A visiting paedophile in Southend called for police assistance earlier today after a concerned parent mistook him for a photographer. Mervyn Voo, 38, allegedly dialled 999 to ask for help when a mother of three young children approached him to ask for advice about the proper use of lens filters when shooting images outdoors.

Mr Voo said: ‘I was just standing around and minding my own business, when suddenly I was approached by a young mother who saw that I was holding a Canon 5D with a 70-300mm EF-S lens with Optical Image Stabilisation – she jumped to conclusions and thought that I was a seasoned professional photographer. She asked me if I thought that a polarising filter would be a good idea when trying to get the best possible photos of her children in very bright sunlight, and to be honest I don’t have a clue about this kind of thing and it made me feel very uncomfortable. I called 999 at this point and an officer was on the scene very quickly, and this was a relief as within a few minutes I was surrounded by parents who were looking for advice about lenses, apertures, high-speed memory cards and digital after effects.’

A spokesperson for local police added: ‘We arrived and immediately questioned all parents at the scene, and they were all sent on their way as no offences had taken place. We would like to remind the public that it can be very distressing to be mistaken for a photographer, and this sort of mindless accusation has the potential to ruin someone’s life.’


  1. This sort of thing will happen when people make snap judgements.

    But then such incidents need the exposure and the press should focus on these otherwise they are gone in a flash.