HAPPY New Year everyone and welcome to the fourth instalment of my monthly column for The Northern Echo.

There’s no hiding from the fact that it’s been a difficult start to 2021 for everyone, and I know how tough many people are finding it to be back in lockdown – especially those who are on their own.

But we must not lose sight of the fact that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, now that the vaccines are being rolled out. By Spring, I’m sure the outlook will be very different.

As you may know, I was a professional boxer before launching Sparta, and those of us involved in the sport know the importance of the final couple of rounds of a fight. They are known as the “championship rounds” – you’ve come through the rest of the fight, and it’s a matter of biting down on your gumshield, drawing on all your strength, and seeing it through to the end.

These are the championship rounds of the pandemic. We’ve come this far, and we’re nearly there so, please hang in there and stay strong. The sun will soon be shining.


I’M delighted to report that we’ve had a couple of high-profile successes in thwarting criminal behaviour lately.

One of our clients is Acorn Dairies and, while our task force was patrolling the vicinity, they came across suspicious activity. They noticed power tools and lead piping on the floor of a nearby construction site at Faverdale. They alerted the police, and the perpetrators were caught.

Meanwhile, our security cameras picked up an intruder alert on an industrial site on Teesside. The control room called in task force officers with a dog, the police were informed, and another arrest was made.

Both incidents underline the value of having security in place to nip problems in the bud.

WE are also pleased to be going into 2021 with some important new clients in Newton Aycliffe.

Aycliffe Business Park, pictured below, is already on an important location for Sparta, and we are now also looking after the security for Finley Structures, Raisco, ROF 59, and The Blitz Restaurant.

The lockdown creates additional challenges for businesses, and we welcome the opportunity to provide extra protection.

The Northern Echo:

OUR work is really varied, and we were also called in on a close protection job in London recently.

We can’t identify the client but suffice to say it was a high-powered politician, and a team of Sparta operatives were sent to the capital to successfully provide VIP protection.

FURTHER to my December column, we are progressing with our plans to launch a new arm of the business – Sparta Rural Surveillance – to crack down on countryside crime.

The aim is to support the police by providing additional eyes and ears in rural areas, and we want to manage the scheme in partnership with local communities. One of the first areas to be targeted will be Teesdale, where we are seeking to place five officers, each working 16-hour weekly shifts – equating to 320 hours of surveillance each month. To cover the costs, Sparta hopes to generate £5,000 shared between more than 200 farms in that area – that’s only £25 a month per farm.

You can read more about this important initiative in the forthcoming January edition of Business IQ magazine, as well as in a double-page spread in The Northern Echo.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear from seasoned ex-police officers, with experience of countryside beats, who are interested in joining Sparta Rural Surveillance on a part-time basis.

Please get in touch via www.spartasecurityuk.co.uk


PET owners need to be on their guard because dog thefts are rife in the Darlington area at the moment.

This is big business, with Labradors, spaniels, and dachshunds appearing to be a particularly popular target, so please take extra care. Don’t leave dogs in gardens where they can fall prey to this type of criminal.

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THERE are also some nasty telephone scams going on at the moment.

People are getting calls from fraudsters pretending to be representing the likes of Amazon, PayPal, and Apple.

The aim is to con you into giving away your bank details, and they can appear to be very credible.

We are aware of one woman in the Darlington area who lost £1,500, with 30 transactions being made on her account after she was tricked. Thankfully, she got the money back through her bank, but it’s definitely something to be aware of.

These people are leeches, and they are out to bleed you dry.

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Each month, I end this column with a fitting extract from The Bible. The choice for this month is from Ephisians 6: 7-8: Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.

God has given us all individual talents, and by using them to the best of our ability, we are doing his work and making the world a better place. It is particularly important that we bring our talents to bear, and work together, as we face these difficult times.

Stay safe everyone, lots of love,