Cellphone peeper caught

A middle-aged man spent hours on Wellington's Lambton Quay attempting to photograph up the skirts of women before being caught in Farmers department store taking a snap of a female customer.

Alessandro Doria, 46, of Wilton, was caught after security staff in the store watched him lean down next to a woman and use his cellphone to see up her skirt.

Police were called and, on checking his cellphone, found eight other pictures where he had attempted to do the same thing on the street between 2.56pm and 5.30pm on May 30. None of the women he tried to take photos of have been identified.

He admitted to police he did not know any of the women.

Doria pleaded guilty yesterday to one charge of intentionally making an intimate visual recording. He was charged only in relation to the Farmers customer, not the unsuccessful Lambton Quay photo attempts.

Police prosecutor Mark Wilton told Wellington District Court Judge Geoff Ellis that Doria had no previous convictions.

The judge remanded Doria at large for sentencing in August for him to make an application to be discharged without conviction.

He told Doria no conviction had yet been entered, but he would give no indication that he would approve a discharge without conviction if he was the sentencing judge.

Doria told The Dominion Post yesterday the incident had been a mistake and he was "extremely sorry" for what he had done.

"I feel awful . . . it was just a stupid moment. I just feel so bad. I'm extremely sorry. I've never done anything like this before," he said.

Farmers national security manager Nathan Breed said the chain worked to ensure its stores were safe environments for customers and staff.

All the stores had security staff and technology installed to constantly monitor CCTV cameras. Security teams looked for suspicious activity, which was normally shoplifting.

"However, in this case the activity of this individual was identified as being suspicious. Based on this, security staff approached the man in question, held him and waited for police to arrive," Breed said.

The Doria incident follows an earlier case of an upskirt peeper caught in a Farmers store in Wellington's Cuba Mall in 2012. In that case, a 36-year-old Wellington man had 94 videos from up the skirts of 180 women or of them undressing in bathrooms. He was sentenced to 10 months home detention.

His victims included pupils from five Wellington high schools, and he was eventually caught after a Farmers security guard monitoring CCTV cameras noticed him lurking behind women in the Cuba Mall store.

The former government worker's name was suppressed to protect his wife. He was also banished from his Jehovah's Witness congregation once the offending came to light.

The Dominion Post