HEALTH & SAFETY: Lee Szuchnik, The director of Welsh event security firm, LS Armour, has received a prison sentence of two years and three months after being convicted of providing unlicensed security staff at UK music events. The conviction followed an investigation by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) into how Szuchnik supplied unlicensed guards to music festivals in June and July 2017.
The SIA investigation began in July 2017 after a regional investigator stopped two guards with false licences at 2000Trees festival in Cheltenham. The investigator spotted two LS Armour security guards working with fake licences.She then stopped two further operatives who were trying to flee the site. Both of them were also using assumed identities. Unlicensed staff were supplied to events including Download, Glastonbury Festival and two Adele concerts at 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.
Szuchnik and fellow director Emily Lloyd were consequently summonsed on several counts of providing unlicensed operatives to festivals and licensed venues during 2017. Szuchnik was additionally charged with supplying articles for use in frauds, contrary to section 7(1) of the Fraud Act 2006. Lloyd received a 12-month prison sentence and 18-month suspension for her role in the fraud.
Four of LS Armour’s staff were also sentenced: Daniel Foulkes, 27, of Ty’r Gyfraith, Greenwood Street, Barry, and Ross Harris, 20, of Marines Way, Rhoose were handed 18-month community orders, while Dylan Yorath, 23, of Abercynon Road, Mountain Ash and Lewis Potter, 21, of Courtenay Road, Barry, were both given 12-month community orders.
“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, said 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.”
The judge at Cardiff Crown Court, HHJ Petts, praised the vigilance of the SIA in identifying the offences, and branded the offenders as “reckless”.