Police have issued a full apology to a photography enthusiast who was stopped from taking photographs at a publicly accessible Christmas lights event.

Phil Smith (pictured) lodged a formal complaint against Suffolk Police after an officer stopped him taking pictures from a spectator area in front of Ipswich Town Hall on Sunday 18 November.

Smith today told Amateur Photographer (AP): ?On Monday an inspector responsible for Ipswich Town centre came and gave me a full verbal apology for the way I was treated. He could understand the reason for me being upset for being stopped from taking photographs. He assured me that the officers concerned have been informed of the correct law in relation to the taking of photographs in public places.

?He also said it is a matter of officers having to be better educated in the law of taking photographs in a public place.?

Police told Smith they will also send him an apology in writing.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Police confirmed to AP: ?This was obviously a mistake on our part and we put our hands up.?

She said that the officers concerned were Special Constables – volunteers who support their local police on a part-time basis.

Phil told us he deleted all the photos that he had already taken on his digital camera in case he had broken any law.

He added: ?To compensate me for the loss of my images he [the inspector] gave me a DVD that was produced by the company responsible for arranging the event.?

Phil said he is more than satisfied with the outcome of his complaint and has written to thank Amateur Photographer for bringing the story to the attention of fellow photographers.

Earlier today we reported that the Bureau of Freelance Photographers has seen a rise in complaints from its members about police stops.

Picture: Photography enthusiast Phil Smith was stopped from taking pictures while in a public place Photo credit: Collis Ballantyne.