Father stopped from taking picture of his son, 4, on children's train ride 'in case he was a paedophile'

Daily Mail | February 27, 2010

A father was stopped from taking a photo of his son on a children's train ride after an over-zealous security guard accused him of being a paedophile.

Kevin Geraghty-Shewan, 48, was approached by the guard after he took the picture of his four-year-old son Ben on the toy engine outside a shop.

He was then threatened with arrest after refusing to hand his mobile phone containing the picture after a row with a policeman.

Mr Geraghty-Shewan said: 'Ben saw a children's ride which had a train on it and wanted to have a go because he's obsessed with trains.'

Moments later, he was apprehended by the security guard.

The father-of-one, who was in the North East visiting family, said: 'He said "you can't take pictures in here". I asked why and he told me it was because for all he knew I could be a paedophile.

'I told him Ben Was my son. But he said I couldn't prove it.

'I couldn't believe it. I walked away and then I thought about making a complaint.'

A few minutes later a police officer arrived at the Bridges Shopping Centre in Sunderland and threatened to delete the photograph.

'They said I matched the description of a man who had been taking pictures,' Mr Geraghty-Shewan said.

'They took my details and said they had the right to remove the picture from my phone.

'I got annoyed and things got heated, then he threatened me with arrest for breach of the peace.

'Ben thought I was in trouble because he had sat on the ride and we didn't put the money in.'
Mr Geraghty-Shewan was so annoyed by the incident he posted a picture of the security guard on his blog.

A spokesman for the Bridges Shopping Centre said: 'We take the safety at all  our shopping centres very seriously.

'We do ask our security guards across the estate to be diligent in implementing  our security measures, which includes monitoring photography in our centres.

'Unfortunately on this occasion what should have been a simple polite  conversation led to a misunderstanding and we apologise for any offence caused.

'It is always our aim to implement our security procedures with the minimum of fuss and disruption to our shoppers.'

A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: 'We received reports of a disagreement over a photo taken on the premises of a shopping centre. No offence took place.'