A journalist who had his camera confiscated by police while he was covering a news story has received an apology from the force after it admitted the error.

Paul Foster, deputy news editor of Portsmouth-based newspaper, The News, complained to Hampshire Constabulary after an officer grabbed his digital camera.

He was covering a story about a man who had suffered a suspected overdose in the back of a coach in nearby Fareham, according to HoldtheFrontPage.co.uk.

The incident had prompted officers to search other people on the coach, at which point Foster took pictures of the officers.

An officer is understood to have demanded the camera as Foster left the scene, apparently snatching it from him after he refused to hand it over.

Police returned the camera later.

A spokeswoman for Hampshire Constabulary said officers are reminded that the only time they have the power to seize cameras is in connection with ‘terrorist activity or a breach of the Official Secrets Act’.

But she was not able to explain why the camera was confiscated in this case.

She told Amateur Photographer: ‘It is unfortunate that this camera was seized but it was swiftly returned and the photographer was issued with an apology from the force.

‘The police officer who seized the camera will be reminded of the force’s policy in this area.’

The force says it operates an ‘open press policy’.

‘If there is a risk of them filming something inappropriate – a body not yet removed, or a number plate that may be broadcast or published before the next of kin have been informed, for example – we explain this to photographers and reporters and seek their co-operation,’ added the police spokeswoman.