Ofcom has upheld a complaint against BBC Radio Bristol after metro mayor Dan Norris accused a listener live on air of displaying a signed photo of Adolf Hitler in his window.

Dan Norris told host John Darvall during an interview about the state of the region’s buses that police were called to the home of Robert Phillips, of Clandown, near Radstock, because of the image of the Nazi dictator.

Mr Phillips complained that both allegations were false and that he was not given a right to reply.

The broadcasting watchdog upheld his complaint of unjust or unfair treatment on the mid-morning show last September.

In its decision, published on Monday, April 8, Ofcom said: “The programme included a discussion between the presenter and the Mayor about transport in the area.

“A clip was played of the complainant expressing his dissatisfaction with the local bus service and the Mayor’s handling of the transport system.”

Ofcom said in response, the Mayor referred to Mr Phillips as an “extreme right-wing person” who “had a signed photo of Adolf Hitler on his house, home window.”

Ofcom added: “The complainant said that he was treated unfairly in the programme because the comments made about him were untrue and that he had no ‘agenda’ other than highlighting the poor bus service in the area.

Mr Phillips said Mr Norris had “single-handedly destroyed the rural transport system out here and there is absolutely nothing now”.

Dan Norris was referring to an old news story about Mr Phillips’ mother whose collection of Nazi memorabilia was confiscated by police following a raid at her home in 2006 during an investigation connected to her son.

Media reports at the time said Avon & Somerset Constabulary dropped the case in 2008 and accepted the search and seizure of property had been illegal and awarded Mr Phillips thousands of pounds in compensation.

In its response to the Ofcom investigation about Mr Darvall’s show, the BBC said that “ideally, the host would have distanced himself and the BBC more clearly from Mr Norris’s comments”.

BBC provided Ofcom with a statement made by Mr Norris, in which he confirmed that he had known the complainant for over two decades and had several dealings with him and that he stood by what he had said in the programme. Mr Norris confirmed that Mr Phillips was banned from travelling on WESTlink buses.

“It was Ofcom’s view that when taken together, both the fact that Mr Norris’s significant allegations about Mr Phillips were not challenged and that he was then not given an appropriate and timely opportunity to respond to those allegations, resulted in unfairness to Mr Phillips.

“This was likely to have materially and adversely affected some listeners’ opinions of Mr Phillips in a manner that was unfair to him.

Ofcom ruled that the BBC had not taken care to ensure that Mr Phillips was not treated unfairly in the programme.

A BBC spokesperson said: “We accept Ofcom’s findings.”

The mayor declined to comment further.