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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 January, 2004, 12:47 GMT
Runner wins ruling against 118118
118 versus Bedford
30 years on: the runner claims his image has been used
A British athlete who claimed directory enquiries service 118118 modelled its adverts on his 1970s look, has won a ruling against the company.

Record-breaking runner David Bedford said operator The Number had caricatured him without permission.

The company used TV and newspaper advertising featuring two runners with long droopy moustaches and red socks.

Communications regulator Ofcom found that The Number had been in breach of the UK's Advertising Standards Code.

No financial harm

Ofcom said that The Number had made reference to 1970s photographs and videos of Mr Bedford when the actors in the adverts were first being chosen and their appearance determined.

The Number, which is the UK's leading directory enquiries operator, conceded that it had not sought or obtained Mr Bedford's permission to be caricatured

However, Ofcom said it was not satisfied that Mr Bedford had suffered actual financial harm as a result of the adverts.

It said a ban on the firm would be "disproportionately damaging" to The Number and said it can continue using the images.

Media lawyer Gary Fotios, of Laytons solicitors, said Ofcom's ruling was a "level headed finding".

Mr Bedford, who gained the 10,000 metres world record in 1973 and is now race director of the London Flora Marathon, remains free to pursue a private claim for damages against The Number.

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