Page last updated at 15:08 GMT, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 16:08 UK

Apology to pool photo pensioners

A council has apologised to two women after a worker ordered them to stop photographing a deserted paddling pool over fears about child protection.

Southampton City Council said it was trying to safeguard youngsters on the city's common but added staff would now be advised to use more discretion.

Betty Robinson, 82, and Brenda Bennett, 69, were taking pictures when they were ordered to stop by a female worker.

Mrs Robinson said: "It's pathetic, bureaucracy gone mad."

'Fine line'

"I said is it because we might be paedophiles? There were no children in the pool but she pointed to a man and boys in the distance and said we could come back later at 6pm when the park was closed.

"We are just a couple of old ladies who wouldn't hurt children and we are certainly not paedophiles."

Mike Harris, head of leisure and culture at Southampton City Council, said in a statement: "I'm sorry if we have caused any offence on this occasion.

"We have to walk a fine line between protecting the children who use this popular paddling pool and the interests of the community as a whole.

"A lot of people are more concerned about the safety of their children these days so it is appropriate that our staff are aware of who is taking photos."

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