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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 December, 2003, 06:07 GMT
Watchdog bans Barnardo's adverts
Four individual posters from a hard hitting advertising campaign by Barnardo's to highlight child poverty
The Barnardo's adverts were designed to raise awareness
A series of controversial adverts created for an appeal by children's charity Barnardo's have been banned.

The Advertising Standards Authority said the images, including one of a baby with a cockroach in its mouth, caused "widespread offence".

Since the campaign's November launch 466 complaints had been received - more than for any other advert this year.

Barnardo's said it was "disappointed" by the decision and that it had hoped to alert people to child poverty.

'Future of squalor'

An ASA spokeswoman said it began an investigation after receiving complaints about the images.

The UK has some of the worst child poverty of all developed nations

The advert featuring the child and cockroach included the message: "Poverty is waiting to rob Greg of hope and spirit and is likely to lead him to a future of squalor."

Another advert showed a child with a syringe in his mouth, while another pictured a child with a bottle of methylated spirits in his mouth.

The spokeswoman told BBC News Online it recognised that members of the public wanted charities to have more leeway for their adverts than other companies.

But she added: "Charities can cross the line and that's what has happened in this case."

'Good reason'

Barnardo's claimed the adverts "showed the reality of child poverty and its long-term effects".

It said they reflected the distressing work it did and compared the campaign to those for road safety or anti-smoking which "caused distress for good reason".

It refused to apologise, arguing that the issue of child poverty was normally ignored by the media.

"The UK has some of the worst child poverty of all developed nations with 3.8 million children officially living below the poverty line", a spokesman said.

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