A father was accused of being a paedophile
and even threatened with arrest after taking an innocent photograph of his own son.
When Kevin Geraghty-Shewan took his four-year-old son Ben out on a shopping trip to Sunderland's Bridges Shopping Centre to spend his pocket money, they were hoping for an enjoyable family day out.
However, the day turned sour when Mr Geraghty-Shewan was approached by a security guard.
"Ben spotted a children's ride which had a train on it and wanted to have a go because he's obsessed with trains. When he got on my wife suggested we take a picture of him" Mr Geraghty-Shewan told Sky News.
"I took the picture on my phone and suddenly this security guard came up and told me it wasn't allowed because I could be a paedophile".
Despite protesting that Ben was his own son, the security guard insisted that he couldn't prove it.
The argument escalated when shortly afterward Mr Geraghty-Shewan was approached by a policeman.
"He said he'd received a complaint a man matching my description was taking pictures of children and wanted my name and address."
"I told him it was ridiculous because it was my own son. He then started asking me what I was doing in Sunderland, asked for my name and address and told me he had the right to delete my pictures."
After this, the argument became more heated and Mr Geraghty-Shewan was threatened with arrest for breach of the peace.
Bridges Shopping Centre issued a statement saying: "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."
Has our fear of paedophiles become irrational? Or is this simple a case of an over-zealous security guard and an argument which got out of hand?
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