Daily Mirror wrongly claimed front page picture of giant rat was taken in Liverpool

The Daily Mirror wrongly claimed a front-page picture of a giant rat was taken in Liverpool.

The Mirror’s front page yesterday led with a story headlined, “Plague of giant rats in Britain”. The picture, which showed Adrian Whitaker, 35, from Highgate, North London, with a 2ft rat, was apparently published by the Ham & High last May.

But on the front page of yesterday’s Mirror, the same picture was captioned: “SCARY: Huge brown rat caught in Liverpool”. The Mirror story told how the rodent pictured was caught in the Merseyside city and that pest controller Sean Whelan was shown in the picture.

Today, after being alerted to the previous use of the picture, Trinity Mirror said it had been "deceived" and that it would be telling its readers so in tomorrow's edition.

According to the Ham & High, the story originated in the Liverpool Echo on Sunday, which is also owned by Trinity Mirror.

The story has now been removed from the Mirror’s website, but remains on the Liverpool Echo site. The picture was also used on the Mail Online, with the picture accredited to the Liverpool Echo.

According to the Ham & High, an email to Trinity Mirror from Whitaker said: “Your article amounts to… deception and I would like to know what you intend to do about this.”

He told the North London paper: “It’s a bit of a shock, I wasn’t expecting it. 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 – jumping on the bandwagon of the Swedish story about a giant rat.”

A Daily Mirror spokesman told Press Gazette: "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 last year.

"We will be clarifying the position with our readers tomorrow."

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