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I spy creepy cameras

PUBLISHED: 11:51 16 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:56 25 August 2010

SUSPICIOUS: Robert Gallaher.

SUSPICIOUS: Robert Gallaher.

CCTV cameras costing taxpayers nearly £1 million are allegedly peeping through bedrooms late at night, according to a worried resident.

CCTV cameras costing taxpayers nearly £1 million are allegedly peeping through bedrooms late at night, according to a worried resident.

Robert Gallaher of Selsey Crescent, Welling, claims he has seen the cameras "inching backwards and forwards" while trained on first floor windows in Anthony Road.

The evening porter, who works in London's West End, said the "creepy" CCTV are pointing towards private residencies late at night and questions why eight cameras are needed to inspect in the quiet, leafy neighbourhood from Berwick Road junction to Welling Corner.

The 65-year-old said: "I've come home to see cameras swivel round to look at houses, I can't see why they need to do that - it seems rather bizarre and creepy.

"You can see them inching backwards and forwards. It's a bit Big Brother."

Bexley council is to transfer its CCTV operation to German company Siemens in a deal slammed by the Labour group, costing £822,000 by 2012.

Mr Gallaher said: "That's an incredible amount of money. I question the cost-effectiveness, what is it going to do for the people of Bexley?

"I'm sure there are lots more important services people want to see their money being spent on than monitoring quiet streets.

"Nothing ever happens here, there isn't a bank to rob and as far as I know there isn't an issue of anti-social behaviour."

Bexley council's deal is largely reliant on selling extra CCTV coverage to private companies, such as businesses, using a new control room paid for by Siemens.

A potential £460,000 could come to council coffers with other profit going to Siemens.

The Labour group is concerned that this could compromise the effective coverage of council CCTV, which would also be monitored from a new control room in the borough. Councillors acknowledge monitoring needs an overhaul, but that the camera network could lose out.

Shadow leader Chris Ball said: "An agreement on camera positions and their replacements should have formed part of the tender process in order to maximise the benefit of the new control room.

"Rather than committing investment into CCTV in areas such as Crayford town centre and Belvedere Village, the council has worked on an agreement to allow a private company to maximise its income using council CCTV to monitor private sites."

A council spokesman said: "We can assure Bexley residents that we do not, under any circumstances, look into windows of private houses.

"All of our CCTV cameras can be programmed to move automatically. This might account for the 'creepy and bizarre' movements.

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