Directors Of Welsh Security Firm Jailed For Supplying Fake Guards To Festivals

Download Festival 2018
Matt Eachus
– Download Festival 2018
One of several events that got sold fake security staff by LS Armour

Lee Szuchnik, director of South Wales security company LS Armour, who supplied UK events with bogus security staff using false identities, was sentenced to two years and three months in prison at Cardiff Crown Court on Friday, Jan. 18.
His fellow director Erica Lloyd was handed a 12-month sentence, suspended for 18 months. “Four of LS Armour’s staff, who had worked illegally at events in June and July of 2017, including the Download Festival and two Adele concerts at Wembley Stadium, were also sentenced for their role in the deception,” the UK’s Security Industry Authority (SIA), which gives out security licenses, stated.
The fake security guards had used the identities of actual SIA licence holders, “which had been illegally harvested by Szuchnik and Lloyd.
Tim Petts, the judge in charge, branded the offenders as “reckless”, and noted the risk to the public their actions had posed.
The scheme was uncovered in 2017, when a SIA regional investigator was checking licences at 2000 Trees Festival in Cheltenham, England. “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,” according to the SIA statement.
In July 2017, the SIA and South Wales Police searched LS Armour’s offices and found material showing that Szuchnik and Lloyd were planning to send unlicensed staff with fake licences to further events.
Both directors were arrested.
The SIA moved quickly to contact security suppliers to major events throughout the UK, warning them about the ongoing investigation into LS Armour and their use of fake licences. 
“This unprecedented action brought LS Armour’s events business to an immediate halt,” according to the authorities.
Nathan Salmon, criminal investigations manager at the SIA, said: “This fraud put untrained and un-vetted 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. 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.
“An effective security industry that ensures public safety is a priority for the SIA. We will act robustly in driving dishonest operators out of the industry.”
The SIA also informs about the method Szuchnik and Lloyd used to obtain the real SIA licenses: they invited genuine SIA licence holders for interviews at the LS Armour offices in Barry, South Wales, and kept copies of their licences and identity details.
Festivals and concerts that were supplied with fake guards include Download Festival, the Glastonbury Festival, two Adele concerts at Wembley Stadium, the 2000 Trees Festival, and Cornbury Festival, according to the SIA investigation.
LS Armour had also supplied unlicensed door supervisors to two pubs.
Szuchnik himself had been refused an SIA licence in June 2017 due to prior offences, according to the SIA.
Salmon added: “The operatives in this cases were supplied under a subcontracting arrangement. We are grateful to businesses within the security industry who, having been failed by the criminal activity of LS Armour, came forward and offered evidence which contributed towards this prosecution.
“The SIA recognises that security at events is of utmost importance, and that the organisation of short term workers is often challenging to arrange.  We will continue to work with our industry, event organisers, and other partners to aid security planning and ensure security services remain at a high standard, and seek to drive out rogue operators who fail to meet regulatory requirements.”