Snapper's Suffolk 'terrorism' shock

AN amateur photographer taking pictures of a landmark shopping centre in Suffolk was told to stop because she represented a terrorism threat.

Ross Bentley

AN amateur photographer taking pictures of a landmark shopping centre in Suffolk was told to stop because she represented a terrorism threat.

Property agent Kathryn Smith was approached by a security guard as she snapped images of Bury St Edmunds' newly-opened Arc shopping complex for a photography competition she planned on entering.

“I was absolutely gobsmacked,” said Miss Smith, aged 26. “I'd been walking around taking shots for about 10-15 minutes when a guard came up to me and asked me to stop taking pictures. When I asked why, he said it was because of the terrorism threat.


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“He said he'd been watching me on CCTV for ten minutes. It does seem a bit extreme and I have to admit he did look a bit embarrassed when he asked me.

“My brief was to depict a town scene and I thought the Arc was a good example of how Bury was being rejuvenated.”

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Miss Smith, a company director at Heartsease Property Management Ltd in Chedburgh, is currently in the process of buying two one-bedroom flats in the centre. She said she had been taking shots of the walkways around the centre and was there at sunset to get some atmospheric pictures. When the confrontation occurred ten days ago, she said she was worried she might be asked to destroy some of the images she had already taken but she was allowed to keep them and has since entered one into the competition.

Officials at the shopping centre said the incident took place shortly after staff had received training on security issues.

“It sounds like the officer has misinterpreted our brief on this matter,” said Arc centre manager Paul Haynes.

“The arc is private land, so people should ask approval to take photographs, which we will normally grant - certainly in this situation.

We appreciate that it is unrealistic to expect people to realise that this is a private area and we understand why people want to take pictures, as we think it is a nice location. However, we do have to be vigilant.”

Miss Smith says she saw no signs telling her the Arc was private property and that photographers required permission.

She added: “The Arc has attracted a lot of tourists to Bury, who might want to take pictures. It would be silly to try and stop them all.”

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