A Wiltshire security firm boss has had assets of over £80,000 confiscated after being convicted of providing unlicensed security guards to a school over a period of 12 years.
Steven Renouf, the former owner of Taghna Security Services, has 28 days to comply with the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) confiscation order, which was ordered at Winchester Crown Court on Thursday. If he fails to pay £84,610.29 within that time, he faces a default sentence of two years in jail.
The confiscation was sought by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) following Renouf's conviction for a range of offences against the Private Security Industry Act 2001 (PSIA), including supplying unlicensed security guards, failing to provide information, and providing false information to SIA investigators. Renouf sold his house whilst under investigation; the SIA obtained a court order denying Renouf the proceeds of the sale pending the outcome of this POCA hearing.
Pete Easterbrook, of the Security Industry Authority's (SIA) Criminal Investigation Team, said:
"Steven Renouf acted with great irresponsibility over a period of more than ten years. His criminal behaviour in providing untrained, unvetted, and unlicensed security staff at a school could have had serious consequences for those that he had been trusted to protect. In the end, the consequences could not have been more serious for Renouf himself. He has lost his business, his SIA licence, and over £80,000, including the proceeds from the sale of his house. He is also now a convicted criminal. This case should stand as a warning to anyone who is tempted to commit criminality in the private security industry. The SIA will prosecute, and wherever possible, we will seek to recover the proceeds of that criminality to ensure that crime really doesn't pay.
Renouf had supplied up to 40 unlicensed staff to a school in Wiltshire over the course of a contract dating from 2006. In addition to deceiving his client, Renouf had dishonestly told his own employees that they didn't require a licence. Renouf originally appeared at Swindon Magistrates' Court on Tuesday 06 November, and pled guilty to all 23 charges against him.
SIA investigators made a pre-planned inspection visit to the school on 07 February 2018, and found two unlicensed security operatives at work. The school immediately cancelled Renouf's contract.
The SIA launched an investigation, and made formal requests for information from Taghna Security Services. The company's responses were incomplete and included falsified invoices and other incorrect information intended to show that Renouf had been operating legally. As a result, Renouf was charged not only with failing to provide information, but also with two counts of providing false information. These charges were in addition to 20 counts of supplying unlicensed security staff.
Five of Renouf's employees, who had all previously pled guilty to working unlawfully for Taghna Security Services as unlicensed security guards, were sentenced at Swindon Magistrates' Court on 09 October.