September 2013

A BARCLAYS bank advert praising Premier League fans stars a PAEDOPHILE, The Sun can reveal today

Bedwell

Darren Bedwell features in the one-and-a-half minute commercial entitled You Are Football — despite convictions for possessing child abuse images.

The pervert plumber, 45, is seen sitting open-mouthed in a crowd of cheering fans next to a boy.

He was even paid for the work as an extra after somehow slipping through checks by ad agency BBH.

The film first aired on BT Sport, Sky, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 on August 16, the night before the start of the 2013 season. An online version on the bank’s barclaysfootballtv YouTube account has already been viewed nearly 130,000 times.

Now the High Street giant has been forced to pull the film after we exposed the appalling error.

Sicko Bedwell was added to the Sex Offenders’ Register after pleading guilty to possessing indecent images of children in 2007.

He was given a three-year community order and psychological treatment in 2010 after admitting ten charges of making more sick pictures. But the divorced dad-of-three was allowed to star in the video, which follows dedicated fans from Manchester City, West Ham and Everton on their travels to games.

It is part of a campaign by the Premier League sponsor to thank supporters for “unwavering devotion through triumph and tragedy”.

Bedwell appears one minute into the ad in a West Ham shirt.

He tried to deny his crimes when confronted outside his home in Bexleyheath, South London. But court records linked him directly to them.

Renowned ad firm BBH — which created Audi’s “Vorsprung durch Technik” slogan and represents firms including British Airways and Google — confirmed Bedwell was paid a “nominal” fee after he came forward to take part in the ad.

It contacted fans through online forums and supporters’ clubs. BBH added: “Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

“Darren Bedwell was one of 400 genuine football fans who appeared in the film as extras. We have taken the advert off air and are creating a new version of the commercial which he will not be in.”

Barclays said: “We’re very grateful to The Sun for bringing this serious issue to our attention.

“We have asked the advertising agency to explain to us what went wrong in their vetting process to allow this to happen. And we have also ordered that the advert be immediately recut to remove the individual from the footage before it is broadcast again.”

A Premier League spokesman added: “The Sun is right to bring this situation to light.”