A regional daily has admitted it was “deceived” after republishing a weekly newspaper’s year-old picture of a man holding up a giant rat.
It was illustrated by a picture of Highgate man Adrian Whitaker holding up a 2ft-long rat found in his home which was originally published in the Hampstead and Highgate Express last year.
The Echo story, which has since been removed from its website, wrongly claimed that the rat had been caught in Liverpool, and that the photo depicted pest controller Sean Whelan holding the dead animal.
“I do not live or work in Liverpool nor have any association with Whelan Pest Control Services. I originally gave permission for my image to be used to highlight a serious local issue. I certainly did not give permission for it to be used in a national newspaper,” he wrote.
“Your article amounts to… deception and I would like to know what you intend to do about this.”
“It just makes me realise how much more of this probably goes on in tabloids. It’s not really journalism if you’re making stuff up and sensationalising.”
A Trinity Mirror spokesman said: “We were deceived about the picture of the giant rat. We were led to believe that it had been taken recently on an industrial estate in Liverpool.
“It has since become clear that it was taken in another part of the country. We will be clarifying the position with our readers on Sunday.”