Pilfering and vandalism could become a thing of the past for the hundreds of retailers across the UK who have signed up to Internet Eyes, the radical new security system which allows members of the public to monitor live CCTV camera feeds of registered stores and alert owners of incidents they spot.

Stephen Adams, who installed the system at his Costcutter store in Newton Abbot, Devon, earlier this month, said he couldn't wait to start using it on the official launch date of October 4. "I am really excited by the prospect of this service which will not only help reduce shrinkage, but also further protect staff," he said.

A number of independently owned Spar stores are also set to start operating the system and both Costcutter and Spar will be monitoring the results with a view to rolling it out in company owned stores at a later date.

In line with guidance from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), all "registered viewers" who receive financial rewards for each correct alert must pay a membership fee and have their ID and Age verified.

"Internet Eyes has been in regular communication with the ICO to ensure compliance with all necessary legislation," sales director Max Patey said. "We also comply with the Data Protection Act (DPA) and all its associated principles," he added.

Earlier this month the government pledged to take a more rigorous approach to CCTV use in the UK.

Currently, every county has its own policy on CCTV, and almost 90% of CCTV systems do not fully comply with the requirements of the DPA.

Patey said he would welcome any new legislation which would unify the CCTV industry with across-the-board guidelines.