A LARGE 'for sale' sign has been placed outside of Reading gaol letting passers by know it's on the market.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) put the historic prison up for sale earlier this month, six years after the jail closed.

The grade II listed building is where playwright Oscar Wilde was incarcerated for homosexual offences and the decision for it to be sold to the highest bidder has been met with opposition.

On Sunday (October 13) hundreds of people took part in a mass "hug" which surrounded the prison as part of a campaign to turn it into an arts and heritage site.

Key campaigner, Reading East MP, Matt Rodda, set up a petition to save Reading gaol which has over 6,000 signatures.

He attended the hug and was pleased with the "great turnout".

He said: "It’s a great way of showing our support for Reading and its history and for the jail and turning the jail into something constructive for the community and it’s a wonderful day out for people.”

“I’m so proud of our town and our people for doing this. I think it’s brilliant.”

He continued: “It’s a really important part of the campaign.

"It's showing visually how people feel about their town and about supporting the jail and that’s really important.”

Alongside Mr Rodda was lead councillor for Culture Heritage & Recreation, Karen Rowland.

Reading Chronicle:

She took to the stage prior to the hug to speak with campaigners.

She said: “I think we’re looking at a jail right there that belongs to the people of Reading.

“As a council, my colleagues who are here with us today see an overwhelming support, I mean a massive overwhelming support, of people that want that jail and they want that jail for the people of Reading and our communities.”

“I think that all of you that came along, it’s absolutely stunning and it does not go unnoticed certainly on behalf of the council.

"It does not go unnoticed by our two MPs that we have here today and we are quite sure that it will not go unnoticed by the MoJ in giving us back our jail.

"I would love you all to clap and cheer.

"We’re going to keep that jail.”

The MoJ will be accepting bids for the jail from interested parties.

Reading Borough Council are working alongside Theatre and Arts Reading to submit a bid.