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Briton held for taking beach photos of boys
Eighty pictures are research for clothes firm, he claims
By Neil Sears in London and Len Port in Vilamoura email@example.com
‘I realised I’d been an idiot’
A BRITISH business executive has appeared in a Portuguese court after being accused of taking photos of children on a beach.
Parents had been alarmed when they saw 48-year-old grandfather Rhys Jones – who works for international clothing retailer Peacocks – arrive at an Algarve holiday resort alone and start taking pictures of boys in their swimwear.
When the parents complained, a row developed, police were called, and father-of-two Mr Jones was arrested.
The beach is 50 miles from where Madeleine McCann disappeared from her parents’ apartment in Praia da Luz in May 2007.
It is understood that 80 pictures of boys aged eight to 15 were found on the camera.
But Mr Jones has told the Daily Mail that while he had been ‘absolutely stupid’, he had an innocent excuse – he was impressed by the youngsters’ swimwear, wanted his firm to copy it, and was taking photos as research.
The businessman, who was holidaying in a hotel in Vilamoura with his wife Ann and his 14-year-old son, spoke before appearing in an Algarve court on Friday afternoon.
The keen amateur sportsman, who runs an under-14s football team and is chairman of the Welsh Club Cricket Conference, has worked for Peacocks for 30 years and is international operations and development controller.
Last Thursday he was on the beach at Vilamoura when he said he realised young male holidaymakers were wearing swimwear unlike that stocked by Peacocks.
On the spur of the moment, he said, he began photographing boys playing in the sand, with the aim of showing them to colleagues to suggest they stocked similar trunks, particularly for sales in Peacocks stores in Cyprus and Malta.
Police were called after parents objected.
Mr Jones said: ‘I was absolutely stupid. When parents approached me I realised what an idiot I’d been. ‘I can fully understand the parents’ reaction. I’ve been bloody stupid. My wife keeps telling me I’m an idiot – she’s right, I was.
‘But I didn’t try to sneak any pictures, I did it all openly.’
Mr Jones said he is worried about his job at Peacocks, which is based close to his home in Cardiff.
Portuguese police commander Marques Ferreira said: ‘A 48-year old Englishman was seen photographing children on the beach at Marinotel in Vilamoura [Tivoli Marina Vilamoura 5 Star Hotel with private Beach] and was arrested by the Maritime Police.
‘We were able to verify the existence of many photographs of children aged between eight and 15.’
A police source said witnesses said, ‘The man pointed his camera several times at children who were playing in the sand by the water’.
Mr Jones has been named an ‘arguido’, or formal suspect, and appeared in a court on Friday with a local lawyer to answer initial questions, but is understood to have been allowed to return home with his wife and son at the weekend.
He will be recalled to Portugal if the court decides to take the case further. Taking photographs of children without their parents’ permission is a crime in Portugal.
Mr Jones was on Saturday due to play cricket in his position as captain of the Lisvane Second XI in Cardiff and is due to go on a cricket tour of Berkshire today.
One of his friends said last night: ‘ He has been one of the stalwarts of the cricket club for many years, joining as a teenager just after its foundation in the late 70s.
‘I can’t believe he has ended up in a Portuguese court. He’s a straightforward guy with a great sense of humour.’
Daily Mail | 2010-08-23 | UK | Page: 5
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