A council illegally installed surveillance cameras in a home after being told to do so by police, it has emerged.

Cambridge City Council (CCC) installed the cameras in February 2010 after a woman reported suffering domestic violence. The council has since admitted "intrusive surveillance".

But it has since been discovered that it was police who told the council to install the cameras. Cambridge police are yet to get back to 24Dash regarding the installation of the cameras.

Liz Bisset, CCC's director of customer and community services, told 24dash: "This was a joint operation between us and the police. It was the police who asked us to install the cameras. The cameras were set up by a number of individuals who did not realise that they were not allowed to."

She explained that the situation was a misunderstanding and since then a system of checks and balances had been put in place to prevent future breaches.

Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: “Clearly this raises some serious questions – did the police not understand what powers the council had, or did they wrongly believe they were able to authorise the council without going through any internal approval process? It is legally possible to authorise third parties under RIPA, but if the police believed they were authorising the council then what process was followed by the police and why did the council still think they needed their own internal approval?