ACCRINGTON'S Jeanette Winterson was one of thousands of authors whose books were removed from sale by a leading online retailer due a 'glitch'.

Amazon has blamed an "embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloguing error" for making 57,310 books impossible to find and has promised it would be sorted out as soon as possible.

But the company's apology came amid allegations of censorship as many of the affected titles, such as D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover and Oscar Wilde's Picture Of Dorian Gray, involved adult material.

Ms Winterson's book Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, which won the Whitbread Award for a first novel in 1985 and was later adapted for a TV series by the BBC, features a lesbian girl who grows up in a religious environment.

Ms Winterson, who attended Accrington and Rossendale College, said: "If Amazon are making a value judgment here, then that's more serious and obviously that needs to be addressed."

Author Gore Vidal, whose book The City And The Pillar is still missing from the website, said: "What kind of a childish game is this?

"Why don't they just burn the books? They'd be better off and it's very visual on television."

An Amazon spokesman called the deletions an "embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloguing error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection".

"Many books have now been fixed and we're in the process of fixing the remainder as quickly as possible, and we intend to implement new measures to make this kind of accident less likely to occur in the future."