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Photographer threatened with arrest over jet ski photos

Posted by James Hammerton @ 10:05 am on 31 October, 2009.
Categories British politics, culture of suspicion.
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Amateur Photographer reports:

Garry had stopped in a lay-by after seeing a picture opportunity at Glyn Neath Lakes - a watersports centre adjacent to the A465 in South Wales.

He said he had been taking photos from a public area for ‘ten minutes’ when a man claiming to be the lake’s landowner approached. ‘A guy came over and said “stop photographing the children,”‘ said Garry. ‘He said you need permission to take photographs of children.’

The photos sent to Amateur Photographer (AP), clearly taken from a distance, show a man and a boy on the back of a jet ski, both dressed in wetsuits.

The man then complained to police who arrived shortly afterwards. ‘They checked the images on the camera. They were fine. He [the officer] then phoned my employer.’

Police had demanded identification and asked for details of Garry’s employers, a nearby foster carer agency.

Officers also ran his name through a police computer database.

‘Everything checked out fine,’ said Garry who had taken the pictures for his own portfolio and said he did not plan to publish any of them.

The officer then told Garry: ‘If you take another picture you will be arrested for, at the least, breach of the peace [under the Public Order Act].’

AP understands that concerns had been raised because there were children changing, into wetsuits, near the lake which is used for ‘youth engagement activity’.

However, Garry told us that he was not aware of children changing nearby. He said he could only see the lake and the treeline from where he was standing.

Garry added that, at the time, this matter had not been raised by the landowner, or the police officer who was called to the scene.

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