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Security co. director jailed for supplying fake guards to UK fests

The director of Welsh event security firm, LS Armour, has received a prison sentence of two years and three months following an investigation by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) into unlicensed security staff at UK music events.

Lee Szuchnik supplied unlicensed guards to music festivals in June and July 2017. Unlicensed staff were supplied to events including Download, Glastonbury Festival and two Adele concerts in Wembley Stadium.

Szuchnik retained copies of genuine licences and identity details from SIA licence holders he had invited for interview at the LS Armour offices in Barry, south Wales. He later created fraudulent badges for use by unlicensed staff. The badges displayed the name and licence number of official operatives alongside a photograph of the unlicensed bearer.

“People going to events and festivals must be able to have confidence in the fact that the security personnel put there to protect them are legitimately licensed”

Fellow director Erica Lloyd received a 12-month prison sentence and 18-month suspension for her role in the fraud. Four other members of LS Armour staff received community orders of between 12 and 18 months for illegally working at events.

The SIA investigation began in July 2017 after a regional investigator stopped two guards with false licences at 2000trees festival in Cheltenham. The investigator apprehended two more unlicensed operators attempting to flee. All guards used assumed identities.

“This fraud put untrained and unvetted security staff in a position of responsibility at numerous festivals. This put event organisers, suppliers and members of the public at an increased security risk,” comments Nathan Salmon, SIA criminal investigations manager.

“People going to events and festivals must be able to have confidence in the fact that the security personnel put there to protect them are legitimately licensed. We will act robustly in driving dishonest operators out of the industry.”

 


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Security co. ‘sending stewards with fake badges’ to UK fests

A Welsh event security firm is under investigation by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) for allegedly supplying unlicensed stewards to several British music festivals.

Lee Szuchnik, of Barry-based LS Armour Security, has advertised for security staff for several festivals this summer, including Glastonbury Festival, Shindig Weekender in Bruton, Somerset, and Mutiny Festival in Portsmouth. The company has also been recruiting for stewards for Liverpool International Music Festival and Lewes Live Festival later this month.

(LS also put out an ad for stewards to join “team of 48” for last weekend’s Citadel, in Victoria Park, east London, although a spokesperson for promoter Mama has clarified the company was not involved in the festival.)

In a letter sent to festival promoters, security companies and industry associations, SIA deputy director Ed Bateman reveals the company been accused of using fraudulent badges at a number of UK festivals.

“The SIA is investigating event security provider LS Armour Security Ltd of Barry, South Wales, following allegations that the company supplied unlicensed operatives using fraudulent (cloned) SIA badges at festivals in the United Kingdom,” says Bateman. “The badges displayed a genuine name and licence number but a photograph of the unlicensed bearer.

“We are aware that LS Armour Security Ltd have contracted to supply SIA licensed staff and stewards to events and festivals throughout July and August, mostly as a subcontractor or labour provider. We understand that LS Armour Security Ltd have been deploying correctly licensed staff alongside the cloned badges, so events or festival organisers should not necessarily assume that an existing contract with the south Wales company will fail to deliver licensed staff.

“We understand that LS Armour Security Ltd have been deploying correctly licensed staff alongside the cloned badges”

“The SIA will be contacting organisers of events and festivals known to be using LS Armour Security Ltd and will work with them and to ensure that operatives are correctly licensed.”

Any event which has hired, or security company which has contracted, LS-supplied staff is being advised to check the register of SIA licence-holders at services.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk/rolh.

“The SIA understand that at this time of year event organisers and primary contractors may struggle to recruit sufficient SIA licensed staff and frequently have to resort to extensive subcontracting,” continues Bateman. :This provides opportunity to rogue providers that, with appropriate checks by organisers and primary contractors, can be largely mitigated.

“If SIA licensed staff arrive on site and are unknown to you, you must take all reasonable steps to ensure the person named on and in possession of the licence are the same person by requiring them to provide further evidence of identity. This will mitigate the risk of the cloned licence.”

LS Armour Security was founded by Szuchnik (the “LS”) and Peter Valaitis, the latter of which has several active appointments as director of a property company, a Bristol ‘forest school’ and an IT consultancy, according to Companies House. As of 14 June, it has one director, Erica Lloyd.

 


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