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Anti-Theft Advice

Ron Harrison of Surelock appointed ABI President-Elect 2019-2020

  • 10:23 am
  • Surelock and the Association of British Investigators, are both very proud to announce the appointment as President-Elect for 2019-2020 the highly respected member and Governing Council Discipline Officer, Ron HARRISON.

    Ron has been a member of the ABI since November 2009, initially attending branch meetings, then got more involved sitting on selection panels for new members, in May 2018 became a member of the General Council and was appointed the Discipline Chairman.

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    by dave

Controlling and Protecting Company Data in a Mobile World

  • 3:15 pm
  • In this increasingly data-driven world, corporate security is more important than ever before. This concept is even more prevalent with the rise of the modern smartphone. Although these devices are quite convenient, the chances of proprietary information becoming lost, corrupted or stolen have dramatically increased. An employee could leave a company and no longer be authorised to view private data or a phone may be lost and fall into the hands of criminals and similar fraudsters. Intellectual property theft is therefore a very real concern. When we combine these threats with ever-advancing mobile phone hacks, it becomes clear that powerful solutions need to be put in place. What are some of the latest systems designed to mitigate the risks of this data loss?


    Like many other systems, XenMobile addresses the issue of mobile device management (MDM). Secure email, document sharing, cloud-based solutions and the ability to effectively wipe all data should a device be lost are some of the techniques that this software employs.

    Symantec Mobility

    This mobility suite offers protection at important data access points such as the device, the application and the data layers themselves. Proprietary systems help to ensure that threats such as malware, unauthorised viewing and leakage are adequately addressed. Another key benefit here is that company-centred applications can be located alongside personal apps; neither of which will interfere with the other.


    Enterprise-grade security is a defining feature of the enterprise mobility systems provided by Drupa. Cloud-based storage is shielded from third-party eyes through the use of two-factor encryption. This will prevent any unauthorised individuals from viewing important data. Remote deletion capabilities as well as location monitoring can effectively deal with any threat as soon as it becomes known. All of these features are backed up with centralised monitoring; offering management and the end user superior levels of transparency.

    IBM MobileFirst

    IBM MobileFirst offers a number of security solutions which are based around the needs of the business. These include device security and content security. Furthermore, both applications and communications can be hidden from prying eyes thanks to robust levels of encryption alongside systems such as multi-factor authentication (amongst other methods).


    This company offers a framework known as Mobile Device Manager Plus. Permissions based upon the role of the employee, the ability to immediately wide remote data, geolocation tracking and the blocking of commercial applications while on company premises are a few mobile security solutions offered by ManageEngine.

    The Critical Concept of Encryption

    All of these systems share one thing in common. Each employs a proprietary encryption system to dissuade and prevent intellectual property theft from a mobile device. This is important, for many employees may use passwords that are considered to be rather weak. Should an employee copy data onto his or her phone and their PIN number be similarly vulnerable, fraud and theft are an even greater possibility. Whether accidentally or to view this data from the convenience of home with no bad intentions, the threat is just as real.

    In these and other cases, encryption will always play an important role. Not only should peer-to-peer (P2P) encryption systems be used, but there can also be times when the data itself is encrypted. This will require another password in order to be viewed. Such a concept is an excellent redundant security feature and many systems will make use of multiple levels of encryption.

    Increased Threats

    Ultimately, mobile security and intellectual property theft are both growing concerns. Due to the sheer number of these devices and the presumption that their presence within the corporate world will continue to grow, companies should take these possibilities very seriously. What also should be mentioned is the rise of 4G connectivity. As this allows massive amounts of data to be downloaded, the potential of such information to be compromised obviously increases. Whether from the loss of a device or an intentional breach of traditional firewalls, more innovative solutions need to be put into place. The examples that we have seen are only a handful of the solutions that now exist. Still, their methods will continue to evolve alongside the threats that will likewise advance.

    Mobile device management is an area that must be taken quite seriously by any company. Theft, fraud and data corruption can cost an enterprise untold amounts of money while placing their proprietary information in jeopardy. These solutions are effective ways to address and nullify such threats within real-world scenarios.
    Surelock Global Investigators and Security Consultants are also well qualified (with a wealth of experience and knowledge) to provide advice in matters of corporate and personal security.

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    by Alex

Burglar Admits to over 70 Burglaries in Surrey – Here is how he did it!

  • 1:51 pm
  • This time last year the area experienced a large spate or burglaries. At the time a number of arrests were made with one suspect admitting to over 70 burglaries in Surrey. Interviews with this and other burglars have given us an insight into what they look for and how they do it:

    What did the burglar say?

    “The first thing I’d look for were houses where bins were left outside the house in a road where no one else had. This let me know there was a chance that the occupants weren’t home.”

    How you should respond:

    If you are planning on going away, even for a short period of time, ask a neighbour or relative to bring bins back in. If you do keep bins outside your property make sure they are away from walls or fences preventing easy access to areas out of public view.  

    What did the burglar say?

    “If the bins were still out I’d go in for a closer look. Another good sign its empty is being able to see the post building up. A look through the letterbox or glass doors makes this easy.”

    How you should respond:

    If you are going away ask a neighbour or relative to collect post, putting it out of sight from front doors. If you are away for an extended period of time try contacting the postal service and requesting delivery to an alternative address.

    What did the burglar say?

    “Sometimes people put timers on lights when they go away. If the curtains then stay open the whole night or I notice that the curtains haven’t moved over a few days, it normally suggests that no one is home.”

    How you should respond:

    Timers are a great crime prevention device however it can be even more effective if used in multiple rooms. Arrange for someone to check your property whilst away. Each time get them to open or close the curtains to suggest people being home.

    What did the burglar say?

    “I always made sure I was dressed smart when out looking at potential targets. I’d always be polite if anyone spoke to me. If people see a friendly man walking around in a suit they wouldn’t think I was up to no good. They expect to see some scruff with a balaclava and a bag of swag over their shoulder.”

    Everyone knows the stereotype, even the burglars themselves. Vigilance is the key. These are your houses in your communities that are being targeted. If you see anyone you don’t recognise or have concerns about their presence in the area report it on 101. Note down their description as best you can, including vehicle registrations where possible. It’s with the publics help that we are able to apprehend these people.

    What did the burglar say?

    “You can’t beat a good old knock on the door. If I think a house is empty I will knock and see. If someone answers I’d be my charming self and not cause them any reason to suspect me.”

    How to respond:

    If you are away for a long period of time, consider a house sitter. Someone you trust that can look after your property whilst you are away. If that isn’t possible, consider all of the advice above. The more measures that you can put in place the better. If you can afford one, house alarms can be a big deterrent. Always get quotes from at least 3 different suppliers when ever considering home security.

    What did the burglar say?

    “Garages are always an easy target. Nowadays people don’t keep their cars in them so don’t check them very often or even at all. They’re also full of all kinds of valuables that I can move on easily.”

    How to respond:

    Ensure that your garage is fitted with a strong lock, more than one where possible, making sure that you secure everything inside where possible. Lock up bikes and equipment inside to make it even more difficult to remove. We recommend security marking valuable items both in your garage and home. This links them to you and your home making it easy to return should we recover them. Visit for more details.

    Thanks to Surrey Police for this information

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    by Ron

Lost Your Bag?

  • 10:18 am
  • camera, lens, flashI recently had a trip with British Airways from Heathrow Terminal 5 when their baggage belts were not working and therefore boarded my flight knowing my suitcase did not get on with me. Thankfully I have an ingrained aversion of putting anything of value into my case, but it got me thinking of what is of value to me and how would I ever be re-joined with it if it went astray.

    It’s difficult to know what “essential items” you will get reimbursed for by the airline, but do keep your receipts for everything you buy. We at Surelock have investigated many a fraudulent insurance claim and know how important proof of purchase is to the insurance companies.

    Have you ever thought what personal items you would most hate to lose – phone, camera, computer, bicycle and if you have a prized possession stolen how would the police identify that the recovered item belonged to you?

    Take a minute to register your valuables with NMPR (National Mobile Property Register) ( IMMOBILISE  (  ) CheckMEND (  ),

    Consider putting anti-theft device on your phone or laptop – if you have sensitive information this is a must.

    P.S. I did get my bag back safely and in one piece but unfortunately the afternoon before I was to fly home again, but I learnt a lesson in how to travel light in future!

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    by Ron

Scrap Metal Laws to Stop Metal Theft Come into Force

  • 7:56 am
  • All scrap metal dealers will need to apply to their local council for a licence to operate under new rules which come into effect from 1 October.

    The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013, which clamps down on rogue traders, will also give local authorities and police new powers to inspect premises where they suspect illegal activity.

    Metal Theft

    Magistrates will be able to issue fines of up to £5,000 to scrap metal dealers who trade in cash.

    As well as having the power to issue licences, councils will be able to refuse or revoke licences if a dealer is deemed unsuitable.

    Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne said:

    Metal theft costs the UK economy around £220 million a year and it has a huge impact on our communities – from disrupted rail services to desecrated war memorials and damaged church roofs.

    Our changes, including increasing financial penalties and banning cash payments, have already helped slash metal theft across the UK.

    This new legislation will help tighten the net around rogue dealers who flout the rules and wilfully purchase stolen metal, while reforming the system to support legitimate businesses.

    The new scrap metal laws will also mean:

    • all scrap metal dealers must verify the name and address of the seller at the point of sale, which is recorded and retained by the dealer
    • the cashless offence will apply to all scrap metal dealers including ‘mobile collectors’ who collect door to door
    • there will be a single national publicly available register of all scrap metal dealers

    Scrap Metal

    Deputy Chief Constable Paul Crowther, from British Transport Police (BTP), said:

    Today marks a very significant milestone in the fight against metal thieves

    The Act demands a greater level of awareness and responsibility from traders, ensuring they verify who they are doing business with, but it also protects law abiding recyclers from unscrupulous traders.

    It is vital that scrap metal traders are aware of the changes, including the new licensing regulations.

    Metal thieves cause misery for thousands of people, whether targeting the rail network, power cables or telecommunications and today’s changes signal the introduction of a more robust licensing scheme to be monitored by local authorities.

    Know the Law

    • All scrap metal dealers can apply for a licence from 1 October.
    • If a scrap metal dealer who is registered under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 or Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001 applies on or before 15 October they will be deemed to have a licence until the local authority issues a licence decision.
    • Local authorities will complete checks to assess applicants’ suitability to hold a licence between 15 October and 1 December.
    • If a registered scrap metal dealer does not submit an application on or by 15 October their deemed licence will lapse on 16 October. A deemed temporary licence which has lapsed does not give rise to a right to appeal. The dealer must submit an application and wait for a licence to be issued before they can trade legally.
    • A local authority can impose conditions on a deemed temporary licence pending an appeal for the refusal of a licence.
    • Scrap metal dealers who are not registered under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 or the Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001 can apply for a scrap metal dealer’s licence from today 1 October but must wait for a licence to be issued before they can trade legally.
    • The offence of buying scrap metal for cash comes into force on 1 October.
    • Local authority officers and police officers will have the right to enter and inspect from 1 October.
    • The majority of the other enforcement provisions within the Act will come into force on 1 December.

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    by Ron

BT Openreach Asks For Help to Stop Cable Theft

  • 2:11 pm
  • Openreach is a BT Group company and is responsible for the network and infrastructure that supplies telecommunication to homes, industry, business and utilities, and for the maintenance of the network.

    The network consists of 75 million miles of cable which is mostly underground and accessed via over 2 million manholes and millions of footway boxes. There are 5500 telephone exchanges and 900 other buildings that also form part of the network. The network links cities, towns and villages throughout the United Kingdom and every effort is made to supply telecommunication to the most remote of places or isolated community. This network was started at the beginning of the 20th century and with modern fibre cables now being installed, a great deal of the original network is becoming redundant, but we are retaining it as a backup should the fibre system fail, as it is easier to repair and reinstate connections quickly in emergency situations.

    Due to the emerging economies of India and China, the demand for all raw materials has outstripped supply. If we concentrate on metals, the price of lead, chrome, aluminium, gold, platinum and copper has seen a marked rise in price over the last two years as demand increases. This has led to a black-market in metals and an increase in the theft of lead from church roofs, catalytic converters, railway signalling cable, bus shelters and BT copper cable. No thought is given by the perpetrator to the damage caused by water or the persons trapped on trains or the community isolation as long as they are making money.

    Whenever Openreach cables are cut or stolen, we do our utmost to reinstate service as soon as possible. Our cables can be from as little as 5 pair up to 4800 pair and each pair carries a telecommunication connection. Thieves tend to target the larger cables so as to maximise the return from their theft, and as such, this means that more people are out of service. This also means that we need to tell more people why their telephone is not working, which is not always possible, and leaves our customers sometimes angry at the lack of information, but we are working on this and soon we will have large boards telling the public why there is no telephone service and hopefully keeping the public informed.
    Openreach has 21 000 engineers who drive distinctly decorated vehicles. They also have image clothing with the company logo on it and wear industrial boots with metal toecaps. They have hi-viz jackets with OPENREACH written on the back. They are trained to park their vehicles safely and apply Road Works Guarding as specified by law. They are professional and trained to work safely within their environment. All BT Openreach engineers carry photo identification with a PIN number on it and an 0800 number to call and verify them. We do not work at night unless there is a major breakdown in the network and if we do, again, the site would be enclosed and lighted to the required standard. ( We do employ contractors and their standards should be the same as ours).

    What can the public do to help Openreach. Be vigilant, be suspicious but under no circumstances approach persons. If you see persons opening footway boxes and they have no way of identifying then from their clothes or vehicle, be suspicious. If you see persons placing cones or road signs or even closing roads with barriers and you are unable to identify them, be suspicious. If you see or hear persons ‘working’ at night, especially on grass verges or unlit roads or vehicles screeching along the road dragging what looks like piping, be very suspicious. A vehicle registration and possible make can be of use in tracking the criminal down. Call the police if you are suspicious – they would rather make enquiries than have another crime to deal with.

    What are Openreach doing? We are working with all Police Forces and offering information gained from our engineers and investigators. We are taking part in Days of Action with the enforcement agencies going into scrap metal dealers and stopping the possible outlet for stolen metals. We are working with Crimestoppers to allow the public to feed information into us, that we can correlate and pass on to the police. We are applying identifiable solutions to new cables and some existing routes, that can be traced if found with perpetrators or in the procession of scrap metal dealers. The lids to footway boxes are being replaced with lockable lids and lockable steel plates are being put under lids to add further protection. Any vulnerable routes are being alarmed, but if you look at the figures from the second paragraph, the task of protecting our network is an almost impossible task, which is why we all need to work together to stop cable crime.

    By way of example, since January 2011 there have been 57 incidents in Surrey, mainly in the Chertsey, Woking and Bagshot triangle. The cost to Openreach has varied from a few thousand pounds to in excess of £100 000. If you take this as a nationwide problem, it is costing BT millions of pounds per annum. The time it takes to repair and replace cut or stolen cable can vary between a few hours and many days, depending on cable size and location, as well as damage done to the network.

    If you see any suspicious persons or activity, especially at night contact-

    THE POLICE………………………….999
    BT SECURITY……………………………………….0800 321 999
    CRIMESTOPPERS…………………………………..0800 555 111

    Thanks to John Martin, BT Metal Theft Taskforce
    [email protected]

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    by Ron

New Measures Needed to Tackle Metal Theft, say Police

  • 2:10 pm
  • British Transport Police (BTP) is calling for new measures to tackle the increasing problem of metal theft.

    Deputy Chief Constable Paul Crowther, who also leads the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Conductive Metal Theft Working Group, has called for measures which would allow senior police officers to close down scrap metal dealers who fail to abide by industry standard working practices.

    DCC Crowther said: “We need the powers to tackle the heart of this problem effectively, allowing us to shut down scrap metal dealers who continue to flout the law and provide a market for thieves through buying and selling stolen metal.

    “With the high price of metal on world markets at the moment, thieves who sell to willing or unwitting dealers are getting good returns for their criminal activity.

    “This is a crime which really impacts on people’s everyday lives. Take, for example, the small business left struggling because their broadband cable has been ripped out by thieves simply looking to make a quick buck.

    “Metal theft is far from a victimless crime and can cause enormous problems for local communities and industry.”

    To date, in 2010, there has been a significant rise in the number of incidents recorded by BTP, culminating in a new record being set in April when just less than 300 incidents were reported during the month.

    This year to date BTP has recorded 1,855 cable-related offences and has made almost 500 arrests.

    DCC Crowther added: “In recent months we have seen significant problems caused to both the East and West Coast Mainline due to cable theft with both routes suffering extensive delays and cancellations.

    “Away from the railways, the actions of metal thieves have left entire communities, including hospitals and other vital services, without power. They have caused widespread broadband failures, and have even stripped some towns of their war memorials.”

    BTP and local police forces have been working hard to tackle those involved in the thefts, but senior officers now feel the time has come to address the methods used by thieves to sell the stolen metal.

    The ACPO group, which includes representatives from the British Metal Recycling Association (BMRA), has helped to draft a code of conduct for scrap metal dealers – setting out a number of conditions all dealers should adhere to, including: 

    • All reasonable steps should be taken to ensure stolen metals are not bought
    • Metals should only be accepted from those who present sufficient proof of identity and ownership (paper trails make it far easier for authorities to trace those who bring in stolen metals)
    • All staff should be trained in administrative processes and all paperwork should be relevant and kept up-to-date
    • Suspicious people and transactions should be reported to the police
    • Dealers should co-operate withpolice and local authorities by allowing access and inspection when requested

    In addition, ACPO would like to see an end to cash transactions at scrap dealers. This would stop thieves being able to make a ‘quick buck’ and would introduce a secondary level of identification as all payments would have to be made to a named account.

    The code of conduct is close to being ratified by the industry and could hold the key to further success in tackling metal theft.

    DCC Crowther continued: “The BMRA has been has acted responsibly in looking to bring in the voluntary code of conduct and I would like to thank them for this approach.

    “But this would only cover their members and could disadvantage them, as non-members could flout the code and potentially earn more business as a result.

    “We would, therefore, like to see the practices of the code made enforceable across the industry – setting clear guidelines for all scrap metal dealers.

    “Police forces have seen success with licensing laws, which govern bars, pubs and clubs and allow officers to close them down if the terms of their license are breached. We want see if similar legislation could help us tackle this form of criminality.”

    Dyan Crowther, director of operational services, Network Rail, said: “Metal thieves targeting the railway are causing misery to thousands of passengers, with many people missing business appointments or having disruption to holidays and days out through the selfish and dangerous actions of a few.

    “We are doing everything we can to deter such thefts and protect our vital railway. Working in partnership with the police, more and more culprits and scrap metal dealers are being caught. We support any move that gives police the ability to close down dealers who are acting illegally in order to remove the market for stolen metal.”

    Acknowledgement: Rochdale News, 25th October 2010

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    by Ron

The ‘Grate’ Colne Scrap Metal Theft Hunt

  • 1:37 pm
  • Residents in Colne’s Waterside area have been urged to look out for scrap metal thieves stealing grates.

    An investigation has been ordered into a number of thefts of grid covers, after reports that one woman suffered an ankle injury after fallling into a hole left by a missing grate.

    And neighbours are being urged to watch for suspicious activity along the area’s sloping terrace streets.

    Talks are also to be undertaken with Lancashire County Council, as the highway authority, over possible replacements.

    Dorothy Lord, a Waterside councillor, raised the issue at a Colne area committee earlier this year.

    Grates had been going missing from areas off Albert Road and Burnley Road.

    Residents told councillors they had been taken from Dent Street, Gill Street, and Francis Street.

    The question of funding replacement grates, in the current economic climate, may present an obstacle, though.

    Pendle’s engineering and special projects manager Peter Atkinson, in an executive report, said: “If this council was to consider funding such work then the estimated cost of replacing a missing gully grid with a suitable metal one was £175, “And to replace with a plastic alternative would be £150.

    “There would be a potential problem with the plastics ones as it was likely that they would not fit all of the many types of existing frames.”

    Borough police and the multi-agency problem solving team, which involves a number of public sector bodies, have been alerted over the grates issue.

    And quotes are being obtained from an environ-mental firm over the definitive cost of plastic grates.

    Council chiefs also intend to launch an awareness campaign to encourage residents to report grate thefts and any suspicious activity surrounding them.

    Acknowledgement: The Lancashire Telegraph, 12th November 2010

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    by Ron

Narrow Boat Owners Don’t Have Mushroom

  • 5:04 pm
  • Sorry for the pun but metal theft has now taken to the water.  Narrow boat owners in New Haw in Surrey have been targeted by thieves in a spate of crimes along the River Wey.

    Brass ventilation covers, known as mushrooms, have been stolen from the roofs of narrow boats moored on the River Wey.  In four incidents a total of 15 mushrooms were stolen.  Boat owner, Peter Harman from Horsell has his boat moored on the River Wey.  He will have to spend about £250 to replace the stolen mushrooms.  Mr Harman said the brass equipment allowed natural ventilation of the cabin space without being affected by the weather.  He added: “I wanted to let other boat owners know what is happening so they can take precautions and so they don’t have their property removed.”

    Crime reduction officer for Runnymede, PC Philip Grant, said: “I would appeal to everyone to keep their eyes peeled when they are close to the River Wey where boats are moored.  There is a close knit community around the river and I would advise people to look out for each other to put a stop to this type of offence”.

    If you have information or witnessed these crimes, call Surrey Police on 0845 125 2222 quoting reference RM/10/6670.

    Acknowledgement: Byfleet, West Byfleet, Pyrford & New Haw News & Mail

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    by Ron

Garden Security

  • 3:09 pm
  • It is important that the security of your garden is considered together with that of your home.  Effective security measures will not only protect your possessions in outbuildings and the garden itself but will also help to deter an attack on the house.  The risk is all the greater because in many households both partners are working and so the house is often left unoccupied during the day.  It is also not uncommon for delivery drivers to leave parcels around the back if they obtain no answer at the door and so a stranger seen walking around on the premises would not necessarily appear suspicious.

    Many sheds and garages are left unlocked even though they may contain garden equipment worth many hundreds of pounds.  In addition, tools are likely to be stored inside which would assist thieves.  Good quality mortise locks or short shackle padlocks on hasps and shackles should be used to secure exterior doors on outbuildings using coach bolts or standard fixings whose heads have been damaged to deter tampering.  Windows should be protected with strong welded mesh grilles or bars.

    Ensure that the boundary of the property is in a good state and repair any damage speedily.  Keep gates locked and if the catch or bolt can be accessed from the insecure side then it should be padlocked to prevent unauthorised access.  It should be noted that a well-established thorny hedge is an excellent deterrent to entry.

    Install lighting but ensure that the lights will not be a nuisance to neighbours.  Lights can either be manually switched or automatically activated by a PIR detector that detects motion or by a sensor that detects the onset of darkness.

    Minimise areas where intruders could hide by pruning foliage and trimming hedges.  Any remaining areas which would provide cover should be well lit.

    Secure garden ornaments wherever possible or store these securely away in winter time.  Valuable ornaments, garden furniture and equipment should be security marked with your postcode.

    CCTV cameras and intruder alarms are more affordable nowadays and should be considered.  Live video and in many cases audio footage can be displayed on a television and recorded in the same way as a TV programme with infra red illuminators available that will ensure good monochrome images of unlit areas of the garden within typically 10m of cameras.  Intruder alarms can either be standalone with a local sounder or interfaced to an existing system in the house.  Wireless alarm and CCTV systems are also available that simplify their installation although they will be more expensive than hard-wired systems.

    Finally ensure that your household insurance policy covers garden and outbuilding theft.

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    by Ron