Lymington Town Mayor Jacqueline England pictured (left) with the torchbearer on Saturday

Picture credit: Stan Green

Photographer Stan Green clashed with Lymington Town Mayor Jacqueline England after the torch had been paraded through the streets last Saturday [14 July 2012].

Green – an amateur who has sold images for publication – said he was standing in a public place on the quayside when he decided to take photos of the mayor and torchbearer who were accompanied by an ‘official photographer’.

Olympic hopes dashed

The retired architect said he had missed the chance to take photos earlier in the day due to the ‘crowd crush’.

‘My ambition turned into a nightmare,’ Green told Amateur Photographer (AP). ‘The mayor saw me, and angrily approached saying I could not take photographs of her as it “would spoil her image”‘, and then demanded I delete any that I had taken.’

Green, who was using a Nikon D800 and 18-200mm lens, added: ‘I pointed out to her that I was perfectly entitled to take photographs of whatever I wanted, as I was in a public place. I refused her demands.

‘If the mayor wanted total exclusivity of the photographs, she should have chosen a totally private location.’

‘It’s where they unload the fish’

Green said he was 20 feet away when he managed to grab five shots. ‘She stormed towards me… It’s a totally public area. It’s where they unload the fish.’

Speaking to AP, the mayor (pictured above) claimed Green’s manner ‘bordered on aggressive’, which the photographer denies.

England said she was worried the shots would end up as a ‘joke picture’, adding that ‘everyone was soaked’ following a day of rain, though she conceded that, as the town’s mayor, she was ‘up for public consumption’.

‘He sprung on us.. he didn’t say who he was, where he came from or where they [the pictures] would be published,’ said England who claimed that the ‘Fisherman’s Quay’ area of the harbour was ‘not really a public place’.

‘I said “excuse me, would you mind deleting them”.’

Fears over torch attack

England said she was also trying to protect the torchbearer who was ‘very nervous’ because the police officers who had been alongside her earlier in the day were no longer there to protect the torch from being taken by a member of the public.

And she accused Green of trying to grab the ‘limelight’ by subsequently raising the issue with the media.

‘It was an unfortunate situation. After that, no more [official] photos of her [the torchbearer] with the torch were taken. It was lockdown. She was shaken by it.’

Green later complained to police that the mayor’s behaviour was ‘insulting and aggressive.’

But the photographer, who travels around the UK taking images of coastal locations, said police did not pursue his complaint.

England told AP: ‘I was in two minds whether to report him myself.’

Green, who plans to raise the issue with the town council, said he had driven to Lymington from his home in Newbury, Berkshire.