Unlicensed security company owner pleads guilty and claims that it was “just a hobby”.

Security_Industry_Authority_logoOn the 17th October 2019, James Barnett of Swindon, the director of Gold Shield Group ltd and its’ three subsidiaries, said that his security business was “just a hobby” as was investigated, and later convicted, for working without a license.

Barnett also pleaded guilty to failing to respond to information requests by the Security Industry Authority, despite the requests being legally enforceable.

Despite having his license suspended in March 2017, Mr. Barnett continued to accept security contracts and hired out security operatives.

His prosecution was brought about after the SIA’s West Regional team discovered that despite not having a license, he was still listed as the sole director of Gold Shield Security (Swindon) Ltd. Barnett was then interviewed by SIA investigators where he made the claim that the business was a hobby he ran from his spare bedroom. He further claimed that he was not actually the director and that he only did administration for them.

The SIA contacted a long term client of Gold Shield Security who stated that they had only ever dealt with Barnett and handed over emails and invoices to that effect.

“The business of providing protection for people and property is a very serious one.  In no way can something that is so important be described as a “hobby”. That importance is why there is a firm system of regulation in place for security businesses.  The SIA, as the regulator, take a very dim view of anyone who seeks to flout the law for their own profit.  Mr Barnett deceived the public, and his clients, by purporting to be a legally-operating security provider,” commented Nathan Salmon of the SIA Criminal investigation team.

Sentencing for James Barnett has been deferred while the SIA completes a financial investigation under the Proceeds of Crime act.