CONTROVERSIAL internet regulations have struck the Worcester News for the first time.

Google has removed a five-year-old article from its searches, as part of the disputed EU ‘right to be forgotten’ law.

A ruling by the European Court of Justice earlier this year means stories deemed irrelevant or outdated can be removed from search engine results.

The story in question was about artist Dan Roach, who received a scholarship from the University of Worcester in 2009.

Published alongside the piece was this photograph of Mr Roach with some of his artwork from the time.

In a statement to your Worcester News, Mr Roach said: “Since 2009, when the story and photograph originally appeared in the Worcester News, my paintings have developed; the work depicted in the 2009 article bears little resemblance to the paintings I’m now making.

“The popularity and high traffic of the Worcester News website meant that a search on Google would bring up an outdated image as the first item, which in turn meant that anyone researching my work may view it with an outdated perspective.

“I had hoped for some flexibility with the image in the piece, however the Worcester News explained they do not usually take articles down, something I fully respect.

“The decision to ask for the link to be removed from Google was based on no more than a wish to highlight my new work, rather than the old.”

Earlier this year Mr Roach asked this newspaper for the photo to be removed, however his request was declined.

He has since gone on to be selected for two national painting awards and receive attention from high-profile galleries.

Google started complying with the regulations in July, but opposes the law.

More than 90,000 people have applied for data to be wiped.

Critics, including Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, have said the ruling is open to abuse and could see people hiding information from the public.

It has also been suggested it is flawed as people outside of Europe can see the search results.