A FORMER police officer is using his skills to help businesses to protect themselves against industrial espionage.

Espion TSCM, based in Stockton, has been launched by John Mason, who spent more than 30 years in the military and police service, including in covert operations.

The company specialises in electronic sweeping, also known as debugging, to combat industrial and commercial espionage and to protect individuals against breaches of privacy.

Mr Mason said: “It is surprising how many people underestimate the threat posed by electronic eavesdropping devices.

“With more than 200,000 surveillance devices sold each year in the UK, it is a very real threat.

“Many individuals and organisations will be targeted and will have their private information stolen and disseminated.

This will have a detrimental effect on their lives and businesses.”