Wedding party “violated” in latest hidden camera fiasco

Members of a bridal party have won a refund for their New Zealand accommodation after discovering a hidden camera in a living room light fitting.

Bridesmaid Sarah Muir said the group arrived at the Auckland property, booked through, on a Friday evening and watched a news program which featured a story on a man who put double-sided mirrors in his bathroom.

The group of five joked about hidden cameras in their rented house, then Muir looked up and noticed one of the lightbulbs looked different from the others.

The party was shocked to discover a 360-degree camera, which also recorded sound, inside the light fitting.

[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”15046″ align=”left”]Muir told the New Zealand Herald: “We’d set up the wedding, had dinner and were just sitting around having a wine, going over the bride’s vows and then that came up on the news, we joked and then we saw it.

“We searched the rest of the house and we couldn’t find anything that looked like that, but we don’t know if they had other types of hidden cameras around. We just made sure that we got changed in the bathroom from then on, we thought that would be the safest place.

“We were pretty violated. If we hadn’t have found that, we would have been getting changed in there the next day.

“If they have it for surveillance you need to actually advise people. We wouldn’t have booked it if we had known there was a camera there.” refunded the party in full and have suspended the property from the site pending an investigation.

A spokesperson said: “At, we do not tolerate improper behaviour from our accommodation partners and in the very rare instance that we’re made aware of such a situation, we investigate immediately.”

The incident is the latest in a number of cases involving guests being secretly filmed in holiday accommodation.

Dougie Hamilton, a Scotsman on holiday with his girlfriend in Toronto, Canada, contacted local police after finding a video camera hidden in a digital clock in his Airbnb rental apartment.

He told the Daily Record: “The hidden camera was facing into the living area and open-plan bedroom, so it could see everything.

“We didn’t know if the owner had been watching. It just felt really creepy and we didn’t want to stay.”

Hamilton was given a full refund by Airbnb.

Tony Greathead was sentenced to four years and four months in jail last year after using remote-controlled cameras hidden in shampoo bottles to film 34 women as they showered at his Hawke’s Bay homestay in New Zealand. He saved the images and posted them to online websites, accompanied by sexual comments.

And most recently, American professor Jeffrey Bigham found two cameras in his January Airbnb rental, one in a living room and one, he said, with a field of vision near the bathroom which may have captured footage of his two-year-old running around naked.

Bigham did not name the accommodation location, but said he was “shocked” to find the cameras and “immediately unplugged them,” securing a refund from Airbnb.

According to Airbnb spokesperson Lindsey Scully, the short-term rental giant takes “privacy issues extremely seriously” and has “a zero-tolerance policy” for filming which is considered to violate the privacy of its guests.

However, it stops short of stipulating no cameras within its properties.

“Airbnb hosts must fully disclose whether there are security cameras or other surveillance equipment at or around the listing and get consent where required. Cameras are never allowed in bathrooms or bedrooms,” she said.

While the Auckland bridal party played down the hidden camera incident for fear it would spoil the big day, the incident still left the happy couple with a sour taste.

Groom Jimmy Fitzpatrick told the Herald: “It was an invasion of the girls’ privacy. They booked it as a place to get ready so it’s pretty bad.”

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