High-tech eyes have IT to spy on crime
BIG BROTHER might not be watching you but the chances are thousands of other people could be.
A Pool-based company's innovative scheme now allows subscribers all over the UK and Europe to monitor security cameras in shops and businesses to help catch thieves.
Internet Eyes enables people to watch CCTV footage from the comfort of their lounge and report crimes as they are being committed.
If they see something suspicious, they press an alert button on their computer and the footage is quickly sent to the nominated person where the CCTV is located to take immediate action.
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Businesses have to subscribe to the scheme.
Internet Eyes was the brainchild of businessman Tony Morgan, after listening to discussions on TV and radio about shoplifting.
"I thought, 'Why can't we link CCTV to people's homes where they could watch and detect crime?'" he said.
It took a few years for Mr Morgan to find the people who could supply the technology, but the system is now live.
Internet Eyes has more than 8,000 subscribers across Europe, each paying £1.99 a month.
"We're preventing crime," Mr Morgan said. "We have a sticker on the door (of each participating business) saying 'Internet Eyes patrols this store; you are being remotely viewed'.
"CCTV has been around for a long time, but nobody thinks it's a deterrent, because it's never watched."
Internet Eyes encourages its subscribers to be vigilant by offering cash rewards for those who spot crimes, and £2,000 is shared out each month among the most vigilant viewers.
However, to prevent abuse subscribers are only allowed five false alerts each month.
Mr Morgan said: "You only get a feed for ten minutes.
"This is to stop anyone looking at a shop, seeing what time they cash up, what time they go to the bank – but if you see someone stealing, you get an extra five minutes.
"Subscribers don't know which shop they're watching. The chances of you recognising the shop are very remote.
"We're only about detecting crime. It's not a voyeuristic site. No one can watch CCTV of a shop unless they're more than 30 miles away, so the chance of them recognising anyone are very, very slim."
Viv Evans uses Internet Eyes in two of her three businesses, including the Premier shop in Redruth.
"It's an extremely helpful system," she said.
"People spend thousands of pounds on CCTV but who has the resources to monitor them?
"You get a realtime alert on your smartphone and can take action.
"I'm amazed that no one stumbled across the idea before. As a business-owner, it gives you real peace of mind that your stock is not being stolen."