Allegations have emerged that the £1 premium rate phone-in scam on C4’s Richard & Judy may have been running since 2002.

Former contestant Lilly Cooper told the Mirror that she was told within minutes of ringing in that she would be a contestant on the You Say We Pay quiz, but Richard and Judy kept asking viewers to ring in and enter. Leaked emails allegedly indicate that, in the week from February 5, 2007, more than 32,000 were falsely led to believe they had a chance of winning the cash prize.

Lilly went on to win £6,000 on the show, but she said: “Richard and Judy were saying viewers had a last chance to enter even after I’d been categorically told that the day’s entrant would be me.”

But production company Cactus TV believe that Lilly was mistaken. “No one is ever told they are definitely going to play… Players are told they are down to the last two or three.”

C4 said it will assess Lilly’s claim as part of its investigation into phoneline service provider Eckoh and phoneline regulator Istis.