On Monday 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. The order is the result of the first independent confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act pursued by the Security Industry Authority (SIA). It follows a prosecution by the SIA of both Victor Lewis and his son Anthony Lewis 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 the SIA 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 began back in April 2016 when the SIA received anonymous intelligence that unlicensed security officers were working on the Isle of Wight. SIA investigators inspected several sites in June of that year and found an unlicensed security officer in a Sightguard Security Ltd uniform at the Medina boat yard.
Following the June 2016 inspection, SIA investigators requested more information from Sightguard Security Ltd and scrutinised the company’s signing-in sheets. The investigators found another unlicensed security officer who was also working at the same boat yard.
Further enquiries also revealed that another unlicensed security officer was carrying out mobile patrols and static security duties elsewhere on the Isle of Wight.
The SIA investigators asked Victor Lewis to provide information under Section 19 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. However, the SIA discovered that Victor Lewis had falsely claimed the information requested could not be disclosed as it related to the Ministry of Defence. This wasn’t the case and, during the SIA’s investigation, it became clear that this information related to deploying unlicensed security officers. As a result, the SIA decided to prosecute the company, Victor Lewis and Anthony Lewis.
This isn’t the first time that the SIA has investigated Sightguard Security Ltd. In 2013, the company was found supplying unlicensed security operatives and given an Improvement Notice designed to encourage compliance.
Nathan Salmon, the SIA’s criminal investigations manager, said: “Where appropriate, we will encourage compliance in the first instance. However, despite our efforts to work with Sightguard Security Ltd, the company 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 Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation orders.”
Victor Lewis, Anthony Lewis and Sightguard Security Ltd all pleaded guilty to employing unlicensed security officers. Victor Lewis also pleaded guilty to employing unlicensed officers and to providing false information to the SIA.