Horrific footage of the Bradford City fire disaster in which 56 people died and more than 200 were injured is being uploaded to the internet by sick ghouls.

Web video site YouTube has allowed several versions of footage of the devastating fire in 1985 to be loaded up.

Tens of thousands of internet users have watched the films, which show the Valley Parade ground engulfed by flames.

Now the use of the footage, which is taken from ITV Yorkshire's coverage of the match and subsequent disaster, is to be the subject of legal action after the TV station's lawyers were alerted to the videos by the Telegraph & Argus.

YouTube, owned by internet giant Google, is a website where people can upload their own videos. Earlier this week the site was in the news when the T&A revealed that a video featuring workers from Ilkley building firm NG Bailey taking part in dangerous pranks had been uploaded.

But May 11, 1985, which should have been a glorious celebration for Bradford City who had just won the third division championship, is a day no-one in Bradford would want to relive. The blaze became one of the worst tragedies in footballing history.

Television cameras, initially there purely to broadcast the match with Lincoln City, captured the terrible images that day but the footage is strictly controlled out of sensitivity to the bereaved. The T&A, whose own photographers were at the game, has a policy of not reprinting the photos that show the worst of the tragedy. However, now it has emerged that the horrific images have been uploaded to the internet on YouTube and at least one other site, Metacafe.

Alan Carling, chairman of the Bradford City Supporters Trust, said the images should be removed immediately so as not to further compound the pain of those who suffered that day.

He said: "I am extremely concerned about the presence on the internet of video footage of the Bradford City fire.

"It was apparently first posted there about four months ago, and has since been seen by over 50,000 people on several different sites. It is intolerable to the memories of those who suffered in the fire that their suffering should be exposed in this way to public view."

Julian Rhodes, Bradford City chairman, added: "I utterly agree with the Supporters Trust. This footage must be removed.

"It should not have been on there in the first place. It is totally disrespectful to the memories of those who died. I do not understand why, firstly, these people would put such footage on their site, and, secondly, why anyone would want to watch it. It just beggars belief."

After being alerted by the T&A to the existence of the footage on the internet, ITV Yorkshire took immediate action to have the footage withdrawn.

A spokesman for the company said: "ITV Yorkshire will not, under any circumstances, give its permission for this footage to be broadcast and will take speedy and robust action against anyone using it illegally.

"Immediately after the tragedy the footage was broadcast by various reputable news outlets. However, for a number of years we have exercised a strict ban on further broadcast or distribution of the footage, and whenever we have become aware that it was being used without permission we have taken steps to restrain any such use."

Since this comment was made Metacafe has removed the offensive images from its site.

The ITV spokesman said their legal department was actively engaged in pursuing the issue and that the company was demanding the immediate removal of the material.

A spokesman for YouTube owners Google said the company was to investigate the issue.

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