Couple Finds 'Creepy Camera' Spy Clock in Airbnb Property in Toronto

An alarm clock in a Paris room in 2010. A British couple say they found a "spy camera" hidden in a digital clock facing the bedroom of their Airbnb rental in Toronto. JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty

A British couple made a shocking discovery during what should have been a relaxing stay at an Airbnb rental in Toronto. What looked to be an ordinary alarm clock was in fact a "spy camera"—pointed straight toward their bed.

Dougie Hamilton, 34, told Scotland's Daily Record that he and his girlfriend found the device after a day exploring the city. He said they had spent only 20 minutes in the apartment before noticing the clock looked "creepy."

"In my head, I felt a bit weird even thinking it, and I kept telling myself not to be daft. But there was just something," said Hamilton, who is from Glasgow, Scotland.

"I took the charger out of it and saw there was a lithium battery in the back," he continued. "At this point, I slid the front facing off the clock and could see there actually was a camera."

He added, "We didn't know if the owner had been watching. It just felt really creepy, and we didn't want to stay."

To make matters worse, Hamilton said, the camera faced the living room as well as the bedroom and "could see everything."

"We're innocent-minded people, but the clock was facing where our bed was, and we thought it might be for something more sinister, like a sex ring," he said.

Images of the clock posted to Facebook by Hamilton appear to show an alarm clock with a mirrored face. When Hamilton removes the clock face, a camera lens appears to sit beside the LED screen.

Toronto Police Service spokesperson Jenifferjit Sidhu told Newsweek the department is investigating the incident. She confirmed that police received a call on September 6 about "what appeared to be a video camera in a clock in an apartment [Hamilton] was renting."

Airbnb spokesperson Claudia Alder told Newsweek the company is also investigating the issue.

"We take privacy issues extremely seriously and have a zero tolerance policy for this behavior," she said.

Under Airbnb's policies, hosts are required to fully disclose whether there are any security cameras or other surveillance equipment at or around the listing and must receive Airbnb's consent. However, cameras in bathrooms or bedrooms are never allowed under the company's policies.

"We have removed the host from the platform while we investigate and are providing the guest with our full support," Alder said.

This article has been updated with a statement from Airbnb.