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Woman told 'no offence has been committed' after man takes photos of her bum in supermarket

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Apparently, it's not a crime for strangers to take photographs of your bum without permission.

A female shopper who caught a man photographing her bottom in a Cornwall supermarket earlier this month has been told by police that he hasn't committed an offence.

Alarming CCTV footage obtained by The Sun shows Gemma Newitt, 20, browsing the shelves in a Co-Op store in St Austell, when a man sneaks up behind her and begins photographing her shorts.

The man is seen ducking and weaving behind the accountancy student as he positions his camera phone, before moving away when she almost catches him, only to return seconds later. When she turns and realises what the man is doing, he runs away.

Despite the unequivocal video footage and the man being known to the police, he was not arrested because "no offences had been committed".

In a statement to Stylist.co.uk, Devon and Cornwall Police said: "This incident was reported to us on Thursday 9 July. A man was identified by police and he handed himself into police at St Austell.

"He was given strong words of advice about his inappropriate behaviour but was not arrested as no offences had been committed by him. The woman was understandably upset by the incident but understood the police action that was taken."

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An act must be deemed "lewd, obscene or disgusting enough to outrage the standards of decency of reasonable people" before someone is arrested for outraging public decency.

Had Newitt been the victim of an "upskirt" shot, the police may have been able to make an arrest.

She told The Sun that she feels "shocked, angry and confused" by the lack of action.

"I don’t understand how this type of sickening behaviour isn’t considered illegal," she said.

The Sun reported that it had tracked down the man who took the images of Newitt and he told them that he was sorry and had done it "because she had a nice bum."

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As well as being used for personal gratification, there is big business in displaying the images of unsuspecting women on pornographic websites.

In May, the Scottish Sunday Mail exposed a website where users upload and rate photos and videos of women they have secretly targeted with their cameraphones.

Hundreds of images and clips - many of British women - were taken in public places, including supermarkets, on streets and in parks.

As well as "upskirt" shots, many were of women's bare legs, with captions such as "Nice legs Aberdeen." 

One user commented: "Great vid. I’m attempting the same. Roll on the summer and short skirts."

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