Vegan sausage rolls are proving popular at Halesowen's Greggs - even getting the thumbs up from the shop's vegetarian manager.

The bakery chain began selling the controversial vegan treats last Thursday with some branches selling out as people rushed to buy them.

The company, which sells 1.5 million traditional sausage rolls per week, said the UK's 3.5 million vegans will be able to enjoy a "next generation" version of its best-selling item.

Michelle Southall, manager of Greggs in Halesowen's Cornbow Shopping Centre, said the meat-free sausage rolls were popular with customers, despite disparaging comments from some on Twitter and a scathing review from Piers Morgan.

She said: "They are selling well.

"I've tried one and it was quite nice. I'm a vegetarian so I was keen to try it. They are made of Quorn.

"Last week some stores sold out because they were so popular and they are selling well here.

"It's something different."

The company, which sells 1.5m traditional pork sausage rolls a week - around five every second - says the new version has been designed to mirror some of the original’s classic features.

It has 96 layers of light and crisp puff pastry - made with vegetable oil - around the "bespoke" Quorn filling.

The launch comes after 20,000 people signed a petition by animal welfare organisation Peta last year calling on Greggs to produce a vegan version of its bestselling item.

Greggs chief executive, Roger Whiteside, said: ‘Like many food retailers we have seen increasing demand for vegetarian and vegan products.

‘We have been trying to develop a vegan version of our famous sausage roll for some time now. It has not been easy but our taste panel customers all love this one, so we have decided to launch it as our contribution to Veganuary.’

The new vegan sausage roll is on sale in 950 of Greggs’s 1,850 UK shops and costs £1, which is 5p more than the traditional meat version.