An unlicensed security guard was found guilty of working without an SIA licence during a hearing at Newcastle Magistrates Court on Monday, April 23. Sorin Popa, 32, was employed by Romaguard Security (UK) as a security guard but did not hold the necessary SIA licence to work legally, enquiries by the Security Industry Authority had found. When questioned by SIA investigators, Popa claimed that he was working as a cleaner and not in a security role.
Popa, whose last known address was Willow Avenue, Newcastle, failed to attend the hearing. In his absence, he was fined £250 for working without holding an SIA licence and £50 for making a false statement to the SIA, and was ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge.
His conviction concludes a wider SIA investigation. In February, Romaguard Security (UK) owner Gary Armstrong admitted working as an unlicensed director and illegally supplying Popa.
SIA Head of Investigation Nathan Salmon said after the court case: “I am pleased with the outcome of this investigation. Popa did not attempt to gain an SIA licence to enable him to work legally in the security industry. When deciding whether they need a licence, a person’s job title is not relevant, it is the duties they undertake in that role. The evidence in this investigation showed that Popa was undertaking security activities, which required him to be licensed. The SIA will continue to robustly pursue such cases where companies and individuals are found to be breaking the law.”
On 14 February 2012, Popa entered no plea at an earlier hearing, which sent the case to trial. On 28 February 2012, Popa did not attend court and a warrant was issued for his arrest. It was not possible to locate him prior to his trial and he was convicted in his absence. In an earlier SIA prosecution, Gary Armstrong, owner of Romaguard Security (UK), pleaded guilty to a string of security offences after an investigation into his business. He was ordered to pay £1,550 at a hearing in February 2012.