Tesco has denied ripping off an artist's film after a strikingly similar advert shot in Watford town centre emerged.

In 1999, artist Richard DeDomenici filmed a trolley being pushed down Church Street Car Park as a “brutalitarian metaphor for urban degradation”.

But this month the 44-year-old was left "surprised" after seeing the same idea at the same location in a Tesco Mobile ad.

Tesco insisted it was unaware of the film, Tall Storeys, when the advert was created, but Mr DeDomenici questioned why "of all the car parks in the country" that one was chosen.

At a show Mr DeDomenici said: “I know what you’re thinking, it’s perfectly plausible that in 20 years two people could have the same idea, but answer me this, why is it in the same multi-storey car park.

“There are six multi-storey car parks they could have chosen from in Watford alone but it’s exactly the same one.”

An intellectual property lawyer has since got touch with Mr Domenici, who he plans to speak to about potential next steps.

The Watford born and raised film and performance artist added: “It happens a lot that artists get ripped off by the largest corporations and can’t do anything.

“I’m not sure what will come of this, but I thought I'd give it a go.”

Although it was a student film, Tall Storeys toured nationally and was shown as part of the Beck’s Student Prize in Film and Video, which ran “an extensive press and marketing campaign”, Mr DeDomenici said.

He added that it was possible it might have been made by someone who had seen the film a long time ago and forgotten it was a memory rather than a new idea, a process known as cryptomnesia.

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A Tesco Mobile spokesperson said: “The TV ad follows the helpful Tesco Mobile trolley, as it travels downhill on a mission to help those in need.

“The Tesco Mobile team worked on this concept in collaboration with our creative agency and were not aware of this film when we created our advert.”

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