A Conservative Member of Parliament was stopped and searched by police under anti-terrorism laws after he was found taking pictures of a cycle path.
Andrew Pelling, MP for Central Croydon, was searched by police officers who thought he might be a terrorist, despite him showing his House of Commons pass when they asked for identification.
Mr Pelling had been taking pictures of the cycle lane at the junction of Addiscombe Road and Cherry Orchard Road and said his motive was to highlight the “long-neglected bicycle and pedestrian route”, which had been of concern to his constituents.
But, as police officers drove past they noticed his behaviour. Two officers then approached Mr Pelling and asked what he was doing as they believed he had been taking pictures of East Croydon train station.
He told the officers he was a MP and that he was taking the pictures for use in Parliament “to illustrate the dangers posed by the protracted maintenance works”.
Still suspicious, they demanded to see his ID, but even when Mr Pelling produced his House of Commons identification the officers were not satisfied.
They issued a stop-and-search notice and searched his bag, but after finding nothing of concern they left.
A police spokeswoman confirmed the incident on December 30 saying: “An officer stopped and searched a man’s bag in Cherry Orchard Road on December 30, under section 44 of the Terrorism Act. The officer conducted a stop-and-search – taking into account the current terror threat – as he was taking pictures in the vicinity of a major transport hub."
Mr Pelling said: “It is pleasing to see just how vigilant our police is at these times of heightened international political tension and the risk of terrorism here at home.
“I am glad my stop and search account as a white, middle-aged male shows that anyone can be suspected of, and questioned about, terrorism, regardless of race, creed or colour.
“This is another burden on the police when the key concern of combating knife killings is still an urgent call on local police resources.
“Despite what is said about the number of police officers being sufficient, I have real worries that the local command is awarded insufficient manpower resources in a town of dynamic change, which brings with it increasing policing needs.”
Mr Pelling is not the first MP to have been a victim of the Government’s anti-terror laws, with Conservative MP Damian Green controversially detained for several hours in December.