On 26 October, at Leamington Spa Magistrates Court, Karl Alexander Morrison, now known as Karl O Brien, was found guilty of working without an SIA licence. Morrison was found working without an SIA licence at an illegal traveller s encampment in Coventry, by our investigators, following intelligence received from Warwickshire Police in April 2017. From a subsequent investigation, it was discovered that Nottinghamshire Police were also gathering evidence of Morrison working without a licence, at a pub in Sutton in Ashfield.
Morrison was sentenced to 8 weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of 500 and a victim surcharge of 115 (to be paid within a fortnight). Pete Easterbrook, our Criminal Investigations Manager said:
As the SIA investigated Morrison, our Investigators found him to be a volatile and aggressive individual. I am of the opinion that had he continued to work in a security related role, it is likely that the public would have been exposed to considerable risk. I am pleased that this risk has now been addressed, and I would like to thank both Nottinghamshire Police and the witnesses in this case for supporting the SIA to secure this conviction.”
This began in April 2017 when Warwickshire Police alerted our West Investigations Team that Morrison was unlicensed, an offence under the PSIA (2001).
Our investigators looked up his licensing history and found that he had a pending application to work in the close protection sector under the name Karl O Brien. He had also asked for an overseas criminality check exemption claiming he lived abroad from 2011-2016. To receive an overseas criminality check exemption, you need to send us a character reference and a signed and sworn oath from an EU registered solicitor to prove there are no criminal convictions for the relevant period. However, when we contacted the Prison Service, they confirmed he had been in prison at various times and resident in the UK during those years. We suspected that Morrison had applied under a different name because his previous offending would have meant he would not be granted an SIA licence.
Morrison failed to send us a character reference or sworn oath and no further action was made to his application. In May 2017, we began the process to prosecute Morrison
Pete Easterbrook, our Criminal Investigations Manager also added:
I share the concern expressed by the court that someone with Karl Morrison s offending history was found working in the security industry. I am satisfied that the sentence imposed in this case reflects the seriousness of the offences he committed. This case serves to highlight that there that there is no place whatsoever within the security industry for those who deliberately undermine the safeguards that regulation provides – those who do can expect to be dealt with robustly.
- The Security Industry Authority is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the United Kingdom, reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. The SIA’s main duties are: the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities; and managing the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme.
- For further information about the Security Industry Authority or to sign up for email updates visit www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk.
Heathrow chiefs are reeling after a memory stick crammed with confidential information was found in the street posing a risk to national security . Britain s biggest airport1 launched a very, very urgent investigation after the Sunday Mirror alerted them to the frightening security lapse. The USB stick containing 76 folders with maps, videos and documents was not encrypted and did not require a password.
The man who found it plugged it into a library computer and was alarmed at what he saw . It revealed:
- The exact route the Queen2 takes when using the airport and security measures used to protect her.
- Files disclosing every type of ID needed even those used by covert cops 3 to access restricted areas.
- A timetable of patrols that was used to guard the site against suicide bombers and terror attacks4.
- Maps pinpointing CCTV cameras and a network of tunnels and escape shafts linked to the Heathrow Express.
- Routes and safeguards for Cabinet ministers and foreign dignitaries.
- Details of the ultrasound radar system used to scan runways and the perimeter fence.
The scare comes just weeks after Britain s terror threat stood at critical following the Parsons Green Tube bomb bid . It is still at severe.
The files revealed the exact route the Queen takes (Image: Getty)
The USB stick was found by a member of the public and handed to the Sunday Mirror. A security source said: In the wrong hands this would represent a profound threat in terms of terrorism or espionage.
“Aviation security is under the microscope because of the desire by terrorists to bring planes down in a spectacular fashion . Security services would not want this leaked or sold to hostile parties.
Met Police detectives were liaising with airport chiefs to work out how the USB drive, with a massive 2.5GB of data, ended up in the street.
The USB stick was found by a member of the public (stock image)
Airport insiders revealed they were trying to determine if there had been an incompetent data breach or if someone had been accessing files intentionally. Police fear it may have been copied and circulated on the dark web where terrorists and criminals buy information. The level of detail could have taken years to compile and involve a number of different systems.
A police source said: The fear is that this information could have been downloaded and disseminated God knows where.
There are fears the information could have been downloaded (Image: Getty)
“The worry is it ends up on the dark web and used by bad guys to pick holes in airport security. A former counter-terrorism chief who specialises in airport security told the Sunday Mirror: There are serious questions to be answered.
Why was this sensitive material held on an unencrypted memory stick and taken off site ? It s a huge security breach and massively embarrassing for those in charge of security.
“Knowing certain aspects of this information may make it easier for potential attackers to avoid detection.
And the cumulative impact of having so many documents, videos, maps and images all in one place represents a security risk.
A terror expert says there are serious implications (Image: Getty)
The Sunday Mirror was contacted by an unemployed man who found the stick while on his way to the library to search the internet for work. He spotted the memory stick among leaves on the pavement in Ilbert Street, in Queen s Park, West London.
He said: I was curious about what it contained so a few days later, when I went back to the library, I plugged it into the computer . All these files were there . I couldn t believe it. There were at least 174 documents . Some were marked as confidential or restricted but could still be read.
Maps laid bare details of the airport s Royal Suite, used by the Queen, Cabinet members and foreign dignitaries.
The USB stick contained maps of Heathrow (Image: Getty)
And there were photos of X-ray machines and scanning equipment used by Her Majesty. The Royal Suite which costs 2,800 to hire for a single flight is hidden from view in Terminal 5 and guests are driven directly to it. But the memory stick holds images of the route leading up to the suite and satellite images with the location of nearby checkpoints.
Details of screening processes in Windsor Suite used by stars including singer Cheryl Tweedy were also revealed. Other files listed those exempt from screening , details of drivers ferrying VIP guests to the suite and radio codes in the case of an aircraft hijacking .
There were photos of X-ray machines used by the Queen (Image: Getty)
Other maps showed where maintenance tunnels and escape shafts link the airport to the Heathrow Express train line. Satellite images and operating manuals for the Doppler radar surveillance system were also stored.
An expert who helped us examine the memory stick said the information may help facilitate an attack if it fell in the wrong hands. He said: Knowing this information would cut down on surveillance and could potentially make access easier.
Security chiefs will be working hard to ensure there is no physical threat as a result of this breach and changing processes if necessary.
One document highlighted the stabbing at Leytonstone Tube station (Image: Terence Marsden)
“It is not helpful certainly not best practice to have maps and drawings of one of the UK s biggest airports left in the street.
It is serving up intelligence on a plate to people . It s hugely embarrassing and should not have happened.
“In the wrong hands it could potentially be very helpful and would save them a lot of time in planning an attack. The Sunday Mirror has passed the file to Heathrow intelligence chiefs .
The man who found it has been interviewed by airport security chiefs. Insiders admitted it sparked a very, very urgent probe and that it posed a risk to national security .
The Tunisia beach massacre was also referenced (Image: Daily Mirror)
One document highlighted recent terror attacks to illustrate the type of threat Heathrow could face. It referenced the Leytonstone Tube stabbing in 2015, the Tunisia beach massacre which claimed the lives of 30 British tourists the same year and the 2016 bombing in Istanbul s Atat rk international airport.
And the memory stick was found just days after US intelligence warned Islamic State jihadists and al-Qaeda are planning more mass-casualty attacks on the scale of the 9/11 hijackings. Last year terrorists threatened to bring down a US-bound plane flying out of Heathrow during Independence Day celebrations. Meanwhile, US court papers last year revealed an al-Qaeda leader personally trained a former McDonald s worker in bomb-making techniques to carry out a suicide attack in the arrivals hall at Heathrow instructing him to target passengers from the US and Israel.
The attack at Atat rk airport was also mentioned (Image: Oriol Salvador/Flickr)
And earlier this month MI5 s Director General Andrew Parker said the current terrorism threat was the worst in his 34-year career. He described it as multidimensional, evolving rapidly and operating at a scale and pace we have not seen before . Keeping Heathrow safe with four passenger terminals and one for cargo is a mighty task . More than 80 airlines fly 75 million passengers a year to 185 destinations in 84 countries.
A spokesman for the airport said: Heathrow s top priority is the safety and security of our passengers and colleagues.
“The UK and Heathrow have some of the most robust aviation security measures in the world and we remain vigilant to evolving threats by updating our procedures on a daily basis.
We have reviewed all of our security plans and are confident that Heathrow remains secure.
Andrew Parker says the terror threat is the worst it’s been in his 34 year career (Image: PA)
We have also launched an internal investigation to understand how this happened and are taking steps to prevent a similar occurrence in future.”
An alarming breach that could hurt the UK
By Chris Hughes, Defence editor
The implications for a trove of information on airport security falling into the wrong hands are extremely serious and terrifying. Islamic State is known to be pursuing a spectacular to match the 9/11 attacks. Codes, maps, routes used by royals and emergency procedures would be of huge, perhaps inestimable, value to a terror cell.
Crucially, investigators will want to know how and why someone was able to get the information on to a USB stick . And worse, get it out of their workplace then apparently lose it. It is deeply alarming . That it should happen at a time of such a heightened terror threat may show security procedures and controls are not as nailed down as we had all hoped.
But there is another profoundly alarming aspect to this . Repeated attempts to disrupt Britain s infrastructure have been made in recent years by North Korea, among others. This sort of information could be of great value to a hostile foreign intelligence agency .
It could be used to merely expose weaknesses, costing Britain a fortune to resolve.
Or for a more sinister result if open hostility grew towards the UK.
A shoplifter who chased after a supermarket security guard with a knife when he was caught stealing booze has been locked-up. John Spedding was spotted pocketing a bottle of sambuca from Asda, in Hebburn1, and was followed out of the store by the guard. But when he was confronted outside and asked for the alcohol back, the 22-year-old pulled out a Stanley knife and chased the security guard down nearby Aln Street.
The terrified worker told police his life flashed before his eyes as he feared he would be stabbed if he was caught.
Newcastle Crown Court2 heard Spedding came to within a metre of the guard before stopping his pursuit after he was distracted by someone he knew. The police were called and Spedding was aggressive and violent with officers before biting one of them on the leg, prosecutors said. Now, the thief, of Bishop Crescent, Jarrow, has been jailed for 18 months after he admitted threatening a person with a bladed article, theft and assaulting a police officer.
Paul Rowland, prosecuting, said Spedding was spotted picking-up the sambuca and leaving the Asda store on the afternoon of September 5 this year. The guard followed him outside and asked for the alcohol back when he discovered him hiding behind a vehicle in the car park. Mr Rowland said: At that point, the defendant placed the bottle on the ground and removed a craft or Stanley knife from his left pocket and the blade was showing and he said f****** come one then .
The security guard was terrified . He simply said to the defendant Keep it, keep it , referring to the alcohol . But, the defendant began to advance towards him .
At that point, the security guard began to run away.
He ran along Aln street to try and get away from the defendant . He did turn around at one point and saw the defendant still chasing him with the knife in his hand about 1m from him.
The court was told Spedding was then distracted by someone he knew and stopped the chase, allowing the security guard to run back to the store and alert the police. But, officers were already on their way to the scene after being called by a concerned member of public and Spedding was arrested in a nearby park, where he d tried to dump the knife and booze.
Mr Rowland said Spedding then lashed out while being restrained and bit a police officer s leg when he was taken to a cell at the police station. Locking him up, Judge Amanda Rippon said: You were drunk at the time you committed this offence and you not only produced a knife but you chased your victim, who was doing no more than his duty as a security guard, down a public street, in full view of members of the public.
In a victim statement he said this left him shaken up, his life flashed before his eyes and he genuinely believed, not surprisingly, if you caught him, and you got within a meter of him, that you would have stabbed him. Vic Laffey, mitigating, said Spedding was drunk at the time and was now remorseful.
He added; He does not recall an awful lot about the incident because of the alcohol situation .
He has expressed a desire to apologise to those he has caused distress to as a result of the incident.