HELLO everybody – welcome to the second instalment of the ‘Safety First’ column for The Northern Echo.

Each month, I give the inside track on what The Sparta Group – the North-East’s leading security company - is doing to keep businesses and householders safe.

Over the past 11 years, we’ve developed a respected track record, a lot of knowledge, and a growing customer base.

I hope you find these columns useful, and please don’t hesitate to get in touch if we can help with any of your security needs…


WHAT I love most about running Sparta is the variety of work that comes our way. You never know what the next assignment is going to be when the phone rings.

For example, we were recently called in by BT Sport to look after the security ahead of the unveiling of a stunning mural in Darlington, to honour the world’s first professional black footballer, Arthur Wharton.

BT Sport commissioned world-famous street artist Jay Kaes to paint the mural on the side of The Arthur Wharton Foundation building in Widdowfield Street, and it’s a wonderful tribute to a sporting hero.

The Northern Echo:

Special credit has to go to Shaun Campbell, who has dedicated his life to recognising the importance of Arthur, who played in goal for Darlington Football Club, and was also the fastest man on the planet.

Having been born in Ghana, Arthur came to Darlington as a 19-year-old and Shaun has fought tirelessly to make sure his story is an inspiration to future generations.

Our job was to make sure the site of the mural, and all of the expensive television equipment, was kept secure ahead of the unveiling.

Our employee, Tori Creighton (below with Shaun Campbell) looked after this particular contract and was bowled over by the occasion. She wrote this on social media: “I have loved every minute, and I’m so grateful to have been able to be behind the scenes of pure magic and history.”

Heritage is the bedrock of a community’s identity, and Sparta is proud to have played a small part in saluting Arthur Wharton.

The Northern Echo:

MEANWHILE, we are continuing to see increased demand for our services as a result of the pandemic.

With a second national lockdown being ordered by the Government, more businesses are being left exposed and, therefore, in need of expert help to protect their assets. That’s where we come in.

For example, we look after the UK security for Meridian holiday parks. These are hugely important sites, and they are safe in our hands.

We are also close to finalising the details of new deals to supply security services for two global companies operating out of Teesside. They need CCTV protection, round-the-clock guards, and dogs. We should be in a position to make a formal announcement about the go-ahead in next month’s column.

AS a direct result of the upturn in demand for our services, I’m delighted to announce that we will recruiting new taskforce officers.

We have five teams across the North-East and we’ll be needing an extra officer for each of them. We especially want to hear from ex-forces personnel, and anyone who has been part of the uniformed services. Please get in touch if you think you have what it takes.


STICKING with the subject of security cameras, we strongly advise businesses and householders to invest in the latest technology on the market.

For example, we supply AcuSense technology that provides laser sensors that use highly advanced algorithms to distinguish between people and vehicles from other moving objects.

The sensor can tell a human trespasser from a fox or a cat, and sound the alert direct to you mobile phone. You can then check what’s happening, or call us in to prevent a crime.

Looking to the future, Sparta is looking to invest in further in this type of technology.

CCTV plays a crucial part in our business and we are planning to go into partnership with a manufacturer to produce our own Sparta-branded cameras, tailor-made for individual businesses. It’s an exciting development so watch this space.

BY the way, did you see that story from Germany recently, where a robotic lawnmower prevented a burglary?

These smart lawnmowers can transmit messages to their owners’ telephones, and this one sent a text saying it had been turned upside down. It enabled the owner to run outside and prevent the lawnmower being stolen.

Now that’s what I call being grassed up!


AS I explained in the last column, my wife, Rachel, and I are devoted animal lovers.

One of our favourite clients is The Dogs Trust, at Sadberge, just outside of Darlington.

I went up there to check things out with one of our guards recently and I couldn’t help myself – I came home with an adorable German Shepherd puppy we’ve called Sweetheart.

We already have more than 30 guard dogs in the business and Sweetheart is now being trained up as the latest Sparta recruit.

IT’S not just dogs I come home with…I was playing golf at Close House, near Newcastle, the other day when I noticed a pigeon cowering under a bush behind the tee on a par three.

It didn’t look well at all, so I drove back after my round to see if it was OK. The poor thing was still shaking so I put it on the passenger seat of the company Bentley and took it home in style for some tender loving care.

We’ve named it Percy and he’s the nearest thing to a birdie I’ve had for months.


WE all appreciate that these are difficult times for everyone but, as a committed Christian, I passionately believe that God is always with us.

Each month, I end this column with a fitting extract from The Bible. The choice for this month is from Isiah 41:10 and I think is it particularly appropriate in the light of the continuing pandemic:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Stay safe everyone.