On Wednesday, October 11th, a man from Belfast received an order from Laganside Crown Court to pay £8,256 within three months or risk a jail sentence. Christopher Butler was issued this directive as a result of a Proceeds of Crime Act order filed against him by the Security Industry Authority (SIA). The SIA pursued this case following multiple prosecutions, including one against Butler, earlier in the year.
Earlier, on March 28, 2023, Christopher Butler was fined £750 at Laganside Crown Court and was also required to pay £500 in prosecution costs. On January 25, 2023, he had pleaded guilty to five offenses under the Private Security Industry Act 2001 at Downpatrick Magistrates’ Court. These charges included providing illegal security, failure to supply information, and providing false information to the SIA.
The SIA initiated these legal proceedings after receiving information about the provision of unlicensed security at a bar and restaurant in Newtownards. SIA investigators, accompanied by officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), conducted licensing inspections in Newtownards on October 12, 2019. During the inspection, two men were found working as security at the restaurant and bar. The area manager of the establishment confirmed that the illegal workers had been supplied by Strangford Security, Butler’s business.
Jenny Hart, a Criminal Investigations Manager at the SIA said, “Mr Butler profited from the supply of illegal security to Newtownards’ night-time economy. The court has handed him a substantial Proceeds of Crime Order that must be paid within three months, or he faces a jail term. This order sends a message that the supply of illegal security and profiteering from that will not be tolerated in Northern Ireland. The SIA will react to information about illegal security. Butler attempted to skew the market by undercutting businesses that operated legally in the supply of security. This recent POCA Order addresses this and confirms that crime does not pay. Butler also has a criminal record.”