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Unlicensed security firm boss jailed for 32 months

24 August 2017

A TEESIDE man has been sentenced to 32 months in prison for a number of offences including being director of a security company without a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence.

In 2014, the North East Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART) contacted SIA investigators with concerns regarding Christopher Catchpole and his security company, Prolock Security North East Ltd. SIA investigators conducted a number of site visits and found an unlicensed guard working on a site in Stockton-On-Tees. This is an offence under the Private Security Industry Act (PSIA). 

Catchpole was the director of the company who supplied the unlicensed guard and SIA discovered that he was also unlicensed himself. SIA investigators worked closely with the RART and used their powers under the Private Security Industry Act to obtain information relating to the conduct of Catchpole and his security business.

While this prosecution was underway, the Police also had an ongoing investigation into Catchpole for the part he played in an organised criminal group who were involved in the supply of class A drugs. As a result, SIA worked with the Police prior to Catchpole being charged and sentencing was postponed until the drugs case was concluded.

In 2016, Catchpole formed a new security company, and investigators carried out additional site visits. They identified more security operatives who were working without SIA licences. They also found Catchpole had profited significantly from the security contracts he had secured. SIA was able to provide evidence in court that that Catchpole’s activities had deprived legitimate security companies from obtaining £1.1 million of business.

Catchpole appeared at Teesside Crown Court on 30 June 2017 and was sentenced to 32 months imprisonment following a guilty plea to offences of money laundering, supplying an unlicensed security operative and being the director of a security company without a licence.

He is also subject to a Serious Crime Prevention Order, which will come into effect once he is released from prison. The order includes a condition that he must not have a role in any business relating to security. The RART and CPS are now taking steps to recover the proceeds of Catchpole’s criminality, with a further hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act set for November this year.

SIA criminal investigations manager Pete Easterbrook said: “Catchpole operated a security business with a complete disregard for the law and gave no thought whatsoever to the consequences of supplying unlicensed security operatives. In addition, this investigation has highlighted the significant financial loss to legitimate businesses through his unlawful activities, and the profit made by Catchpole at the expense of his customers. 

“He is now serving a considerable prison sentence, and this is due in no small part the excellent relationship between the SIA and our partner agencies. I would particularly like to thank colleagues from the North East RART for the tenacity and commitment they have shown during this investigation.  The SIA will continue to work with partners to take robust action against those who use the security industry as a vehicle for their criminality.”