Channel 4 were blasted yesterday after residents on Benefits Street claimed TV bosses persuaded them to take part – by bribing them with BEER, FAGS and BIG MACS.
The “stars” of the incendiary TV series also told how producers plied them with cheap energy drinks as they filmed them relentlessly for up to 12 HOURS a day.
Shockingly, producers are accused of supplying cans of beer to self-confessed alcoholic Paul Clarke, aka Fungi, as well as stunting up many of the scenes.
Residents living on notorious James Turner Street in Winson Green, Birmingham, made the astonishing claims as Channel 4 faced a backlash from Ofcom and POLICE.
The show – which aired last Monday – follows neighbours living on the dole on a street where around 90 per cent of residents claim up to £900-a-month in benefits.
Mark Thomas and Becky Howe, who were used in posters advertising the show, blasted Channel 4 – accusing them of “screwing over” vulnerable residents.
The pair, both 23, live with their two-year-old daughter Casey and son Callum, four.
They pick up £750-a-month in child tax credits, child benefits and job seekers allowance.
The couple, who admitted fiddling their benefits for two-and-a-half months in 2009, say they were duped into appearing on the show.
Yesterday Becky said: “Channel 4 did anything and everything they could to get the material they wanted for the show.
“The film crew effectively invaded our street and were at people’s doors every morning. If you didn’t want to do any filming they’d go away and come back five minutes later carrying LSV energy drinks and cigarettes.
“I know for a fact that one resident who is in the show was bought cans of beer every day from the shop and was filmed drinking from it.
“Producers bought us McDonald’s meals and we were even photographed by the Google Street View car eating it outside our house.
“Film crews were always at us to stunt things up. We were asked to have our door used by the 50p man.
“I said it was okay but didn’t feel comfortable doing it because it felt like we were lying – he’s never knocked at our door before.
“Looking at the how the residents have been portrayed, I am convinced Channel 4 exploited us by bribing residents with food and alcohol.
“They would even drive Mark to appointments or give him money for taxis. They acted like they were our best friends and all the time they were screwing us over.
“One day we filmed from 8.30am and didn’t stop until 8pm.
“We were both exhausted. It was relentless but the film crew kept assuring us that the series would show how a close knit community helped each other out.”
Meanwhile friends of 44-year-old Fungi, who boasted about squandering his £400-a-month benefits on booze, told how he was ‘paid’ for his part in the show with BEER.
Concerned pal Steve Haywood, who runs a roofing business on James Turner Street, said: “Fungi has had an alcohol problem for years.
“I often see him with a can of beer at 9 in the morning and he tries to do odd jobs in exchange for beer.
“I know that Channel 4 convinced him to appear in the show by supplying him with beer.
“It’s a disgrace that the producers exploited people like Fungi, who obviously has a problem, by targeting their weak spots.
“The producers also tried to convince him to have cameras installed in his home 24/7 and they were offering to pay him, in beer, for that.
“Since the show went out I haven’t seen Fungi, he’s obviously worried because of the reaction of people.
“The programme was the worst thing to happen to people on the street.”