The writer and journalist Will Self was stopped by police while out walking with his son because they suspected he was a paedophile, he has claimed.
The 51-year-old, who regularly appears on television, was enjoying a long walk with his 11-year-old when a squad car and a police van stopped him on a Yorkshire roadside.
Self, author of Great Apes and The Book of Dave, was questioned about what he and the schoolboy were doing out walking together and his details were checked on the Police National Computer (PNC), he said.
The writer, an enthusiastic rambler, and his son set off in July from London to Whitby, North Yorkshire, on their walking holiday.
“No Englishman enjoying a ramble with his son should face examination by police at the roadside on suspicion of being a sexual predator,” Self wrote in his personal column in a Sunday newspaper.
Wearing full rambling gear and with his son carrying a walking staff, they crossed the Humber Bridge after 11 days on foot and were aiming to reach a bed and breakfast in North Dalton.
To save some time on the walk, while in Bishop Burton, near Beverley, Self asked a security guard at an agricultural college if they could cut through the establishment’s grounds. His answer was a firm no.
Self said: “The insinuation that I might pose some sort of threat to young people – in a word, that I might be a paedophile – was underscored by his eyes then sliding to my drooping son. He was being absurd and offensive.”
The security guard, from Bishop Burton College, went on to report him to the police who drafted in a specialist female officer from 30 miles away “since there was a presumption that a child might have to be taken into custody”, said Self.
The writer said the officer had already recognised him from the BBC comedy Shooting Stars but still phoned his details through to the PNC. “He saw the absurdity of the idea that I would deliberately approach a security guard, in full walking equipment, while abducting a child…”
Self added that “far from acting as some sort of local hero” the guard had exposed his son “to the spectacle of his father – who was guilty of nothing – being grilled by the police on the roadside as if he were engaged in a perverse activity.”
He added: “Can there be a more disturbing parable of the Britain we have become?”
The father-of four said he did not want the security guard punished, but he did want an apology.
A spokesman for Humberside Police said they would not comment on the claims.