Taking mobile phone pictures in UK shopping malls means you’re probably a paedophile

You know it’s got a little bit crazy in the United Kingdom when mall security guards have stopped worrying about pickpockets and shoplifters in order to focus on parents taking mobile phone pictures of their children. Or at least, that appears to be the case if you’re stupid enough to shop at the Bridges Shopping Centre in Sunderland.

Sky News reports this incident today:

Kevin Geraghty-Shewan had taken four-year-old Ben to the Bridges Shopping Centre in Sunderland to spend £10 the boy had been given as a treat.

He told Sky News: “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.

“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.

“I told him Ben was my own son. But he said I couldn’t prove it. He said there is a real problem with paedophiles and that if I didn’t like it, he’d call the manager.

The centre employees apparently then called the Police who approached Mr Geraghty-Shewan and threatened to delete the photos. Until Mr Geraghty-Shewan put his foot down.

What an absolutely ridiculous occurrence. Absolutely ridiculous. I’d have done exactly as Mr Geraghty-Shewan did and made it utterly clear that the security guards — and the Police — could mind their own sodding business.

Surely it’s possible to tell the difference between a dad taking a picture of his son and some dodgy looking guy taking pictures of any children?

I trust this incident will cause a correction to the policies of the security guards at The Bridges Shopping Mall.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

3 replies on “Taking mobile phone pictures in UK shopping malls means you’re probably a paedophile”

Easy on there Ewan – you're in danger of going all Daily Mail on us 😉

It's inevitable that as technology becomes mainstream (in this case, cameraphones) that there will be incidents where people in positions of authority come up with or misinterpret policies to mitigate any unintended ill-effects.

When those people are in roles with zero experience / qualifications necessary (I may be being uncharitable here, but I imagine that's the case with shopping centre security) then the chances are magnified that there will be a cock-up. The centre manager is probably banging his head against a wall in frustration that one of his staff could be such an idiot.

I'm not letting it convince me that the UK is any more crazy/broken/whatever than it was yesterday.

But we all do have a sort of duty to front misinformed / jobsworth / little Hitler people like this – So that the next parent to come along doesn't suffer the same hassle.


Too much security is not something wrong in a shopping mall, but their problem was common sense. You can't just push some things too far because you might wake up a serious discrimination lawsuit and I don't think the shopping mall wants that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.