Bogus data protection agencies:- ringleaders sentenced to prison
Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on 29 January 2007 reminding
businesses across the UK not to be misled by bogus agencies that
send notices demanding money to register under the Data Protection
Act 1998 (DPA).
The warning comes after Liverpool Crown Court sentenced four men to
prison for their involvement in
fake data protection agencies.
Francis Boyd pleaded
guilty to dishonestly obtaining £401,545 from businesses demanding a
payment to register under the Data Protection Act between 1 December
2002 and 2 April 2004.
Between 1 March 2004 and 17 March 2005,
Francis Boyd aged 51 from Guilstead Road, Norris Green, Liverpool,
Michael Boyd aged 24 from Ollerton Close, Grappenhall, Warrington,
Paul Barton aged 42 from Gambier Terrace, Liverpool and 27 year old
Mark Deary of Allerford Road, Liverpool where found to have worked
together obtaining £206,596 in a similar fashion.
Francis Boyd was sentenced to two and half years in prison, Michael
Boyd was sentenced to 8 months, Paul Barton 12 months and Mark Deary
Passing sentence, the judge said this was "a well planned and
sophisticated enterprise." It was a "scam cloaked with
the appearance of officialdom."
Philip Taylor, Solicitor at the Information Commissioner’s Office,
said:- “We are very pleased with this result. It sends out a
very clear signal that if you run a bogus data protection agency you
be investigated and prosecuted.
This conviction follows a successful multi-agency operation
involving Merseyside Police, Tameside Trading Standards and staff at
If a business receives a letter out of the blue demanding more than
£35 to register under the DPA this will be a scam. Our simple
message to businesses is to throw the letter in the bin and not to
pay the fee demanded."
For more information about the Information Commissioner’s Office
A FANTASTIC film made by Colin
McKeown and directed by Ian Hart is now available for schools to
buy. Plastered has been made as part of the It’s Not OK!
violence prevention and awareness programme in Liverpool and is now
on national release to schools. It tells the story of a teenage
drunken night out with tragic consequences.
A teachers’ pack has been specially designed to accompany the film
and it adheres to the National Curriculum’s Personal, Social and
Health Education scheme of work for secondary pupils. Please find
your complimentary teachers’ pack enclosed. If you would like any
more copies of the pack to give away as competition prizes, media
should please request them using the contact details below. The
price of each teachers’ pack is £50. Teachers who would like
to purchase the Plastered Teachers’ Pack should call 0151 233 4399
Liverpool City Council Leader, Cllr Warren Bradley, said:-
“This film has had such a profound effect on many pupils in
Liverpool, we want to spread that message of anti-violence
throughout the country. As the city builds up to European Capital of
Culture in 2008, this is our gesture to schools throughout the UK.”
Young people wrote the script for the film Plastered in workshops
with established writers. It was put into production with Colin
McKeown and Ian Hart (who played Professor Quirrel in Harry Potter
and the Philosopher’s Stone). The highly professional product was
premiered in Liverpool and the Teachers’ Pack, containing a DVD copy
of the movie, has been sent to every secondary school in Liverpool.
Good neighbours become good friends
homeowner attitudes towards their neighbours has been published by
the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) revealing that
nearly 90% of people believe they have a good relationship with
those living next door, despite reports of a breakdown in community
and increasing levels of antisocial behaviour. With the help
of an independent research company, the NAEA surveyed a nationally
representative sample of 1,243 adults across the UK. The research
covered subjects such as relationships between neighbours, how
people rate their home against their neighbours’ and the home
features they are most proud of.
Good neighbours dominate UK communities
The issue of nuisance neighbours was high on the agenda in 2006 as
the government launched its ‘Respect’ campaign, designed to
tackle the causes of antisocial behaviour, amid continued publicity
surrounding antisocial behaviour orders (ASBOs). Following the
release of a crime survey revealing that 1 in 6 people perceive a
high level of antisocial behaviour in their area, John Reid unveiled
new measures to tackle ‘neighbours from hell’. Meanwhile,
noisy neighbours were highlighted as a major issue when a survey
conducted for Noise Action Week reported half a million people had
been forced to move home in the previous 12 months due to noise.
With many of these stories seeming to spell doom and gloom for UK
communities, the latest NAEA research reveals the general picture to
be far more positive. 89% of the survey respondents stated that they
have a good relationship with their neighbours, with 39% of those
describing the relationship as ‘very good’. Only 5% said the
relationship with their neighbours was ‘not good’, while 6%
said they did not know their neighbours at all.
Northern neighbours are friendliest
The friendliest neighbours are found in the North East, according to
the survey, with 95% of respondents stating that they had a ‘quite
good’ or ‘very good’ relationship with their neighbour.
Historically, London has been deemed one of the least friendly areas
due to a high population turnover and large number of buy-to-let
properties, yet 83% of Londoners reported a good relationship with
their neighbours. Wales saw the largest fluctuation between
good and bad relations. 48% said they had a ‘very good’
relationship – the highest percentage recorded across all the
regions. However, it also had the highest number of un-friendly
neighbours with 11% stating that their relationship was ‘not good’.
A nation of proud homeowners
The survey also revealed the UK to be a nation of proud homeowners,
with 84% of respondents believing their home is of the same standard
or superior to their neighbours’. When asked which of their
neighbours home features they were most envious of, 55% of
respondents replied they were not envious of any at all.
Northern Irish homeowners proved to be the most house proud, with
29% believing their property to be superior to neighbouring homes.
Those living in the South East were 2nd in line with 25% believing
their home to be superior, while Londoners came 3rd with 23%
claiming to be particularly proud of their property.
Good neighbours make for strong security
Peter Bolton King, Chief Executive at the NAEA, comments:-
“It’s great to see that relationships between neighbours are so
strong across the UK. Society has changed drastically in recent
years: increased commuting, the growing trend towards second home
ownership and the rise of the single person household have all led
to more spending less time at home. This not only makes building
relationships with neighbours more difficult, but also increases
security risks. In these cases it is more important than ever to
know and to trust the people living in the local area. Getting a
neighbour to watch your house if you’re going away, for example, is
always a good idea. Having a good relationship with your
neighbours can be as simple as stopping to say ‘hello’ in the
morning to inviting them over for dinner. New Year is a particularly
good time to build relationships, so make a resolution to get to
know your neighbours better this year.”