BIG brother is watching you ... even on holiday.

Town Hall bosses have spent a whopping £10,000 on a new spy camera in Clacton town centre just so the council can collect information on people.

The hi-tech equipment isn’t part of the town’s crime-cracking CCTV system. It has been put up purely to gather intelligence about visitors to the town.

Tendring Council said it will operate continuously 24 hours a day, seven days a week as part of a three-year scheme. The camera covers the seafront end of both Pier Avenue and Station Road.

But a watchdog says it is an invasion of privacy. Emma Carr, acting director of civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, said: "This is a clear example of surveillance for surveillance sake.

“The public has long been told that CCTV cameras are essential for the prevention and detection of crime, yet here is Tendring Council using intrusive surveillance as if it were a toy.

“The CCTV Code of Practice is very clear that CCTV should only be used when there is a pressing need, so it is hard to see how the monitoring of footfall could fall under that category."

Council leader Mick Page said the system would provide the council with vital information to help understand what brings people to the resort.

“We will be able to clearly identify and evaluate the success of the events and activities put on in the town centre and whether they are attracting extra people,” he said.