Updated: Toy shop Hamleys has pulled its plans to have live penguins and reindeer in its famous Regent Street branch, after animal welfare experts and animal lovers reacted angrily to the news.

Animal welfare experts slammed Hamleys for treating animals like “living toys” after advertising the event as a Christmas treat for kids.

Hamleys had originally defended its position, saying that it had consulted Westminster Council’s Animal Welfare team and the RSPCA.

However, after pressure from Conservative MP Mark Pritchard, secretary of the all-party parliamentary group on wildlife and conservation, Hamleys shelved the event.

In a statement the store said: “Whilst we were taking every measure possible to ensure the welfare of the penguins, we have listened closely to people’s views and feel this is the best course of action.

“We apologise to those of our customers who were looking forward to seeing the penguins. To clarify, we no longer have reindeer in store.”

Protestors - who went online yesterday to voice their anger, setting up a Facebook page - said they were appalled at the idea of transporting wildlife into a hot and busy store.

The penguin event was due to take place on December 6.