A photography enthusiast has been banned from taking pictures of apples on trees in a Birmingham orchard.

Philip Foster feels staff from nearby Crowley House Probation Hostel overreacted when they spotted him taking pictures from a footpath he says is regularly used as a shortcut by members of the public.

Though Philip concedes that the path crosses private land, he feels he has been the victim of discrimination by being seen with a camera.

?It is photographer?ism? the truth is that the owners have not stopped anybody else using it. Nobody else gets harassed, the gates are unlocked – my wife uses it without incident,? said the 40-year-old.

During the confrontation, on 22 September, the probation hostel staff member demanded to see the images he had taken.

?After looking at the shots she seemed satisfied,? said Philip.

But, the next day, Philip said he was banned from using the footpath altogether, even though he had no intention of taking any more photos. ?The lady informed me that I was now recognised because of my camera and therefore banned from using the footpath as a short cut.?

Philip had been using a Nikon D300 digital SLR with a Tokina 12-24mm f/4 lens.

A probation service spokesman told Amateur Photographer (AP): ?Probation West Midlands does not permit visitors to photograph on our premises without written consent. The photographer was on a pathway that was clearly marked as being on private grounds and was asked by staff not to photograph while on the property.?

The spokesman added: ‘A man was seen on the premises the following day and was approached by a member of staff…

‘He was recognised as the same person that had been told not to photograph on the premises the day before and was asked to leave.’

However, the hostel denies it has completely banned Philip from using the path.

They say that the footpath is for the exclusive use of local residents visiting a nearby church.

AP understands that the probation service is concerned about a breach of security because such buildings house offenders on bail from prison. They also cater for offenders on community sentences and post-custodial sentences.

The probation service is also known to be worried about press photographers getting unauthorised pictures of hostel residents.

Philip continued: ?The lady acted in a reasonable manner although the upshot was anything but. She seemed intelligent and polite but her actions, in my mind, have overstepped the mark.?

Picture credit: Philip Foster

Photographer in apple pictures ban