Tesco has been condemned for using false statistics as part of a local marketing campaign aimed to win public backing for a new store.

The UK’s largest retailer sent leaflets to residents of Manningtree claiming its research showed there was a “need and demand” for a new supermarket in the area.

However, the Advertising Standards Authority has refused to allow Tesco to continue distributing the leaflets because the telephone poll used as the basis of Tesco’s claim revealed that just 8.6% of the 440 people surveyed wanted a new supermarket.

The ASA adjudication said: “We considered Tesco had failed to substantiate that there was a need and demand for a new food store to serve the Manningtree/Lawford and Mistley area and concluded that the claim was misleading.”

In a seperate adjudication, the ASA also criticised Tesco Mobile for an advertising campaign offering triple credit on mobile phone top-ups. The ASA said the advertisements had not make clear that existing customers would have to change their mobile phone tariff to take advantage of the offer.