A COUNCIL is reviewing its policy on photography at its swimming pools, in light of new mobile phone technology.

Hambleton District Council is in the process of reviewing its policy under the Child Protection Act, to prevent photographs of youngsters at its pools getting into the wrong hands.

The current policy has caused some confusion for customers, unaware of the ban on photography.

Zoe Boynton was at Thirsk Pool this week with two-month-old son Lucas, his grandmother and aunt, when she was told to stop taking pictures and to give her name and address.

She said: "I didn't know you couldn't take pictures, so it was a bit embarrassing when I was told. It was obvious I was only taking pictures of my child.

"It was Lucas's first time swimming and I just wanted some pictures, it all seemed a bit unnecessary and made me feel like I was doing something wrong. The man was obviously just doing his job, but it made me feel uncomfortable."

The assistant manager of Thirsk Pool, Tom Stewart, said their policy prevents anyone taking pictures in the pool area or changing rooms without the manager's permission, and anyone who does take photographs must give their name and address.

He said: "We have to use the rules consistently, to protect the people using the pool.

"If we let one person take pictures and they ended up on the Internet for example, we would be in trouble."

Mrs Boynton said the whole situation could have been avoided if there had been signs explaining photography was not allowed, something Mr Stewart agrees would help staff implement the policy.

Stephen Lister, facilities manager at the council, responsible for the authority's pools in Thirsk, Northallerton, Bedale and Stokesley, said the policy is being reviewed, because some mobile phones can also take pictures.

Changes will be made using guidance from the Institute of Sport and Recreation Management.

Mr Lister said: "I completely understand and empathise with parents, but we need to be very careful, we have to protect the children visiting our centres.

"The entire leisure industry is having to face up to this. I expect our policy will include signage, which has to be very carefully thought through and have the approval of the council's elected members."