A picture that inadvertently remained in a photographer?s camera after police told him to delete his images is being used to help identify the officer at the centre of the controversy.

Photo enthusiast John Kelly says he was left humiliated and feeling like a criminal after a police community support officer (PCSO) ordered him to delete his pictures ? telling him he first needed permission before taking photographs of people in public.

The incident took place in Blackpool, Lancashire, a week ago.

The photographer realised afterwards that he had deleted all but one of the pictures in his Nikon D40 digital SLR.

And Lancashire police today requested the image, which had been forwarded to the Amateur Photographer‘s newsdesk, to help the force identify the officer.

Once we had gained the photographer?s permission, we promptly despatched the picture to Lancashire Constabulary, by email.

A police spokeswoman said that the officer involved could be one of three PCSOs on duty in the area at the time.

As we reported yesterday, Kelly was first told to delete pictures that included the officer in the frame.

The PCSO then apparently added: ‘You can’t take pictures of people without asking their permission.’

Kelly insists that the officer could only be seen in the background of his photographs, taken in a busy shopping area of the town.

Police say it could take several days before they are able to issue a press statement about the incident, after speaking to the officer concerned.

The incident is the latest in a series of clashes between police officers and photographers taking pictures in public places in the UK.

John Kelly/police

Picture (above):John Kelly realised he had one remaining digital image, which police are now using to help identify the community support officer (pictured in the right of the frame), who, the photographer claims, ordered him to delete all his pictures