four people were killed in a shooting in 1970 with "splatter" marks across it and small holes in the top left hand side.

The sweatshirt was briefly available on the Urban Outiftters' online store, but the one-of a kind vintage top was taken offline after it had sold out.

Urban Outfitters was condemned for selling the "distasteful" top on social media. Kent State University was home to the May 4 Massacre in which four unarmed students were shot by Ohio National Guard Members during protests against military action in Cambodia.

Urban Outfitters has now apologised for any offence caused and insist the red "blood stains" were a result of the natural colour fading rather than referring to the school shooting.

A spokesperson added: "Urban Outfitters sincerely apologises for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused. It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970 and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such.

"The one-of-a-kind item was purchased as part of our sun-faded vintage collection. There is no blood on this shirt nor has this item been altered in any way. The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray.

"Again, we deeply regret that this item was perceived negatively and we have removed it immediately from our website to avoid further upset."

The sweatshirt has since been listed on eBay, with the bidding hitting more than $500 (£307). The user said he intends to donate 50% of the profits to The Southern Poverty Law Center, a charity which "protects those who cannot protect themselves, often those who are victims of police brutality".

In the past, Urban Outfitters have been criticised for selling items of clothing with the words "Depression" and "Eat Less" emblazoned across them.

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Two more examples of Urban Outfitters\' controversial clothing