On 19 February, at Portsmouth Crown Court, Victor Lewis, director of Sightguard Security Ltd, was ordered to pay over £10,000 following an order under the Proceeds of Crime Act (PoCA).
The order is the result of the first independent confiscation order we pursued under the PoCA. It follows our prosecution on 7 December at Newport Magistrates Court, Isle of Wight.
Victor Lewis was also fined a total of £750 and ordered to pay costs of £2,500 for supplying unlicensed security operatives, and for providing us with false information.
Anthony Lewis, who acted as a director to avoid Sightguard Security Ltd being listed as wound up at Companies House, was fined £75 with costs of £225. Sightguard Security Ltd was handed a nominal fine of £1.
This case started in April 2016, when we received anonymous intelligence that unlicensed security guards were working on the Isle of Wight. Our investigators inspected several sites in June 2016 and found an unlicensed security guard in a Sightguard Security Ltd uniform, at the Medina boat yard.
Following the June 2016 inspection, our investigators requested more information from Sightguard Security Ltd and scrutinised their signing in sheets. They found another unlicensed security guard who was also working at the same boat yard.
Further enquiries also revealed that another unlicensed security guard was carrying out mobile patrols and static security duties elsewhere on the Isle of Wight.
Our investigators asked Victor Lewis, to provide information under Section 19 of the Private Security Industry Act (PSIA) 2001.
However, we discovered that Victor Lewis had falsely claimed that it could not be disclosed as it related to the Ministry of Defence. This was not the case and during our investigation, it became clear that this information related to deploying unlicensed guards. As a result, we decided to prosecute the company, Victor Lewis and Anthony Lewis as the director of Sightguard Security Ltd.
This is not the first time we have investigated Sightguard Security Ltd. In 2013, the company was found supplying unlicensed security operatives and was given an improvement notice to encourage compliance.
Nathan Salmon, our Criminal Investigations Manager said:
“Where appropriate we will encourage compliance in the first instance. However despite our efforts to work with Sightguard Security Ltd, they ignored the need to comply.
The penalties awarded by the court reflect the culpability by the three offenders. Victor Lewis could not act as a director of this company due to a previous Director Disqualification. His son enabled the company to continue trading; however, Victor continued to use unlicensed operatives.
We will not hesitate to prosecute those who display a blatant contempt for regulation and undermine the confidence and reassurance that regulation provides. In appropriate cases we will also pursue PoCA confiscation orders.”
Anthony Lewis, Victor Lewis and Sightguard Security Ltd all pleaded guilty to employing unlicensed guards. Victor Lewis also pleaded guilty to employing unlicensed guards and to providing false information to us.
- The Security Industry Authority is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the United Kingdom, reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. The SIA's main duties are: the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities; and managing the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme.
- For further information about the Security Industry Authority or to sign up for email updates visit www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk. The SIA is also on Facebook (Security Industry Authority) and Twitter (SIAuk).