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June 2, 2011

The Real Hustle breached guidelines in using extras

By Sam Brodbeck

BBC Three’s The Real Hustle was found to be in breach of accuracy guidelines today by the corporation’s Editorial Standards Committee after allegations about the use of actors reported by the Mail on Sunday and Sunday Mirror.

The committee, part of the BBC Trust, also concluded that there had not been a serious breach of editorial standards.

In February both Sunday papers reported that actors were used in the programme in which the show’s presenters purportedly dupe members of the public out of their money in elaborate scams.

The Trust said that The Real Hustle had found scam victims on websites used by actors and extras and that successful applicants knew they would be filmed. However, it stressed that they did not know why they were being filmed or for what programme.

The committee agreed with the BBC Executive’s proposal that in future those who were the subject of the scams should be asked afterwards to confirm that they were not aware of the con, that their reaction was genuine and that they had not been employed as an actor.

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