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Unlicensed security boss jailed

14 December 2018

THE OWNER of a security guard company has been jailed for 9 months for operating without a license when providing door staff in Northern Ireland.

On 12 December, at Antrim Crown Court, Steven Ian Nixon (47) of Portadown and owner of Eventsafe Security, was sentenced to nine months imprisonment for fraud, and three months for supplying unlicensed security operatives. Both jail sentences were suspended for three years. Nixon was also given 100 hours community service.

In January 2017, the Security Industry Authority (SIA) received intelligence that Nixon was still operating as a sole trader via his company Eventsafe, despite having his licence revoked in May 2016 due to his criminality.

As a sole trader under the law Nixon and his company Eventsafe Security are seen as one and the same. He is the person responsible for the supply and management and direction of all security operatives working for Eventsafe.

When SIA questioned him at the time, Nixon claimed to no longer run Eventsafe. However our investigators found evidence to the contrary. The case was referred to the SIA Criminal Investigation Team for investigation.

During the investigation Nixon falsified statements using the name of an individual (without this person's knowledge) suggesting that this person was now running Eventsafe.

SIA investigators found that Nixon provided businesses in Magherafelt and Portadown with bogus public liability insurance documents to gain their custom. Nixon later presented another individual, Nathan Wallace a door supervisor, who he claimed had now taken over Eventsafe.

SIA says it made several requests for information and documentation to Nathan Wallace to confirm his status at Eventsafe, all were met with silence.

SIA also questioned a number of door supervisors who worked at Eventsafe, they all stated that Eventsafe was run by Nixon who they regarded as their manager.

In March 2018, Nathan Wallace was convicted of failing to respond to the request for information from the SIA regarding his role in Eventsafe. He was sentenced in June 2018 at Armagh Magistrates where he received a 2 year Conditional Discharge and was ordered to pay costs of £172.00

SIA said that throughout its investigation, Nixon declined repeated approaches by it for an interview to explain his position. He was prosecuted for a number of offences across several locations across Northern Ireland, these were:

  • Managing and directing a licenced operative engaged in licensable conduct at Ballymena despite not having an SIA licence himself;
  • Supplying an unlicensed operative to engage in licensable activity in Magherafelt; and
  • Two counts of fraud for using forged insurance documents to obtain contracts at Magherafelt and a contract at Portadown.

Nixon failed to appear at all the court hearings. In July he was convicted despite his absence, on the evidence we presented in both Ballymena and Magherafelt. Following this warrants were issued for his arrest.

In October, Nixon was sentenced to a £400 fine for working without a licence, in addition he was ordered to pay a Victim Surcharge of £15 and fixed costs of £165.The remainder of the offences were sent to Antrim Crown Court for sentencing.

SIA says it is pursuing the confiscation of Nixon's assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002). A hearing for this will take place in the coming months.

At the Antrim Crown Court Judge McReynolds commented that the fraud was "blatant and premeditated". He stated that Nixon displayed a "lack of candour and transparency" and has an "inability to tell the truth."

The court also heard that Nixon had 39 previous convictions. Judge McReynolds reminded Nixon that should he commit any further offences over the next 3 years he will almost certainly be sent to prison.

SIA criminal investigations manager Pete Easterbrook said: "The conviction of Steven Nixon for a range of offences demonstrates his complete indifference to the fact that there is regulation of the private security industry and the safeguards it affords.  In addition, Mr. Nixon has shown that he was more than prepared to lie to both the SIA, his customers and those he employed.  Those lies very quickly unravelled, and I am pleased that the court has recognised the seriousness of his offending in the sentence passed today.

"Determined to run his business by any means necessary he put the public at risk not only by supplying unlicensed security operatives but cheating his clients with forged insurance documents so he could secure their custom".

Pete Easterbrook added:

The vast majority of those who work in the security industry are appropriately trained and licensed. They carry out their role professionally and to a high standard. There is, however, a small minority who believe that they can operate with impunity and engage in criminality. My message to them is straightforward - there is no place for you in the security industry.   This case serves as a stark warning that if you commit criminal offences you will be prosecuted".