Woman’s privacy fears after council installs CCTV camera that ‘looks into her home’


Sam Watler claims the camera is perfectly placed to see inside her flat on Baker Street in Weston-super-Mare – and can even rotate to look inside other homes too

Support worker Sam Watler claims she has spotted the surveillance camera pointing directly inside her apartment

A woman is claiming she has lost her privacy after her local council installed a CCTV camera outside her window, which she says she has spotted “looking into her home”.

Sam Watler, 54, posted a picture online of the camera on top of a 15ft pole in front of her home..

She claims the camera is perfectly placed to see inside her flat on Baker Street in Weston-super-Mare – and can even rotate to look inside other homes too.

She also said the camera had been installed without her knowledge.

Sam said locals in the Somerset town had asked for security cameras to be installed after a rise in crime in the area. But she had assumed the camera would be far smaller, she said.

“It’s very intrusive,” she said. “I’ll sit in my front room and there will just be this camera there right in my eyeline, behind my TV by the window.







Sam said locals had asked for security cameras to be installed after a rise in crime in the area
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Image:

Sam Watler/SWNS)







The camera sits on top of a 15ft pole in front of Sam’s home
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Image:

Sam Watler/SWNS)

“The whole thing was just put up about four weeks ago without warning. We were never told about it before or consulted, there was no warning.

“One lady I spoke to yesterday did get a letter, but it arrived on the day they installed it.

“It’s a rotating camera too so while they claim it’ll only ever be pointing up the street it can definitely point into my front room.

“I’ve had to keep the blinds down to get some privacy. It’s such a big ugly thing – and it’s all I can see when I’m watching telly now.

“I know my son isn’t happy about it and has put a complaint into the local council, but even the shop down the road says they’ve had customers say they won’t come in anymore.

“It’s all just because this camera can be seen going in and out of the shop – which apparently some people don’t like.”

North Somerset Council confirmed it owned the camera and that it was installed to enhance public safety in the area.

This came after a convenience store in the area was recently raided at knifepoint, the authority said.







Sam said the security camera was planted on top of the pole without residents on her street being given any warning
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Image:

Sam Watler/SWNS)

Executive member for neighbourhoods, Cllr Mike Solomon, insists the camera will not look into people’s homes.

He added: “The camera will absolutely not be used to look into people’s homes – it is there to protect residents.

“It has already proven to be valuable as it captured a potential suspect last week after a number of cars were set alight nearby.

“This area has a lot of issues with anti-social behavior and fly-tipping, so this camera should be welcomed by residents.”

Cllr Solomon confirmed that the device uses a wide-angle lens, which can be adjusted by operators inside its control room.

However, the councillor’s words have not provided comfort for Sam – who is adamant she caught the camera pointing into her home.

“Mr Solomon’s words are not reassuring in the slightest,” she added. “I definitely caught it looking into my home and I now feel I have no privacy.

“I often look up from the TV and just see it there, and I’ve pictured it looking into the flat.”

A spokesperson for North Somerset Council added: “We have installed the CCTV camera in Baker Street as part of our Safer Streets initiative.

“The camera covers public spaces and the area in general and will not be directed into any private residence or business.

“All our staff in our emergency control room are DBS and Police vetted and the system is operated in accordance with all current legislation.

“We also hold accreditation from the Surveillance Camera Commissioner.

“Everyone in the street had letters hand delivered explaining why the camera was being installed and it has generally been welcomed by residents and businesses in the area.

“Sign saying that CCTV is operating in the area, who is operating it and why has also been put in place.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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