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Putting The Boots In — Photo Lab Grasses Up Pot Growers found on BBC News written by holgate, edited by John (Plastic)

A house in Leith, near Edinburgh, was raided by police, leading to the arrest of five people, and the seizure of marijuana plants 'valued' at £15,000, after receiving a tip-off from photo-processing staff at the local branch of Boots. It's believed that a lab technician identified the plants when developing a set of prints, and got on the phone to the boys in blue.

"While you can understand photo-labs wishing to protect themselves from obscene images, given that there are specific laws prohibiting the possession and reproduction of such images, it's another thing entirely to call in the police, based solely upon the perception that photographs record something illegal: that is, recognizing a few tell-tale leaves. Undoubtedly, the pot-growers in question weren't the sharpest knives in the box, but is the knowledge that random people may take moral outrage at your photographs another reason to add that digital camera to the Christmas list?"
Yup. Exactly why I first got into digital cameras. I remember one lab which was part of a franchise. I knew the owner fairly well. Anyway, the owner once thanked me for using their service, even though I hadn't told anyone. Also, I had several rolls of film where I had visited the same place several times. The photos of the place were arranged together instead of in the order they appeared on the negatives. It really hit me that someone was "looking" at my pictures... Which makes sense if you think of how a lab works. Now I generally focus on landscape on film. ;-)


You sound surprised. Haven't you seen that movie 'One Hour Photo' with Robin Williams? You will never leave a roll at the local minilab again.

In the minilab business, it is considered best practice to have a look through and pick out one or two of the best photos in the roll and put them at the front of the envelope. When the customer comes in, you should pick out the front photo, just to check whether it is his roll (very occasionally, the rolls will get mixed up, and this allows the lab operator to nip the problem in the bud.)

Thanks for the link Antoin. Never saw the movie, but ready the story just now on the message board there... Makes you want to shoot a roll of film of photoshopped images and drop them off at random labs. ;-) With cheap camera, Google Image Search, Photoshop and a nice color printer you could probably get Boots really going.

What an endearingly subversive streak you have!

Its preatty lame. I thought that marijuana is almost legal in UK.