THIS Paddington Bear hides a sinister secret – a voice-activated digital recorder to spy on children.
December 28, 2014
The fake 'Paddington Bear' toy conceals a recording device in its T-shirt
In the wake of the hit film starring Hugh Bonneville and Nicole Kidman, Paddington toys are hugely popular but a charity fears violent fathers could give children these bears, which are being sold online, to pry into the lives of their former partners.
Harry Fletcher of Digital-Trust, an organisation fighting online stalking and abuse, said: “An abusive partner will often use any opportunity including children to harass and stalk their ex-partner in or out of the relationship.
“The Paddington Bear movie will make this voice-activated recorder a popular choice for abusers who want to spy on their partners or have shared custody of their children.
"An abuser can send the bear home with the child then during their next visit the abuser can listen to the recordings and charge the battery.
An abuser can send the bear home with the child then during their next visit the abuser can listen to the recordings and charge the battery.
Harry Fletcher, Digital-Trust
“Add a small tracking chip in the bear and the abuser will also be able to track the child and mother.”
The device is being sold for £169 by Spy Equipment UK.
The licensing agent for Paddington and Co has contacted the firm, demanding it be withdrawn.
A spokeswoman said: “This is not an official piece of merchandise and certainly not something we would approve of.”
However, last night the spy bear and a Winnie the Pooh version were still for sale.
A spokesman for Spy Equipment UK said: “This Paddington Bear was not originally manufactured by ourselves and as far as we are aware is unrelated to the new movie release.
"It has been adapted by ourselves to include a voice recorder within.
"This item was offered for sale on our site quite some time prior to the release of the latest film and we have made no reference to the movie in any way.”
Online the firm boasts: “The Cuddly Toy Voice Activated Recorder is the ideal solution to those situations where audio recordings are required in a child’s room or when a child is out and about carrying their cuddly toy.
“This well disguised recorder device is voice-activated so it only works when someone is speaking and it has a long battery life.
“The sensitive microphone provides an excellent pick-up radius of around seven metres for normal voice sound levels.”
The recording device is concealed in the back of the bear under its T-shirt.
The opening is fitted with strong Velcro so it is not obvious.
Digital-Trust is concerned because it says incidents of domestic violence rise by up to 27 per cent over the festive period.
A law will come into force early next year making coercive control a specific crime.