Photographers hit by clampdown on Heathrow pictures

A national newspaper photographer covering last Thursday morning's terror alerts had his photos deleted by police at Heathrow, and all photographers arriving at the airport were banned from taking pictures.

Daily Mirror photographer Mike Moore was taking photographs at the airport when he was confronted by police.

At least one other photographer, who is thought to work for a news agency, is believed to have had his photographs deleted as well.

The chairman of the British Press Photographers Association, Jeff Moore, who went to take pictures at Heathrow following the alerts, said: "You weren't allowed to take a camera into the airport or even outside the airport. If you did, you were told you would be arrested. You weren't even allowed on the concourse. BAA [which runs the airport] are very aggressively anti-press."

He added: "Any [photographers] who went inside the airport were threatened with arrest, taken out and told, if they came back in, they'd be arrested. They had to be completely outside the airport, back to the A-road outside — you were only allowed to work from there."

Jeff Moore said that since the 7/7 bombings, lots of photographers have had their pictures deleted by the police.

"When you speak to the hierarchy at the Metropolitan Police, they'll tell you this is disgraceful and mustn't happen and that they're going to eradicate this.

But when you come down to any inspector or below, they don't give a monkey's and do whatever they feel is right at the time. There have been countless incidents of this type of thing.

During the aftermath of the [7 July] bombings, one photographer had a machine gun stuffed up his nose for taking a picture of an abandoned car. It's getting beyond a joke."

Moore added: "The real shame is no one at the newspapers or in TV seems remotely interested in doing anything about it. Editors of newspapers and news editors of TV companies don't really care. It's time people a bit more senior than freelance photographers got involved in this."

In April, the Chartered Institute of Journalists, the BPPA and the NUJ agreed a set of guidelines with the Met, the British Transport Police and City of London Police.

Point three states: "Members of the media have a duty to take photographs and film incidents and we have no legal power or moral responsibility to prevent or restrict what they record. Once images are recorded, we have no power to delete or confiscate them without a court order, even if we think they contain damaging or useful evidence."

But a BAA statement said: "Heathrow airport is private property and governed by byelaws. Essentially these prohibit the press without authority from BAA. If they breach those byelaws it is a criminal offence. BAA do appoint residential accredited press."

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