COUNTRYFILE fans have blasted the BBC for handing the £1,000 prize in a wildlife photography competition to a snap set up indoors.
Viewers who voted for Michelle Howell’s harvest mouse picture said it was not clear it was taken in a plastic box under lights.
It will be on the front cover of the show’s £9.50 charity calendar.
But Emma Poulton tweeted: “Surely the whole point is to capture natural shots in the bloomin’ countryside?!”
Julie Aldred added: “Some people spent hours, weeks or even months waiting for the right photo. To set up a shoot in a studio is hardly fair.”
Judges selected a shortlist from 42,000 entries.
After viewers plumped for Michelle’s “An Apple a Day” presenter John Craven admitted: “She used a studio so she could get up close.
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“Taking pictures of wildlife in this way is in the rules, just as long as it’s declared as such.”
Michelle, who retired from West Yorkshire Police nine years ago, used specialist lighting in her conservatory and was helped by a snapper pal licensed to handle harvest mice.
She said: “You are not going to come across this on a woodland path.”
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