TRANSPORT bosses have defended a decision to use fake residents of Greater Manchester in a leaflet outlining congestion charge plans.

Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority used four "local" people as case studies to illustrate how they would be affected by the congestion charge.

It included "Terry from Rochdale", described as a self-employed delivery van driver, who would have to pay £5 per day under the proposed charge, which could be introduced by 2012.

The leaflet, delivered to every home in Manchester, reads: "When he is travelling into central Manchester between 7am and 9.30am, he has to pay £2 when he drives past the outer charge points and £1 on the inner charge points.

"Then in the afternoon between 4pm and 6.30pm when he is travelling away from the centre, he pays £1 at the inner and £1 at the outer."

However, it emerged yesterday that Terry was actually 22-year-old model Erich Dalke, from Seattle, and that the photographs had been bought in from an internet modelling library.

Despite that, the leaflet read: "Terry likes to go to football matches and because they are out of peak times, he doesn't have to pay."

Another character "Ann from Ashton-under-Lyne" turned out to be an American model called Kiki and GMPTA eventually admitted that none of the models used was from Greater Manchester.

A spokesman said the case studies were intended to show what the experiences of ordinary people would be, were the charge be introduced.

"We have used pictures of models to illustrate these case studies, as is common practice in all forms of media," he said.

"The plans are still out for consultation and consideration. Since no-one is paying a congestion charge now, the case studies have to be based on a future projection.

"The studies have been worked out based on real journeys taken every day by real people; taking children to school, going to football matches or shopping, visiting hospitals, working in peak times and delivering goods around Greater Manchester.

"Our feedback is that the examples have been hugely helpful in aiding people's understanding."

The congestion charge, proposed by the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities and backed by GMPTA, is linked to a bid for £3billion Government funding to improve public transport.

The councils are expected to submit their bid to the Department for Transport by the end of the month.