SIA Prosecutes Sussex Security Company for Unlicensed Officers

Security_Industry_Authority_logoOn September 14, 2023, at Hastings Magistrates Court, Zac Morgan and his company, First Choice (Sussex) Security Ltd, were prosecuted by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) for supplying unlicensed security services.

Zac Morgan, along with his company, pleaded guilty to supplying unlicensed security. Morgan was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,304.25 in prosecution costs. First Choice (Sussex) Security Ltd was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £1,304.25 in prosecution costs as well.

Howard Morrison was prosecuted for working as an unlicensed security operative. He was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £2,742.45 in prosecution costs for working illegally as a door supervisor and making a false statement. Morrison had his SIA license suspended on September 15, 2021, and it was revoked on May 23, 2022.

The prosecutions stemmed from the discovery that First Choice (Sussex) Security Ltd was supplying unlicensed security at Eastbourne Pier in August 2022. SIA Criminal Investigators confirmed that unlicensed security operatives were deployed to the tourist attraction by the licensed director, Zac Morgan.

Upon conducting compliance checks in Eastbourne on January 13, 2023, SIA investigators found an unlicensed security operative at a pub supplied by First Choice (Sussex) Security Ltd. The individual, identified as Howard Morrison, admitted to working without a license and under a pseudonym. Investigations revealed Morrison had worked under a false name at least 20 times. Dimitri Aitken from Lewes, also employed by First Choice (Sussex) Security, was found working illegally at another Eastbourne pub. He later pleaded guilty to working as an unlicensed door supervisor and was fined £120, ordered to pay prosecution costs of £500, and a victim surcharge of £48.

During interviews, Zac Morgan admitted negligence in his role as a company director, stating he relied on his staff to inform him of any changes regarding licenses. The court emphasized the seriousness of the offenses, highlighting public safety concerns. Morgan was cautioned to ensure proper licensing for his staff, with a warning of potential custody if similar incidents recurred. The Bench at Hastings Magistrates’ Court said at Zac Morgan’s prosecution, “We take these matters very seriously as the business was dealing with public safety. If people don’t have licences, they do not have a licence for a reason. Taken into account your early guilty plea and previous good character; use this sentence as a learning curve. You need to ensure that anyone you deploy has a valid licence and you need to check this. If this happens again then custody will be likely.”                                          

Jenny Hart, an SIA Criminal Investigations Manager, expressed concern over the impact of illegal activities on public safety and commended the support received from Sussex Police, Hastings, and Brighton Magistrates’ Courts during the prosecutions.

She is quoted as saying, “When a security company is engaged in illegal conduct it puts the private security industry and the SIA into disrepute. Morgan, as a director of a security business and a supplier of security has failed in his duties.

“Howard Morrison was previously convicted and had his licence revoked by the SIA and yet he still worked illegally putting the patrons of Eastbourne’s night time economy at risk by his actions. She added, “I pay tribute to our partners at Sussex Police and also Hastings and Brighton Magistrates’ Courts for their support with these prosecutions.”