Big Bother!

PUBLISHED: 12:42 20 December 2007 | UPDATED: 13:07 04 May 2010

One of the CCTV cameras in Ely city centre.

One of the CCTV cameras in Ely city centre.

TO illustrate his frustration at Britain s surveillance-obsessed society, Ross Clark attempted to drive from his Reach home to Southend pier and back without being spotted by a CCTV camera. Mr Clark, who has written about his experiences in a book, said:

TO illustrate his frustration at Britain's surveillance-obsessed society, Ross Clark attempted to drive from his Reach home to Southend pier and back without being spotted by a CCTV camera.

Mr Clark, who has written about his experiences in a book, said: "The trip took a lot of meticulous planning.

"I couldn't stop at any petrol stations or have a mobile phone or GPS tracking device on me.

"I obviously avoided the main roads and had to work out where all the cameras are.

"But I failed in my challenge because there are three cameras at the end of Southend pier.

"I waved at them and I wrote to the local council asking if I could have a copy of the image but they wouldn't allow it.

"They said the footage was unclear and they couldn't verify if it was me or not."

According to Mr Clark, Home Office figures show about 80 per cent of CCTV images recorded are of such a poor quality they are unusable.

Mr Clark said: "A quarter of the world's CCTV ­cameras are in Britain.

"Money is being taken out of local policing and ­peoples' civil liberties are being compromised.

"But what is being achieved?

"I'm not a paranoid nutter or an anarchist. I just thought this stunt was a practical way of demonstrating the ridiculousness of our obsessive data-collecting society.

"The fact that the council couldn't give me a picture because the footage is too unclear sums it up quite well."

Mr Clark is a freelance journalist who has written for various national newspapers.

He has also written the book How to Label a Goat, which exposes bizarre rules and regulations which are blighting the lives of Britons today.

l The Road to Southend Pier: One Man's Struggle Against the Surveillance Society, by Ross Clark, is published by Harriman House.

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