Dudley night club managers and staff prosecuted for fraud and illegal security

On Friday 9 September, a Dudley man and a woman were prosecuted for offences under the Private Security Industry Act at Dudley Magistrates’ Court.

Both previously pleaded not guilty to working as unlicensed managers supplying security at Monty’s Bar in Dudley on 12 November 2021.

Emma Spittle of Sedgley – one of the managers of Monty’s Bar – was fined £228, required to pay costs of £416 and a victim surcharge of £34. Ms Spittle was responsible for deploying security at the venue and was therefore required by law to hold an SIA (Security Industry Authority) licence.

Another manager of Monty’s Bar, Jason Cooper from Dudley, was also fined £290 and required to pay court costs of £416 and a victim surcharge of £34. Mr Cooper was responsible for completing the checks on the security staff. Despite having this responsibility, he did not hold an SIA licence himself.

Both Ms Spittle and Mr Cooper previously pleaded not guilty to the court as they claimed that they were led to believe that they were licensed by Dean McKibben, one of the workers at the venue.

McKibben himself pleaded guilty to fraud and working illegally at Monty’s Bar and café on Wednesday 22 June 2022 at Dudley Magistrates’ Court.

The court handed Mr McKibben an 18-month community order comprising 240-hours of unpaid work. If McKibben fails to comply with this sentence, he will be jailed. He was required to pay £462 court costs and a victim surcharge of £95 within 28 days.

The case followed a routine inspection by SIA investigators and West Midlands Police licensing officers of the venue on 12 November 2021. SIA investigators identified that the security at the venue were employed in-house.

The SIA investigator realised that Dean McKibben was working that night but was not listed on the sign-in sheet. He was wearing an SIA licence with the expiry date scratched out. In fact, it had expired on 22 January 2021. McKibben had showed the managers of Monty’s Bar a fake SIA letter that stated he was licensed until 21 January 2022.

Mr McKibben had also worked at the venue on 10 previous occasions between 8 October and 6 November 2021. On each occasion there were notes in the sign-in book entry stating falsely that he was waiting for a new SIA licence.

On the same night another man was working as a security operative but was not wearing an SIA licence. He left the venue, ostensibly to collect his licence and failed to return. Persistent approaches by the SIA investigator revealed that a licence number had been entered into the sign-in book under the man’s name, but the licence belonged to another person who lived 120 miles away.

SIA investigators found that the man had never held an SIA licence. He had also previously worked at the venue on 10 previous occasions. CCTV footage confirmed that the image on the corresponding licence card didn’t match the man seen by SIA investigators. He failed to attend Dudley Magistrates’ Court on 22 June 2022 and now there is a warrant out for his arrest.

Nicola Bolton, one of the SIA’s Criminal Investigations Manager, said:

Ms Spittle and Mr Cooper have now pleaded guilty to working as unlicensed managers. Mr McKibben pleaded guilty to fraud and to working illegally without a valid SIA licence. Mr McKibben was handed a substantial court order and required to pay court costs and a victim surcharge. They all now have a criminal record.

One of the main factors of the case is that Mr McKibben had been a licence holder previously. He was aware of the regulatory regime, the SIA, the licence-linked training, the various vetting procedures, and the overall need to have a licence, yet he chose to circumvent it. Mr McKibben lied to SIA Investigators and his place of work to distract them from the truth. He then continued to work on 10 occasions. It is the public that are the victims in this case. The purpose of the licensing regime is to keep people safe and protect them on nights out. The defendants’ actions put their customers at risk.