ITV has confessed that footage it used in a documentary about the IRA was actually from a video game and that it was not, as it claimed, a real IRA attack.

The show, Exposure: Gaddafi and

the IRA, discussed how deposed Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi sent

weapons to the IRA in the mid-1980s.

The documentary lifted

footage from the internet that shows a clip from a military simulation

game called Arma II, but described it incorrectly as footage of a 1988

IRA attack on a British Army helicopter

An ITV spokesman said tonight: "The events featured in Exposure:

Gaddafi and the IRA were genuine but it would appear that during the

editing process the correct clip of the 1988 incident was not selected

and other footage was mistakenly included in the film by producers.

This was an unfortunate case of human error for which we apologise."

However, viewers around the country were quick to spot the mistake, while Marek Spanel , the CEO of Bohema Interactive, the Czech company behind Arma II, said ITV had not requested permission to use the footage.

Arma II is a tactical shooter computer game, with a plot that follows an army's attempt to exert control on a war-ravaged country.

"We are going to try to get some explanation from ITV how this could have happened," Mr Spanel told website PC Gamer:

"Sometimes creativity and realism in our games leads into crazy results and this is one such example. I just briefly watched the entire documentary and I still cannot believe it, as it is overall a very serious and lengthy feature.

An ITV source said they had not yet received any complaints, insisting: ‘We did have the original footage of this incident, which broadcast back in 1989.

"There was obviously a mix-up in the edit and wrong material was selected."

This evening the documentary was taken off ITV Player, the online service, and was being re-edited.

The IRA attack, in South Armagh, on June 23, 1988 is one of four such incidents where helicopters were shot down by the terrorists.

Fighters used DShK heavy machine guns and improvised mortars – supposedly supplied by the former Libyan leader – to blast the British Army chopper out of the sky.

A Provisional IRA unit of the South Armagh Brigade was said to be responsible for the attack.

The Gaddafi special, which pulled in more than 1 million viewers at 10.35pm on Monday night, was the first in a run of six single documentary investigative shows.

The programme synopsis promised to examine Colonel Gaddafi's support for the Republican terrorists and investigate the continuing danger of his legacy.

Media watchdog Ofcom said it had received a ‘handful’ of complaints and would assess them before deciding whether to launch an investigation.