BBC investigates Real Hustle 'actors' claim

Newspaper alleges actors were hired to impersonate unwitting members of the public on the BBC Three

The BBC is investigating claims that actors were hired and paid to appear as the victims of scams on BBC Three's The Real Hustle, following allegations made by the Mail on Sunday.

The newspaper claims that actors and extras were hired and often paid to play fraud victims on the show, in which hustlers scam members of the public with the intention of educating the public on how to avoid similar cons.

The show is supposed to feature unwitting targets who have been set up by friends or family, or believe they are featuring on another TV show.

In a statement, Objective Productions, which produces The Real Hustle, said: "Objective Productions categorically deny that The Real Hustle has ever briefed the 'marks' or victims of the hustles about the true nature of the scam before the event. All the people on the show have been hustled for real and their reactions are genuine."

"Occasionally, because of for example, equipment problems, we have had to reshoot short elements of the set-up after the hustle has been completed and that can involve giving some direction to the 'marks' to ensure that the footage matches, however it is completely untrue to say that any 'mark' was an actor who was fully briefed in advance and paid to act as though they had been hustled."

A BBC spokesman said: ""We will examine any alleged breaches of our editorial standards relating to The Real Hustle as a matter of urgency and will take appropriate action if required."