A great-grandfather is living in fear after being wrongly accused of being a paedophile when he filmed rides at a funfair using a camera attached to his mobility scooter.
Mike Beard, 76, visited the Bank Holiday Big Weekend event in Worcester on Sunday (29/5) and filmed a number of attractions using his Go-Pro camera.
But the pensioner was left stunned when police were called to investigate claims he had been secretly filming children at Pitchcroft Racecourse.
After showing officers the innocent footage of the fairground rides they confirmed no offence has been committed.
Despite being cleared of any wrong-doing Mike says his life has been shattered by the accusations and is fearful of repercussions at the hands of vigilantes.
Yesterday (Wed) Mike, from St John’s, Worcester, said: “Because I am an elderly man on a scooter making videos they are narrow-minded enough to think I’m doing something untoward.
“What I want to do is make it quite clear that I don’t do anything like that – it was entirely innocent.
“If I was doing something I shouldn’t I would surely be more covert – I certainly wouldn’t have a tripod three foot in the air.
“I have a bright blue mobility scooter, I wear a hat which says Worcester City Scenes, I deliberately want people to see what I’m doing.
“It’s my hobby but I no longer feel safe on the streets due to the accusation and any repercussions.
“I have been filming throughout the city since I started the Facebook page after my wife passed away.
“I visit the market stalls and talk to the traders, and look at the history of the city.
“I’m not doing anything sinister, it’s just something I like to do and it keeps me occupied.
“I initially set up the Go Pro for my own safety – like a dash cam for my mobility scooter.”
The retired adult training officer for the Chamber of Commerce said wanted to take up a new hobby after his wife Margaret died four years ago.
He started to teach himself how to film short videos and set up a Facebook page called Worcester City Scenes UK.
He said he was first made aware there had been a complaint by a fairground worker and decided to leave when he was stopped on a nearby road by an officer.
Mike added: “I went to the funfair and they had a mini-zorbing activity going on, so I started filming it.
“But a fairground worker came up to me and told me someone had objected to me filming their children.
“The worker was quite pleasant and I said fair enough and stopped filming.
“I was more interested in the zorbing, it was never my intention to offend anyone, but I agreed to stop.
“I left and went round the corner, where I saw a police van.
“An officer got up so I went up to him and told him I needed to speak to him.
“But then he said ‘No I need to speak to you’ and said to me ‘You’ve been reported for making films in a public place but this is not an offence’.
“I was incoherent, I couldn’t even say my name.
“I’m a 76-year-old law abiding man, I have never been in trouble with the police before.
“The policeman was very pleasant but it was a shock to think that someone called the police.
“I do know the law and I was entitled to film in a public place. I wasn’t looking at kids, I was looking at the rides.
“I went home and broke down.
“It upset me so much and I couldn’t stop shaking.”
Mike says the false accusations have left him so shook up, he later called police and asked them to come over to review everything on his computer.
He added: “I told the officer I wasn’t a paedophile and I volunteered to show him the footage because the whole experience was worrying me.
“He told me I wasn’t committing an offence and he said there was nothing to worry about.
“These people have made these allegations anonymously and then they have walked away but they have shattered my life.”