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Internet Eyes: Combing live CCTV footage to catch shoplifters

A new website gives people the opportunity to become online store detectives by watching CCTV footage - plus the chance to win cash if they spot a theft. Giles Turnbull reports

If you have ever wanted to join the fight against crime, a new website called Internet Eyes might be the one you've been looking for - but be prepared to pay for the privilege.

The site says it wants to help police and private security services with the task of monitoring thousands of CCTV camera feeds from shops and other premises all over the country.

When you sign up at Internet Eyes (, you are offered the chance to watch hours and hours of live CCTV footage.

You don't get to choose which cameras you see, they are picked at random - but you won't see any from your postcode area.

If you see something suspicious, you click on an alert button and the owner of the premises will be sent a text message and a freeze-frame picture from the camera feed.

Everything is kept anonymous: you don't know which shops you're looking at - and they don't know who is watching. But if you send an alert that turns out to help prevent crime, you earn points - and points mean prizes.

Every month, the Internet Eyes viewer who scores the most points wins £1,000 in cash.

There are some buts, though: you can only raise the alarm five times in one month - so you have to be sure.

And you have to pay to take part. It costs £1.99 per month, or £12.99 for a whole year. There's no guarantee, of course, that you'll ever see anything suspicious.

So is this crime-fighting for the modern age, or is it a strange new form of online gaming? What really motivates people to sign up for something like this - the chance to make our streets safer, or the chance to win a grand?


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Giles Turnbull has a website at

Belfast Telegraph