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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 May, 2003, 15:05 GMT 16:05 UK
Paedophile fear prompts phone ban
Mobile phone
All mobile phones have been banned from the changing rooms
Mobile phones have been banned from council sports centres in Greater Manchester to protect children from sex offenders.

Officials at Bolton Council fear paedophiles could use the hi-tech picture messaging phones to take pictures of children in changing rooms, and put them on the internet.

Leisure centres users are banned from using mobile phones in the changing rooms, toilets and showers areas in the town's leisure centres.

As the camera phones become more popular, local authorities and some businesses are starting to restrict the places they can be used.

In the past, sports centres and swimming pools have allowed the use of photography and video equipment at events like sporting competitions.

Bolton Council has implemented a ban on all photography and filming in leisure centres.

A statement by Bolton Council said: "The person wishing to take photographs or use video equipment will have on their person a visible sticker authorising consent if challenged by a member of staff or public.

"Mobile phones can be used for taking photos and there is evidence of those photos being downloaded onto worldwide websites.

"We are being proactive to ensure we are doing whatever we can to protect our leisure centre customers."

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