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Operation Seahog strikes again on Merseyside

By Brian Sims

Merseyside Police has executed warrants at four addresses on Merseyside as part of Operation Seahog, arresting three men and a woman from the Southport, Aigburth and Mossley Hill areas during an ongoing crackdown on security firms being run illegitimately.

A 68-year-old man from Southport, and a 40-year-old male from Aigburth have been arrested under Section 5 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001, and on suspicion of money laundering. A 37-year-old old woman from Mossley Hill was arrested under Section 5 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. A 38-year-old man has also been apprehended on suspicion of cultivating cannabis when officers found plants and a hydroponics system at his home in Mossley Hill. Officers have also seized £25,000 in cash.

In another Seahog-related operation, seven men have been arrested and charged with offences under Section 5 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001, while one man was summonsed for offences under Section 5 and Section 23 of the Act.

Operation Seahog was launched in August 2006 to crackdown on illegitimate security firms in the construction industry. Since the start of the operation, Merseyside Police has had some considerable success in its war on security firms failing to adhere to regulations set down in the Private Security Industry Act 2001. Since the police activity started, the Security Industry Authority (SIA) has seen a 60% increase in applications by security firms applying to the Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS). Local authorities in Liverpool, Sefton and Wirral have also supported the operation with the agreed use of only ACS companies on any new construction site.

There has also been a significant increase in the standard and quality of security provision across Merseyside in terms of the number of licensed officers now employed. 90% of security officers on Merseyside are now licensed by the Regulator.

Convictions on Section 3 offences
In just under two years, officers and representatives from partner agencies have carried out 1,158 visits to construction sites and executed 71 warrants. A total of 180 people have been convicted of Section 3 offences (working without an SIA licence). Four people have been convicted of the Section 5 offences. Police have also seized £285,000 in cash and 64 vehicles.

Two men (Andrew Moore and Craig Moore, from Halsbury Road, Kensington and Winslow Street, Walton) were found guilty of blackmail offences in October last year and sentenced to a total of nine years in prison. David Hibbs-Turner was sentenced to eight years in May for blackmail offences.

The work has also resulted in numerous ongoing investigations which involve partner agencies including the SIA, the Department of Work and Pensions, the Immigration Department and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

Driving out disreputable companies
These latest arrests are part of a comprehensive plan to drive out disreputable companies who are taking business away from legitimate and deserving companies. Merseyside Police has been working alongside representatives of the Liverpool City Council, Wirral Council, Sefton Council, the Health and Safety Executive, the Department of Trade and Industry, Inland Revenue, Immigration, Merseyside Pathfinder (New Heartlands) and construction companies themselves to weaken the influence of all those companies which are not being run legitimately. The SIA has backed the scheme and given dedicated support, working with local police officers to ensure that security guards employed on Merseyside are SIA licensed.

Detective chief superintendent Steve Moore told info4security: "Merseyside Police will not stand back and let security firms being run illegitimately to gain a foothold in Merseyside at the expense of legitimate businesses. Those security companies failing to comply with the Private Security Industry Act 2001 will continue to be attacked from all angles by Merseyside Police and its partner agencies."

Moore continued: "In the last two years Merseyside Police and its partners have had considerable success in targeting companies which are not operating legitimately. Our ongoing work has been supported by both Liverpool City Council and St Helens Council who now have policies in place which stipulate that security firms providing security for construction sites must be registered under the Approved Contractor Scheme. "All security firms are well aware of Operation. At the beginning of the operation we targeted the more minor Section 3 offence of working without a licence, but these latest arrests send out a strong warning to those who are running illegitimate businesses. Charges under Section 5 of the Act are considered to be the greater offence, and as a result carry higher penalties." Lucia Howland, an SIA head of investigation, said: "For two years, Operation Seahog has been targeting security companies which are not being run legitimately, and it has achieved excellent results. The arrests made by Merseyside Police this morning are a clear message to security companies not operating within the law. Managers of these companies are aware that if they're not willing to comply with the Private Security Industry Act 2001, they may very well find themselves being the next target. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Merseyside Police for their continuing support. Operation Seahog is an excellent demonstration of ongoing partnership work benefiting the people of Merseyside." The three men and the female arrested in Southport, Mossley Hill and Aigburth are currently being questioned by detectives.

The seven men charged with offences as part of a separate operation under Operation Seahog included two directors and four employees of two companies. Those charged were:

* Owen Fyffe (46 years old, of Admirals Quay, Burbo Bank Road South, Crosby) charged with:

acting in contravention of a disqualification undertaking given on 11th October 2006 Knowingly party to the carrying on of the business of CTN Security Services Limited with intent to defraud creditors, namely Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Knowingly party to the carrying on of the business of CTN Security Services Limited with intent to defraud creditors, namely for a fraudulent purpose, namely Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Knowingly party to the carrying on of the business of CTN Retail Services Limited with intent to defraud creditors, namely Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Knowingly party to the carrying on of the business of CTN Security Services Limited with intent to defraud creditors, namely Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Knowingly party to the carrying on of the business of CTN Retail Services Limited with intent to defraud creditors, namely Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs 29 breaches of Section 5 (1) (4) and Section 23 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001 Six breaches of Section 8 (1) (4) (5) of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996

* Richard Bradshaw (director, 33 years old, of Vincent Road, Litherland) charged with:

Knowingly party to the carrying on of the business of CTN Security Services Limited with intent to defraud creditors, namely Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Knowingly party to the carrying on of the business of CTN Security Services Limited with intent to defraud creditors, namely for a fraudulent purpose, namely Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Knowingly party to the carrying on of the business of CTN Retail Services Limited with intent to defraud creditors, namely Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Knowingly party to the carrying on of the business of CTN Security Services Limited with intent to defraud creditors, namely Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Knowingly party to the carrying on of the business of CTN Retail Services Limited with intent to defraud creditors, namely Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs 29 breaches of Section 5 (1) (4) and Section 23 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001 Six breaches of Section 8 (1) (4) (5) of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996

* Victor Kwantreng (director, 47 years old, of Normanton Avenue, Aigburth) charged with:

Knowingly party to the carrying on of the business of CTN Security Services Limited with intent to defraud creditors, namely for a fraudulent purpose, namely Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Knowingly party to the carrying on of the business of CTN Retail Services Limited with intent to defraud creditors, namely Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Knowingly party to the carrying on of the business of CTN Security Services Limited with intent to defraud creditors, namely Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Knowingly party to the carrying on of the business of CTN Retail Services Limited with intent to defraud creditors, namely Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs 29 breaches of Section 5 (1) (4) and Section 23 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001 6 breaches of Section 8 (1) (4) (5) of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996

Supervisors under the microscope
The following supervisors for the two companies who were identified as a result of the investigation have been arrested and charged in relation to breaches of the Terms and Conditions of the Private Security Industry Act 2001:

* Peter Grey (46 years old, of Deane Road, Kensington) charged with 10 breaches of Section 5 (1) (4) and Section 23 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001

* Gary Lawless (52 years old, of Victoria Road, Keighley, West Yorkshire) charged with six breaches of Section 5 (1) (4) and Section 23 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001

* Phil Humphries (35 years old, of Barchester Drive, Aigburth) charged with six breaches of Section 5 (1) (4) and Section 23 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001

* Simon Rogers (26 years old, of Westbourne Avenue, L23, charged with four breaches of Section 5 (1) (4) and Section 23 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001

In addition, a further supervisor - Alan Ashe - has been summonsed for four breaches of Section 5 (1) (4) and Section 23 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001.In total, 148 offences have been identified as a result of this joint investigation. All those charged have been bailed to appear at Liverpool City Magistrates Court on Thursday 31 July 2008.


End

Contact: Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary on 07710 618909 or GMB Press Office: Steve Pryle on 07921 289880 or Rose Conroy on 07974 251823.

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