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Monthly Archives: May 2016

Fake Goods Worth More than £30m Seized in Barras Crackdown

  • May 26, 2016
  • Although Surelock has not been directly involved with this long running operation we have supplied authentication evidence when our clients’ counterfeits have been seized.


    Fake goods worth more than £30m have been seized and 100 arrests were made during a three-year crackdown on Glasgow’s Barras market.

    Counterfeit clothing, shoes, bags, electronics, jewellery and tobacco – all labelled as designer gear – were recovered by police and Trading Standards officers.

    Operation Salang was set up to cut down on the illegal counterfeit trade and protect the intellectual property of brands.

    A number of stalls were removed from the Barras and new businesses are being encouraged to set up.

    The Scottish government and Glasgow City Council have allocated £5m to regenerate the area.


    Ch Insp David Pettigrew said: “Members of the public can sometimes see the sale of counterfeit goods as a victimless crime.

    “People should remember that although it may seem like a bargain, the proceeds from this illicit activity funds other types of criminality such as drug dealing and prostitution.”

    Trading Standards said six buildings within the market which were previously empty are now being used for new ventures such as artists studios, giving opportunities to young people.

    The UK Intellectual Property Office – responsible for protecting patents, designs, trademarks and copyright – was involved in the operation.

    Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Minister for Intellectual Property, said: “Barras Market has a bright future. Working with our partners we have ended the reign of criminality in this area.

    “Legitimate businesses, previously undercut and threatened by counterfeit traders, are returning and I am very happy to see that the area is being regenerated.”


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    by dave

The New Age of the Ticket Tout

  • A government-commissioned report on the problem of ticket touts is being published this week. Andrew Hosken (The World Tonight, BBC Radio 4) examines how the internet age has made secondary ticket sales big business.

    No sporting event or music concert would feel complete without the ticket tout. Buying low and selling high has always been the business model of the tout.

    But touting now is no longer the preserve of the Arthur Daleys or “Del Boy” Trotters familiar to music and sporting fans.

    The internet has helped to turn it into a business worth an estimated £1.4 billion a year.

    Tickets are now re-sold through a small number of giant websites that have come in for intense criticism. The companies running the sites have been accused of encouraging ticket touts and ripping off fans.

    American concern

    The BBC has learned that the New York Attorney General Office has criticised the business practices of at least two giant ticketing giants that operate in the UK, Stubhub and Ticketmaster.

    Stubhub says it gives fans a safe platform on which to exchange tickets and that 95% of its sellers are not touts, passing on only a handful of tickets each year.

    Reg Walker, the operations director of the Iridium Consultancy, one of the country’s leading experts on touts and ticketing irregularity, told the BBC that even the very cheapest seats were being harvested online.

    “The problem is that there is a danger, particularly with sport, that we are pricing out a whole stratum of society,” said Mr Walker.

    “Those who are not particularly affluent from seeing sporting events, getting involved in sporting events, and that may well discourage people from becoming the sportsmen and the sportswomen of the future.”


    Mr Walker said that as many as half the tickets allocated for major music and sports events could be acquired by touts and then re-sold through the main ticketing agencies at prices much higher than the face value.

    “The majority of the people in the UK cannot afford these prices,” he said. “And they are being priced out by greedy individuals who frequently avoid paying tax and VAT – harvesting tickets and artificially upping the price. And that needs investigating.”

    Last October, Business Secretary Sajid Javid commissioned a review of the consumer protection measures in place for online ticket sales.

    Chaired by Professor Michael Waterson, Professor of economics at the University of Warwick, the review team reports to the government this week.

    A separate inquiry into the major ticket re-sellers was conducted recently by the New York Attorney General’s Office.

    That report said that illegal software called “Bots” was used by online touts not only to acquire tickets but also to prevent fans from buying them.

    Bots acquired an estimated 60 per cent for all available tickets this way for a number of important gigs, the report said. Ticket resale websites were criticised for not doing enough to deter touts.

    New laws ineffective?

    In early May, the Attorney General Erich T. Schneiderman wrote to secondary ticketers such as Stubhub and Ticketmaster suggesting that touts using their websites were probably in breach of consumer protection laws.

    The defence of secondary ticket companies has been their insistence that they do not trade in tickets but simply facilitate those people who wish to do so.

    The consumer rights campaigner Which? has also investigated the UK’s ticket resale market.

    Pete Moorey, head of campaign for Which? said new laws introduced only last year were proving ineffective.

    The legislation set out clear rules for secondary tickets, saying that resold tickets had to show the face value of the ticket, the number of the seat and row, as well as any restrictions on that ticket.

    “These pieces of information simply aren’t being shown by the secondary ticketing sites, which raises concern about people out there buying tickets that either are not going to be what they think they’re buying or actually turning up to an event and being turned away,” said Mr Moorey.

    ‘Prices can fall’

    A spokesperson for Stubhub, the ticket re-seller owned by eBay, said: “At Stubhub, we offer ticketing choice so that fans can enjoy live events.

    “We give fans access to tickets by providing a safe and secure platform for fans to exchange tickets. We do not set prices for the tickets listed on the website, as this is done through our sellers, 95% of which are consumers who only sell a handful of tickets per year.”

    The spokesperson added that Stubhub acted as a distribution channel for event organisers to sell primary tickets at face value.

    “Our experience in the UK has shown that ticket prices can actually come down,” added the spokesperson. “In fact, since we launched in the UK in 2012, the average ticket price has dropped nearly 25%.”

    Ticketmaster said it was waiting for the Waterson review to be published before commenting further.

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    by dave

Online Dating ABC

  • May 23, 2016
  • Dating

    A male victim of a fraud, Terry (not his real name of course) contacted us recently following a “meeting” from a dating site with Lady E  (let’s call  her that because it isn’t her real name and neither is the name she gave the victim).  In fact they never actually met, as all their ”meeting” was done online, via emails. After exchanging emails for all of two weeks and telling Terry she needed an honest man in her life who would be a good father to her daughter, they arranged to meet. Lady E could not make the arranged physical meeting because someone important in her life had been taken ill. She had to travel out of the country urgently to visit this person who the following day died leaving her over €1.5 million. Suspicious?  Maybe when she wanted to share the €1.5 million with a man she had never met and only had online contact with for a couple of weeks alarm bells should now be ringing. The rest is the same we have heard time and time again, Lady E needs money wired to her in order to pay for a lawyer, then she needs money to pay tax on the inheritance, then she needs money to bail her out of jail where she was being held on illegal charges.

    Terry having sent initial money, eventually got suspicious, thankfully. His losses were not dented as much as his ego and his pride.

    These fraudsters are clever using practised ways, in Terry’s words, that could be made into a movie. In fact his advice was that if Lady E and her friends are that clever thinking of this form of deception and orchestrating the next scene they should write a movie and make some honest money.

    Therein is a word of warning for all those using online dating. Money is replaceable the risk could have been so much worse.

    Therefore be safe

    A = Accept nothing as true

    B = Believe nothing as face value

    C = Check everything

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    by dave

Protecting Creativity, Supporting Innovation: IP Enforcement 2020

  • May 20, 2016
  • The Government has set out its strategy as to how it will make effective, proportionate and accessible enforcement of IP rights a priority for the next four years.

    The UK has been independently assessed as a world leader in enforcement.  This strategy explains how the Government will retain this status and ensure that UK rights holders are able to protect rights effectively both at home and abroad.

    The Government’s core strategic ambitions are to ensure that: UK businesses, including small businesses, are more confident in operating internationally as a result of better IP protection; rights owners and rights users have access to proportionate and effective mechanisms to resolve disputes and tackle IP infringement and; consumers and users are educated to the benefits of respecting IP rights, and do so.

    To deliver all this the Government will continue to work with its domestic and international partners from industry and law enforcement to address the multiple and growing challenges posed by IP infringement and counterfeiting.


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    by dave

Personal Security Threats in the Current Political Climate

  • May 19, 2016
  • Security Guard on duty near a public buildingWhile the issue of personal security frequently involves only immediate surroundings, it is an undeniable fact that extraneous situations can have a very real impact upon existing threats. Those within decision-making roles as well as the general public need to be aware of such risks as well as the ways that they can be mitigated. So, what are companies such as Surelock doing to address this challenging climate and what steps can be taken to lessen the perceived (or real) threats that currently exist within the United Kingdom? These are two very important questions to answer.

    A Looming Brexit?

    The population will soon decide whether or not Britain should formally leave the European Union. While much of the focus has been placed upon the potential economic impacts that such a move could cause, the security of the general public is another factor to consider. Although this article points out that the United Kingdom will remain a core contributor to the NATO alliance, the question of cross-border intelligence sharing must be addressed. Will security services and relevant agencies be as free and as open with one another? We have already seen that intelligence failures were partially to blame in regards to the Paris attacks. Will the average commuter on the streets of London or Birmingham face a similar risk in the event of a Brexit?

    The second point to make in regards to a Brexit involves the potential for cyber crime and financial instability. Once again, this may partially revolve around less transparency within the international marketplace. Will instances of money laundering rise? Some officials are already observing that a Brexit would be thebiggest risk to domestic financial stability. This holds just as true for instances of cyber crime as companies are forced to modify or even scrap their current security architecture. As of yet, these issues have not been fully addressed.


    There is no doubt that terrorism is an issue mentioned frequently in the news and many believe that it is only a matter of time before a major city within the United Kingdom is attacked again. Whether we are referring to the soft-target threats associated with ISIS strategies or the increasing concern that homegrown factions may already be present, the public is understandably worried. These situations can be tackled with the synergy of proactive governmental intervention and better cross-border communications between nations within the European Union and the United Kingdom. However, this will only be effective if used in conjunction with greater public vigilance and political decision-making processes that appreciate the potential for a Paris-style attack (or perhaps worse).

    Migration Issues

    We have already seen areas within Europe such as Germany become polarised over the issue of mass migration. The same could very well hold true for the United Kingdom. Of course, this is one of the issues which has affected the upcoming Brexit vote. Many analysts believe that the United Kingdom could already be “sleepwalking to catastrophe” in regards to the influx of refugees from war-torn areas of the world such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Although Surelock and other firms certainly provide effective private investigationtechniques, these are literally only the tip of the iceberg. Tighter border controls and more thorough background checks are two steps which need to be taken on an administration level.

    Governmental and Leadership Changes

    Changes in political and leadership roles have always been prone to cause a certain amount of instability. Perhaps the most recent example can be seen in the election of the first Muslim mayor of London. We have already witnessed a polarisation over immigration issues and some are concerned that the allowance of more refugees under the leadership of Sadiq Khan may impact the safety of the general public. In this case, we are not only referring to the potential of attacks. We also must keep in mind ethnic tensions, a rise in hate crimes and similar violent reprisals from all sides. Some are of the opinion that the very social fabricof Britain could be at risk. From the standpoint of the private citizen, this is just as much of a relevant topic.

    Natural Threats

    Not all of the present risks are caused by mankind and political decisions. Some of the issues which the United Kingdom (and the world as a whole) currently faces are:

    Of course, this is but a general overview of some of the most pertinent security threats which may impact the United Kingdom. It is just as important to appreciate what decision makers and the public can do in order to lessen their exposure to such circumstances.

    Mitigation, Deterrence and Prevention


    The public needs to be made aware of the risks as well as the rewards associated with a potential Brexit. Issues such as cyber security, international trade, financial transparency and immigration all need to be clearly summarised by those within leadership positions. An informed public is one that can make the correct choices when the time comes.


    From the point of view of the private citizen, vigilance and prudence are two top concerns. Basic steps such as reporting suspicious activity and realising international travel risks can go a long way. It could very well be an individual citizen who thwarts a planned attack.

    Perhaps more importantly, those who are in charge or large venues or gatherings must be made aware of the potential for planned attacks. The application of crowd control techniques and the hiring of trained security personnel should be high priorities in any counter-terrorism plan. One example of how an exercise can be used to prepare for any terrorist threat has recently been seen in the terror training exercise at Trafford Centre.


    As mentioned previously, the government must seek to develop more thorough screening standards while bolstering the security within high-risk areas (such as around Dover). The point is not necessarily to deny entry entirely, but rather to make certain that those who are arriving have only honest intentions. This will take a great deal of logistical coordination and it is likely that the use of companies such as Surelock will be necessary.

    Governmental and Leadership Changes

    During any change in leadership, policymakers need to maintain a focus on security during and immediately after the transition. As political instability can often lead to events such as protests, race conflicts and the destruction of property, it is also prudent to bolster security forces located within any purported urban “hot spots”.

    Natural Risks

    A shift towards environmentally friendly technologies, greater international cooperation and investments into ecologically conscious companies are all ways to help protect the environment. Ongoing public relations campaigns should likewise be employed to educate the average citizen of the threats which are currently present. Not only would these practices allow the United Kingdom to beless dependent upon oil from the Middle East, but investing now for an environmentally sound future will help protect generations to come.

    Surelock is a global leader in the field of investigations, risk mitigation and security services. Whether in reference to home and personal security or other areas of specialisation, preparation is critical in terms of prevention. Surelock is pleased to be able to offer additional services such as fraud detection, surveillance services and security training.

    In a world that is now partially defined by rapid political and social changes, it is now more important than ever before to be adequately prepared for whatever may be around the next proverbial corner. Surelock is here to help.

    Read a presentation version of this article on (and brought up to date, now that the UK is negotiating to leave the EU).

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    by Alex

Important News for Owners of CCTV Systems

  • May 11, 2016
  • This message has been sent by the Bromley Neighbourhood Watch Association for the attention of owners of CCTV systems.


    Dear Coordinator,

    Are you aware, following a ruling by the European Court of Justice, the UK Information Commissioner (ICO) has ruled that household CCTV systems that film beyond the boundary of the property, such as the street, must now be registered?  The ICO has implemented this with an annual fee per household of £35 and details of households that register their systems will appear on a searchable Public Register.  For full details, go to the ICO website at:

    In one London Ward, household CCTV covering the street has been submitted to the Police and has directly led to over 100 arrests for burglary and other serious offences in the past 5 years.  As a result, a group of Neighbourhood Watch Coordinators in Hillingdon have started an on-line petition to encourage the ICO to waive the registration fee.  Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network has taken up the challenge and is inviting Coordinators across England and Wales to sign the petition.  Naturally, Bromley Neighbourhood Watch Association supports this action.  The Petition can be found here:

    Kind regards,

    Bromley Neighbourhood Watch Association

    [email protected]

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    by dave

Bristol Shop Owner Sold More Than 1,600 Fake T-shirts Online

  • May 9, 2016
  • This successful prosecution followed a covert operation by Surelock, working on behalf of TRAP (Trade Mark and Rights holders Against Piracy).  We identified eBay sites, made test purchases of our clients’ counterfeit merchandise, then worked in association with South Gloucestershire Trading Standards to identify the offenders and raid the premises.

    A Wickwar man has been given a three-month curfew and ordered to repay nearly £25,000 after being found guilty of selling hundreds of counterfeit music T-shirts online.

    Andrew Minter, 55, of High Street, sold over 1,600 shirts emblazoned with the logos of popular bands including Motorhead, the Ramones and Blur.

    RePsycho in Gloucester Road

    Minter made £17,000 over four years of trading the fake goods on auction site eBay.

    His activities came to light after a brand investigator discovered him trading online and made several test purchases, all of which turned out to be counterfeit. The investigation was then taken over by South Gloucestershire Council Trading Standards.

    Officers executed a warrant on April 17, 2015 at Minter’s home address in Wickwar and also at his business premises on Gloucester Road, Bristol, which resulted in a quantity of business documentation and counterfeit clothing being detained.

    Investigations of his eBay and Paypal accounts found he had sold 1,608 fake T-shirts, for between £10 and £12 each, for four years to people in Australia, Russia and the USA as well as in the UK.

    Minter pleaded guilty at an earlier court hearing to two charges under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on Thursday (May 5).

    He was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and was given a three month curfew order.

    He was also ordered to pay full prosecution costs of £6,299.07 and to repay the benefit made from the crime to the tune of £24,729.72. The amount must be paid within three months or he will serve nine months in prison.

    In interview Minter claimed that he had bought the counterfeit t-shirts from an unidentified man who came to his shop in 2011. He said he continued to purchase several more consignments from the man and always paid him in cash.


    In court, Judge Martin Picton agreed the t-shirt sales did not constitute a large scale operation, but they did constitute a significant number of items and sales which continued over a four-year period. He also ordered that all counterfeit stock that was seized by Trading Standards be forfeited.

    Neil Derrick, senior Fair Trade officer for South Gloucestershire Council Trading Standards, said: “We welcome today’s sentence.

    “The biggest penalty for Mr Minter is that he has to pay back nearly £25,000 or face imprisonment.

    “Traders must be very careful about buying branded stock from unidentified sellers for cash, as counterfeiting is big business, but it is also a crime.”

    Anyone wishing to report sales of counterfeit goods can do so in strictest confidence by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506.

    Full story:


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    by dave

Surelock is now a Buy With Confidence member

  • May 3, 2016
  • Buy WIth ConfidenceWe feel congratulations are indeed in order!

    Surelock is now a “Buy With Confidence” member and approved by Trading Standards.

    Our business is now part of an elite group which means we are

    Vetted and approved by Trading Standards

    Committed to operating in a legal, honest and fair way

    Criminal record checked

    Qualified, experienced and fully insured

    Monitored to ensure a high level of customer service

    Advised on Trading Standards legislation

    Find out more about this scheme

    We are excited that our customers can provide feedback on services and look forward to providing a service to new and loyal customers looking for private investigators and security consultants whose services they can trust and buy with confidence.

    We are honoured to be a member of such an elite group and are proud of our new ‘Trading Standards approved’ status.

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    by Alex

Revealed: Huge Haul of Fake 1D Garments Sold by Plymouth Gang

  • This successful prosecution followed a covert operation by Surelock, working on behalf of TRAP (Trade Mark and Rights Holders Against Piracy) identifying eBay sites and making test purchases of our clients’ counterfeit merchandise, then working  with Plymouth Trading Standards to identify the offenders and raid the premises

    In the foreground is part of the haul of fake goods sold by the gang

    This is just a fraction of the thousands of fake garments including One Direction tops offered for sale to unsuspecting customers over eBay.
    Trading standards seized the haul and a specialist printer from a Plymouth shop.
    But thousands of shirts and hooded tops, mostly bearing counterfeit logos for the boy band, had already been sold over the previous three years.
    Defendants Kenneth Colley, aged 43, Jason Ross, aged 45, and Anna Strzelecka, aged 40, and now deceased ringleader Trevor Brice made an estimated £140,000, Plymouth Crown Court heard.
    Judge Ian Lawrie handed the trio suspended prison sentences with unpaid work.
    He said: “I take the view that Mr Brice was the brains behind this operation. He was the one who thought of it and got it started.
    “He went to his friends for help and support. You all played a central role in a large operation.”
    Judge Lawrie had earlier admitted to the court that he had not heard of One Direction, the world’s biggest boy band.
    He added that he preferred the classical composer Bach.
    But the case was not stopped or delayed because of that, as reported by some media outlets.

    Julia Cox, prosecuting for Plymouth City Council, said that just under £140,000 went through the gang’s eBay accounts to be transferred into their own accounts from 2009 until 2012.
    She added that test purchasers acting for One Direction bought some of the items in May 2012 and discovered them to be fake.
    Trading standards then started watching a shop unit in Embankment Road linked to one of the defendants.
    Miss Cox said officers raided the address and seized specialist computing equipment and a printing press.
    She added that another man called Trevor Brice was arrested alongside the defendants but died before he was prosecuted.
    Miss Cox said that One Direction tops and T-shirts were sold at a price of £19.99. Boy London garments were also sold.
    The exact number of fake goods sold in court was not revealed in court.
    Colley admitted he had even been to India to source material.
    Ali Rafati, for Colley, said he was on benefits and the sole carer of a ten-year-old child.
    Colley had told the court that he allowed Brice to use his accounts for money and did not realise the scale of the operation.
    Nick Lewin, for Ross, added that the garments were of good quality and eBay was full of messages from grateful customers.
    He added that he was involved in the long conspiracy for only six months.
    Michael Green, for Strzelecka, said her main role was to allow the use of her eBay account.
    He added she was the mother to Colley’s young child.
    Judge Lawrie said: “I am confident that these defendants are unlikely to come before these courts again.”
    Colley and Strzelecka were both handed 16-month prison sentences, suspended for two years, with 150 hours unpaid work.
    Ross was given an eight-month prison sentence suspended for the same period. He must do 75 hours unpaid work.
    Colley, of Risdon Avenue, Prince Rock, and Strzelecka, of nearby Embankment Road, pleaded guilty to selling goods bearing false trademarks between July 2009 and July 2012.
    Colley alone admitted possession of goods bearing false trademarks for sale. He also pleaded guilty to applying false trademarks to goods.

    Colley printer
    The specialist printer used by the gang to fake goods in a Plymouth shop

    He also admitted possession of the printing unit specifically designed to label clothing with a copy of a registered trademark.
    Colley, Strzelecka, and Ross, of Penmere Drive, Newquay, all pleaded guilty to possession, conversion or transfer of criminal property, namely the proceeds from selling the fakes.
    All three now face further hearings under the Proceeds of Crime Act to recover their profits from the illegal operation.
    Alex Fry, Trading Standards Manager, Plymouth City Council said after the case: “Genuine businesses including local shops are unable to compete with sellers of fake goods so we urge consumers not to buy counterfeit goods.
    “While it is tempting to buy cheap products, consumers are actually being ripped off and need to be aware of the consequences of piracy and counterfeit goods. Many counterfeit goods are potentially dangerous to consumers such as electrical equipment, toys, personal care products and medicines.


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    by dave

Urgent Alert: Online Extortion Demand Affecting UK Businesses

  • Issued by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB)


    Within the past 24 hours a number of businesses throughout the UK have received extortion demands from a group
    calling themselves ‘Lizard Squad’.
    Method of Attack:
    The group have sent emails demanding payment of 5 Bitcoins, to be paid by a certain time and date. The email states
    that this demand will increase by 5 Bitcoins for each day that it goes unpaid.

    If their demand is not met, they have threatened to launch a Denial of Service attack against the businesses’
    websites and networks, taking them offline until payment is made.

    The demand states that once their actions have started, they cannot be undone.



    What to do if you’ve received one of these demands:

    • Report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or by using the online reporting tool.
    • Do not pay the demand.
    • Retain the original emails (with headers).
    • Maintain a timeline of the attack, recording all times, type and content of the contact.

    If you are experiencing a DDoS right now you should:

    • Report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 immediately.
    • Call your Internet Service Provider (ISP) (or hosting provider if you do not host your own Web server), tell them you are under attack and ask for help.
    • Keep a timeline of events and save server logs, web logs, email logs, any packet capture, network graphs, reports etc.

    Get Safe Online top tips for protecting your business from a DDoS:

    • Consider the likelihood and risks to your organisation of a DDoS attack, and put appropriate threat reduction/mitigation measures in place.
    • If you consider that protection is necessary, speak to a DDoS prevention specialist.
    • Whether you are at risk of a DDoS attack or not, you should have the hosting facilities in place to handle large, unexpected volumes of website hits.



    The NFIB needs feedback from our readers to evaluate the quality of our products and to inform our priorities.
    Please would you complete the following NFIB feedback survey through: This should take you no more than 2 minutes to complete. If you have other feedback or additional information that you would prefer to provide by email please send to:
    [email protected].

    For the full Alert from the NFIB: ransom_demand_email_alert

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    by dave