Mr Geraghty-Shewan said the centre staff lacked "common sense"
A father was told he was not allowed take pictures of his four-year-old son at a Sunderland shopping centre because of fears he could be a paedophile.
Kevin Geraghty-Shewan, of Kent, was challenged by a security guard at The Bridges after photographing his son Ben on a children's train ride.
He was told he could not prove Ben was his son and later quizzed by a police officer called to the centre.
Bosses at the shopping centre have apologised for the "misunderstanding".
Mr Geraghty-Shewan, 48, of Gillingham, said they had visited the shopping centre after Ben was given £10 from his grandfather to buy a toy.
Ben Geraghty-Shewan is "train obsessed"
His wife had suggested taking a picture of their son on a mobile phone camera after the "train obsessed" youngster boarded the ride.
A security guard then approached and told him it was against the centre's policy and that he "could be a paedophile".
Mr Geraghty-Shewan said: "He said there was no way of proving what I was doing was innocent.
"I told him Ben was my own son and that he was blowing everything out of proportion.
"Five or 10 minutes later a police officer approached and asked for my name and address.
"I raised my voice, as I was getting a little annoyed by this stage, and he threatened to arrest me for breach of the peace.
"I could have understood if I had been observed hanging about but I had walked up with my wife and son.
"Surely these people should be able to tell the difference between the two situations - common sense was missing from the start."
In a statement The Bridges said safety was taken "very seriously" at all its shopping centres.
The statement said: "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."