COMIC Relief is to stop investing in arms, tobacco or alcohol companies after a review sparked by criticism of some of its financial dealings.

A BBC Panorama programme last year suggested that millions of pounds donated to the ­charity had been tied up in some areas which appear to run counter to its aims because it does not exercise any sort of ethical screening on its investments.

A full review was ordered and the organisation, which generates huge publicity for its activities with star-studded programmes screened by the BBC, said it would be more transparent about its investments and exclude companies that manufacture armaments or tobacco products or whose primary business is the manufacture of alcohol products.

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The charity said it was following recommendations to limit the number of ­"absolute prohibitions" in a bid to "avoid an excessive reduction in the universe available for investment".

Tim Davie, chairman of Comic Relief, said: "Public trust is the cornerstone of Comic Relief and we would be nothing without our many supporters to whom we have listened and will keep listening.

"We now have an ­investment policy that is firmly in line with the ethos of the charity, at the same time as making sure that the money we raise can go further to change lives both here in the UK and abroad."