A RETIRED lawyer has claimed he was stopped from taking pictures of Edinburgh's Winter Wonderland by an event steward who told him it would "breach data protection laws".
Amateur photographer David Elder, 72, from Haddington, said he had gone to Princes Street Gardens to take pictures of the fairground rides as well as panoramic views of the setting.
But he says no sooner had he set up his tripod near the Scott Monument than a steward came over to tell him it was not allowed.
The organisers of the attraction today told the Evening News that only photographers using long-lens cameras need to be granted on-site approval, and there was no ban on anyone else.
But Mr Elder insisted he was told to pack his camera, which had a normal lens, away at 3pm last Wednesday.
Mr Elder, a member of the Haddington Camera Club, said: "He (the steward] made it very clear that I was not allowed to take pictures, only ones of my family.
"I asked him about people who take pictures on mobile phones. He said they would be told the same.
"I had to dismantle everything and head for my bus home."
When Mr Elder got home he contacted his fellow photo club enthusiasts – where he used to be president – telling them to keep away from Edinburgh Winter Wonderland if they were hoping to be able to take pictures.
He said he goes to the attraction every year and believes there will be many amateurs out planning to take pictures with cameras like his, including tourists.
He said: "I think what happened was very over the top.
"I have been to so many public events like this.
"There should be a clear notice displayed, explaining the rules. This is like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut."
The event organisers denied there was a policy in place to stop people taking photographs. They would not elaborate on the reasons for restrictions on long-lens cameras.
Nickie Gott, event producer, said: "Edinburgh's Christmas is a place of fun where families can come to enjoy themselves, so it naturally provides the perfect opportunity for family photography.
"We do however have a responsibility to public safety and welfare so we simply ask that anyone planning to use long-lens cameras make themselves known to the site stewards so that an on-site photography pass can be arranged."