A HEREFORD grandad is outraged at the police’s refusal to investigate what he describes as a “gross invasion of privacy” by a registered sex offender.

Martin Prior first contacted police on December 22 after discovering a camera placed on a lane by his home in Cross Keys near Hereford, which was angled towards his grandson’s treehouse.

An officer, who was from Telford, visited the next day and spoke to the suspected owner of the camera, a registered sex offender.

Mr Prior was shocked when the officer said that the sex offender claimed to have placed the camera under advice from West Mercia Police.

The camera remains in place on land which is not owned by the sex offender and does not cover his property.

Hereford Times: Martin Prior with his wife Jo Prior at their home in Cross KeysMartin Prior with his wife Jo Prior at their home in Cross Keys (Image: Rob Davies)

Mr Prior said: “We are worried that the sex offender may have concealed other cameras aimed at our property.

"Our grandson is semi-resident with us; until this camera was placed, his young friends and relatives, male and female, came to play here, but we have had to severely curtail these visits to protect these children from the possibility of being filmed. Our niece is not allowed to visit us at all while this horrible situation persists.”

Hereford Times: A camera has been set up opposite the Priors' homeA camera has been set up opposite the Priors' home (Image: Rob Davies)

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The Hereford Times has seen correspondence between Mr Prior and the police which shows the Safer Neighbourhood Team refusing to investigate the camera, despite Mr Prior’s concerns that a sex offender had been covertly filming his grandson and other children.

In one email to Mr Prior, the Safer Neighbourhood Team said: “I am unaware of the advice upon which he may have chosen to site CCTV cameras.

"Matters regarding the use of CCTV are for the Information Commissioner’s Office to oversee and address.”

Mr Prior described the police response to the report as “off-the-shelf” and “unacceptable” and has now complained to West Mercia Police’s professional standards department.

A spokesperson for West Mercia Police said: “We are aware of a concern raised about the placement of a CCTV camera. However, no crime has been reported to us and therefore it is not a police matter. CCTV concerns need to be raised with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

“We can neither confirm nor deny the location or identity of a registered sex offender in the community.”


Online advice from the Information Commissioner’s Office says: “The use of recording equipment, such as CCTV or smart doorbells, to capture video or sound recordings outside the user’s property is not a breach of data protection law.

“People should try to point their CCTV cameras away from their neighbours’ homes, shared spaces, or public streets. But this is not always possible.

“When people capture images and audio recordings outside of their boundary, they should consider how intrusive this activity is.

“If someone is recording your child using CCTV, we would suggest talking to the person doing the recording.

"If you feel the person is filming your child inappropriately or to cause them harm, you should contact the police.”