Photographer Jon Barton was escorted off the pier after a number of complaints were made against him
A man who was escorted off and swore at by security guards for taking pictures on Blackpool’s North Pier says he “won’t let them bully” him.
Jon Barton, 61, frequently visits Blackpool to see friends and to take up his hobby of photography. Despite being from Manchester, John says he makes the drive to the seaside town weekly to take snaps of the unique landscape.
On Saturday (April 2), Jon headed to North Pier, a favourite spot of his he says because of the lack of fairground rides obstructing the view. Taking his usual kit of two cameras, a rucksack and a GoPro, Jon headed onto the pier only to be stopped soon after.
On previous occasions, Jon says he has been told not to take images whilst on the pier before, sometimes resulting in a more heated exchange with those telling him to stop. Because of this, he says he reached out to the pier manager to complain about the behaviour of the security and to ask about the rules.
In a message shown by LancsLive, Jon was told by pier management he isn’t taking pictures for commercial gain then he is “okay to take pictures”. The North Pier website also states professional filming or photography requires permission but with no rules over personal photography.
This was followed by pier management telling him to reference their chat should he find himself in a similar situations. With that in mind, Jon went back to the pier on the weekend hoping to get images of both the view and the pier. It was then that he was approached by security.
Praetorian Security Solutions, which runs security on North Pier, said Jon was asked to leave due to a number of complaints over regarding his conduct.
“I heard someone shout me ‘oi can I just have a word’ and I thought that not good. I just knew. They tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘you can’t go on the pier with that camera you’ll have to put it away in your rucksack,” Jon told LancsLive.
“He said ‘you’re not going on that pier with that camera’. They started getting a bit stroppy about it and the other guy, the camera was pointing up at him out of my rucksack and he pressed the camera down. I said don’t touch me camera, so I put it back up and when I put it back up I pressed record.”
Whilst being escorted off of the pier, Jon filmed the events unfolding, documenting the moment he was called a “bell***”. Jon can be seen with two security men as one of two can be heard saying: “Walk. Keep walking.”
This was followed by the second security guard calling him a “smart arse”, a moment also caught on camera. At this point, Jon was taken to the entrance of a pier where one of guards paused to point out a sign seemingly about filming and photography rules.
Explaining he still wasn’t sure why they were kicking him off the pier, the security guard said: “Listen, I’ve spoke to you and I’ve spoken to you nicely. I’m just telling you what my boss tells me, the manager of this pier and it’s there.”
Jon replied “its got public access” only for the security guards to say: “The owners of the pier don’t want it. You’re just trying to be a smart arse. I told you listen, you’re not coming on with that camera end of. It doesn’t matter what you know or who you know, you’re not coming with that, end of.”
As Jon appeared to nod in the video, he is lead off again out off the pier but the security again says: “You don’t need to get smart over it. Listen, you watch too much YouTube and all these f****** divvys.”
Jon then says laughing: “That’s what I do, I’m on YouTube anyway.” Here, the second security guards responds: “Yeah you’re a bell*** aren’t you that’s why.”
Jon replies: “There’s no need to call me a bell***.”
Towards the end of the video, the second guard states: “You’re one of these they come over giving security guards all this f****** sh**.”
“If I’d have started shouting at them, it’d have escalated, they probably would’ve thumped me. I stayed calm really,” Jon added.
“I understand about the commercial aspect of it but if it’s just a photograph of the pier there should be no problem with that. Photography isn’t a crime.”
In response to Jon’s post, manager Dean Fairclough of the pier security company, Praetorian Security Solutions, posted a statement. Adding to the statement, Mr Fairclough told LancsLive: ““We as a company pride ourselves on the service we provide to all of our clients and venues, especially one of Blackpool’s most acclaimed attractions – the famous Blackpool Piers.
“Mr Barton, on the occasion in question, was escorted off the Pier in a civilised manner with no force used after being asked politely multiple times to not take images on the Pier – particularly as there were many families with children on the Pier who had made numerous complaints to our supervisors about his behaviour and what he was taking images of and recording. After refusing to follow our polite requests our supervisors had no choice but to ask him to leave.
“Mr Barton has then recorded our supervisors, without their consent, in an attempt, we believe, to aggravate them. When this was not achieved he has then resorted in posting the video on social media and YouTube before even contacting ourselves or the Piers in relation to this. This is not the first time dealing with Mr Barton as we have had numerous incidents around image taking last year – one such incident which resulted in the police being contacted after Mr Barton became increasingly aggressive when asked to show the images on his GoPro, mobile, and professional camera.”
Mr Fairclough said the company “does not tolerate the language used by one of our supervisors towards the end of the video and would like to highlight that the appropriate action has been taken internally in regards to this”.
Speaking of the incident with Mr Barton, he said: “We will be following up with the relevant authorities if necessary.”
LancsLive approached the management behind Blackpool Pier for a comment but did not receive a response.