Yesterday (20 August) Lee Brown, 29, of Belfast pleaded guilty to five offences of fraud, forgery and counterfeiting licences belonging to other people at Laganside Magistrates’ Court, following a prosecution we brought against him.
He was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment (on each count), served concurrently suspended for 12 months. He was also required to pay £174 court costs within six months.
Brown provided his employer with an SIA Close Protection licence when he applied for a job in March 2018. However, the licence belonged to a different “Lee Brown”, another man with the same name who was unaware that Brown had stolen his identity.
Brown then worked as a security guard and door supervisor in the Belfast area until June 2018, when the original licence expired which Brown was using fraudulently. An approved contractor, SecuriGroup, whose compliance department correctly identified the fraudulent Door Supervisor Licence reported it directly to us. They were immediately suspicious, noting the design of Brown’s “new” licence had been discontinued in 2016.
The suspicion was confirmed when the licence number was checked using our online licence checking tool. They discovered that it had been issued to a different individual named ‘L.Brown’.
Brown admitted to his employer that he had bought both licences from a contact in Belfast for £700, and that he hadn’t completed the proper training we require. When our investigators contacted him, he gave the same story and agreed to be interviewed. However, he failed to attend two arranged interviews.
Pete Easterbrook, one of our Criminal Investigation Managers, said:
“Lee Brown stole the identities of not one, but two genuine SIA licence holders in order to fraudulently gain employment. He assumed that the counterfeit licences he managed to obtain were of sufficient quality to allow him to operate within the security industry with impunity, however, he was wrong in this assumption. I would like to thank SecuriGroup for reporting their suspicions.
"I would urge others who may be considering following Mr Brown’s example to think very carefully indeed before doing so. As yesterday’s result has shown, you are very likely to be found out, and we will have no hesitation in taking robust action; against anyone who undermines the licensing regime in this."
Laganside Magistrates’ Court District Judge, George Conner, said:
“The Private Security Industry Act 2001 is there to protect the public. Those who work in the private security industry should be legitimately licensed.”
He added: “The matters were of a serious nature and as such must consider a custodial sentence.” -ends-
Notes to Editors:
1. By law, security operatives working under contract must hold and display a valid SIA licence. Information about SIA enforcement and penalties can be found on the website.
2. The offences committed:
Fraud Act 2006:
Section 1 – Fraud
Section 2 – Fraud by false representation
Section 6 – Possession or control of an article for use in fraud
Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981:
Section 3 – Using a false instrument
Section 4 – Using a copy of a false instrument
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 (ACS).
The ACS provides a recognised hallmark of quality within the private security industry. Approved contractors are rigorously assessed against over 80 performance indicators across seven essential criteria; helping buyers of security to make decisions that are based on quality and value.
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).