The Guardian's editor Alan Rusbridger was stopped over use of a tripod on Hamsptead Heath under a by-law that also bans improper language and practising gymnastics, it has emerged.
How the Guardian website reported the news
However, it seems that the man who complained to Rusbridger in the first place may have been fortunate not to have been caught breaking the same by-law, as he likely breached Hamsptead Heath rules on swearing.
Rusbridger had been on Hampstead Heath to be photographed for the newspaper’s series on climate change.
He was with photographer David Levene and his assistant, who were kitted out with a tripod and reflectors.
Trouble started when Rusbridger took a picture of a jogger on the brow of a hill using his iPhone while waiting for Levene to change lenses.
Writing on the newspaper’s website yesterday, Rusbridger said: ‘He ran down the hill shouting that I had no right to take pictures and I’d better effing delete them…
‘We were effing out of order. It was illegal to take pictures here and if I didn’t delete the effing picture he’d effing call the police.’
Rusbridger said he was ‘disinclined’ to delete it and, soon after, two policemen arrived in response to a complaint.
‘I said I was pretty confident it wasn’t an offence to use an iPhone in a public place.
‘No, said Officer Davis, but it was an offence to use a tripod on Hampstead Heath.’
Rusbridger said he was handed a written caution.
‘Officer Davis and his colleague were friendly enough.
‘They summoned backup – a supervisor who, after due consideration, allowed us to use a tripod for the remaining five minutes of the shoot for a consideration of £60.’
Amateur Photographer contacted Hampstead Heath Constabulary to enquire about the cost of tripod use but had yet to receive a response at the time of writing.
Section 11 of the 1932 Hampstead Heath Byelaws states: ‘No person shall in any open space, without first obtaining or otherwise than in accordance with the terms of permit from the Council, erect or place or retain any post, rail, fence, photographic stand apparatus, tent, booth, screen, stand, swing or other building… erection or structure or any obstruction of any kind whatever.’
But Section 34 states: ‘No person shall in any open space bet, brawl, fight or use indecent or improper language…’