The Mayfair Brothel
Although traditionally not thought of as part of the property litigation solicitors’ toolbox, at Expert Investigations Group we are regularly instructed by property litigation solicitors that require proactive evidence to be gathered.
Clearly the benefit can be seen for process serving, for locate trace reports and asset reports but what about aspects of surveillance, test purchases and covert background enquiries?
What about your clients’ property that is being used as a brothel?
What about your clients’ property that has squatters in it and you need to know how many?
What about the protest group that is blockading your client’s development, or besetting their workplace?
What about the drug den in your clients’ property?
These are all enquiries which we’ve undertaken in the last 12 months where we have used surveillance, observations or test purchases to gather evidence, in order assist you in dealing with the issue for your client.
At the risk of being salacious, we were asked to investigate a high-value London residency where we were told it was being used as a brothel. Being former police detectives we understand the law and the relevant offences constituting running a property as a brothel. You will understand that your client needs to have primary evidence: evidence that cannot be refuted to prove the commission of the offence.
This is the case of operation Mayfair, a £5 million property divided into flats with one female using the premises for the purpose of prostitution. A simple, cost-effective investigation identified information on the Internet, but that information did not confirm sexual activity was taking place at the premises.
A recorded pre-text call was made for an appointment, explicit sexual conversations took place between our officer and the female on the phone. The appointment was made, at which point the officer was only given the name of the road to attend and then make a further call for the property address. The officer had requested specific garments to be worn which would only be worn for such sexual activity.
The officer attended the street at the given time, phoned the number and was given the full address including the flat number of the premises. Using two covert cameras the officer rang went to the address given.
The door was answered by a mid-20s female, wearing the central garments as requested and our officer engaged the female in conversation, once again confirming costs for services and details. Whilst this may appear initially to be unnecessary, this information in conversation is vital for proving the commission of the offence and the fact that the premises were being used for the purpose of prostitution.
Under a prearranged pretext, the officer left the premises having covertly recorded all of the information.
Later that afternoon the report and supporting video evidence was sent to the property litigation solicitor, who then had all of the evidence he needed to advise his client and evict the female renting the premises.
Allegations of Bullying
Often there is the need for an impartial investigation to be conducted especially whenever complaints of harassment and discrimination are made within the workplace.
A particular section of the public’s sector utilises services of Expert Investigations to conduct interviews and investigations where such allegations have been made in order to give a total element of impartiality.
One such complaint from a public-sector service in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, involved an allegation of bullying by a senior member of a team. As a result of which interviews were conducted with all relevant parties, other supporting witnesses were identified and other means of securing and preserving evidence such as computer data files and written document records were identified and used in the investigation.
All of this was put together in one simple easy to understand file for the HR department to progress and deal with the issue and allegation of harassment internally.
Christmas Party Harassment
In another case, following a Christmas festive party, our clients based in Worcester were aware that a potential indecent assault had been made on a female employee and two male employees had been fighting and one assaulted another as a result of the allegation of indecent assault.
Whilst many people had been present at the event, large amounts of alcohol consumed by many attendees and there were conflicting accounts of what had occurred, the clients decided there was a requirement to conduct a proper professional investigation in an impartial manner and therefore instructed the services of Expert Investigations.
Interview teams (that being two former Police Detectives from Expert Investigations liaised with the client and conducted detailed interviews with all relevant parties both witnesses and suspects. The location of the alleged assaults was visited and further supporting evidence such as CCTV footage was gathered. This allowed a full report to be put together confirming and disproving the relevant allegations and this information was handed to the HR department who then progressed to the disciplinary stage to deal with all parties concerned. In consultation with the victims they themselves decided to make no formal complaint to the Police.
Regardless of how you choose to proceed, we can provide a full range of ways to assist you and gather the evidence that you need to make the best possible decision going forward. That’s why we’re the experts.
In one recent case, a large manufacturing client based in Derbyshire was having criminal damage caused on a production track, causing the closure of the track and the workforce being unused. In addition, the companies’ service levels were not being met due to the breakdown in the track.
An undercover officer was inserted via a recruitment agency and worked along the shift upon which the track was being damaged by the subversive individual.
During the weeks that the officer was working on the production line, he was able to identify the militants who were causing the damage, as well as other unacceptable issues, such as selling controlled illegal drugs, selling stolen goods and pornography. The evidence was produced for the in-house legal team and the officer was extracted under a very feasible cover story leaving the evidential trail complete for investigation.