1D: One Direction Pull Fans' Tattoo Request

One Direction have been forced to delete a social media request for fans to submit footage of their "real tattoos" to have a chance of appearing in the boyband's forthcoming film.

The band wiped the request from Facebook and Twitter after sparking a fury of criticism, as many fans of One Direction - who refer to the group as 1D - are under the age of 18.

Spokesman Simon Jones said: "This tweet was posted in error and has now been removed. One Direction do not want to encourage any of their fans to get 1D tattoos."

On Saturday the band put out the call for imagery of fans' tattoos on their official Twitter feed, which has more than 10 million followers, and to 1D's 13 million Facebook friends.

The band had encouraged fans to send videos of their tattoos to an email address, giving them the chance for the footage to appear in a 3D movie due out in the summer.

The band tweeted: "Have a real #1D tattoo? Show us! Submit a 90 sec YouTube video to 1d3dfan@gmail.com and show us why you should be in the @1D3Dmovie!"

The appeal on social media was quickly retweeted by more than 4,000 followers and set as a favourite by nearly 6,000 people.

But fan reaction was swift and by late Sunday morning both sites had been wiped of the request, forcing the spokesman to release the explanatory statement.

Facebook friend Julia Zwagerman said of the request: "Okay One Direction, I love you guys to pieces I really do, but promoting young girls to get a tattoo?"

Twitter follower plumlilo said: "Why would you encourage people to get tattoos that they'll regret in 10 years"

Follower JB1DJanoskians added: "A real tattoo of 1D, im so sorry but that is a load of b*******, people who do that is sick."

Although the social media request was removed, fans can still upload photos of themselves to the band's website, as the group intend to use a "mosaic made of thousands of little things - you" for their movie poster.

No upload restrictions are in place for imagery, except that participants must be over the age of 14.

Some members of the five-piece band, which were formed for talent show The X Factor, have increasingly taken to having so-called hipster tattoos adorning their bodies.

Harry Styles and Zayn Malik have become famous for their collections of offbeat ink.

One American website has even devoted a section to The ugliest tattoos of One Direction .

However, not everyone was critical of the decision of the band to tweet the tattoo request message on Saturday.

Twitter user The1DScoop, operated by five female followers of the band, said: "Finally you realise we aren't all 12."

The band are currently in Belfast and due to perform a sold out shows on Monday night.

Tickets for the show, which cost up to £35.50 each, come with the recommendation that children under the age of 14 should be accompanied by an adult.