Julian Assange friend's 'embarrassment' at camera claim

The owner of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's Norfolk bail address has said he is "embarrassed" at claims about surveillance cameras outside his home.

Vaughan Smith, who owns Ellingham Hall, near Bungay, had suggested automatic number-plate recognition cameras had been installed nearby.

But Mr Smith said he now understood the "cameras" were actually radar-operated speed signs.

Mr Assange, 39, has been staying at the house for six months.

The Australian citizen, who is preparing to appeal against his extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations, must wear an electronic tag and report to Beccles police station every day.

'Not an expert'

Claims about the "cameras" near the house's three entrances were made in a video produced by supporters of Mr Assange, criticising his bail conditions.

In the video, Mr Smith, who owns the Frontline Club in Paddington, West London, said: "I'm not an expert on cameras but I believe these take number plates and record number plates."

He went on say that the "cameras" had been installed at some time in the past three months.

But in an interview with BBC Look East, Mr Smith said he now accepted they were unlikely to be automatic number-plate recognition (ANPR) cameras.

"I have heard that the council claims that these are not, in fact, cameras at all, unless they have been tampered with," he said.

"They are, I think, radars and I think it is important to correct that information.

Phones claim

"I feel slightly embarrassed about this, if I'm honest, because I was asked to respond to some information.

"I was told it was a camera and what did I think of it but, nevertheless, it's important to get it right."

Mr Smith said it was possible the cameras had been tampered with, adding: "There's certainly evidence that our phones are being listened to."

A Norfolk County Council spokesman said: "Two speed reactive signs were installed on Yarmouth Road in Ellingham in June 2002, of which one appears to be the sign that is featured in the film.

"Four other speed reactive signs were installed elsewhere in the village in 2003.

"These signs work by using a radar detector, which activates the sign if vehicles are travelling in excess of a certain speed."

Mr Assange is set to appeal against his extradition to Sweden at the High Court on 12 July.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites