An alert shopper in a supermarket caught a man taking photographs of a seven-year-old girl on his mobile phone.
The woman alerted the girl’s mother who called staff to Tesco in Hemel Hempstead. Craig Laundon, a 44 year old from Tring Road, Aylesbury, was detained until the police arrived.
I don’t know what happened to you. People hold you in high regard. You have a problem. You needed to be caught because you needed help.Recorder Kalyani Kaul QC
Laundon, a self-employed health and safety engineer, pleaded guilty on Friday (May 22) to one act of outraging public decency on November 22. He was of previous good character.
Prosecutor Joseph Templeton told the St Albans Crown Court that officers also seized Craig Laundon’s computer, but nothing illegal was found.
Mr Templeton said: “The images of the seven-year-old were not indecent.
“The case was brought because the act of taking the photographs in Tesco rendered it an offence.”
When questioned by the police, Laundon said he had taken images of children for the past six weeks, but had always deleted them because he did not want his wife to find out.
Matthew Dance, defending, said his client’s clandestine behaviour developed since he suffered ill health in September 2013. He said the photographs were not indecent and were taken from waist height.
Mr Dance said Laundon’s marriage had broken down after his arrest, but he was supported by his family and friends. He had also been attending regular counselling sessions.
Recorder Kalyani Kaul QC told him: “I don’t know what happened to you. People hold you in high regard.
“You have a problem. You needed to be caught because you needed help.”
She made a 12-month Community Order with 12 months’ supervision by probation officers. He must also pay £500 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.