United Kingdom Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from the black market in the United Kingdom. Security data and threat information collected from government agencies, news articles and other public information sources.

There were 631,391 incidents of retail theft in Britain between 2012 to 2013, according to the British Retail Consortium. Out of those incidents, 9 percent of theft incidents were reported to the police by retail shops.

Organized crime groups involved in the theft were targeting higher end items, such as electrical goods, designer clothes and handbags, and power tools to be sold on the black market. These types of expensive items caused the average loss of a shoplifting incident to rise to $290 (£177), a rise of two thirds from the previous year.

The total loss from shoplifting in Britain was $839 Million (£511 Million), an increase of 166 percent from 2007-2008.

(All threats and crimes in the United Kingdom.)

Source:  Rebecca Younger, “Shoplifting at nine-year high – yet retailers fail to report 90% of thefts to police,” Mirror, January 20, 2014.

An immigrant living in the United Kingdom illegally for 5 years reportedly paid $1,642 (£1,000) for a blank passport on the black market.

The passport was available due to theft in 2089 where 3,650 blank passports and 8,100 blank visas were stolen from a delivery van. Most of the blank passports and visas have been recovered by security officers. The theft was later found to have been an insider job.

(More fake ids on the black market information.)

Source:  “Illegal immigrant stayed in Britain for five years using blank passport he bought on the UK black market for £1,000 which had been stolen with 3,600 others in £2.5m raid,” Daily Mail, January 17, 2014.

The BBC reported on the male prostitution industry in London. When interviewing roughly 50 male escorts, 38 said that would not have unprotected sex with a client, while the remaining 12 stated that they would. The men who stated that they would provide sex without a condom stated that the price charged is generally between $164 to $410 (£100 to £250) on top of the normal service rate.

Another male prostitute interviewed by the BBC stated that he generally charges $229 (£140) per hour.

The most that one prostitute reported earning in a month was as high as $49,000 (£30,000), according to statements he made to the media.

(More earnings from under the table jobs.)

Source:  Mobeen Azhar, “The escorts who want to rebrand male prostitution as a business,” BBC News, January 4, 2014.

All threats and security risks in the United Kingdom.

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In 2012, there were 3 babies being born each day in England that were addicted to cocaine, heroin and other types of drugs.

1,129 babies were born with “neonatal withdrawal symptoms”, according to the National Health Service. The number of babies born addicted to drugs was 11 percent higher than the number born in 2008.

The babies are addicted to the drugs due to the mother abusing the drugs while pregnant. Within the first few hours of being born, the babies face withdrawal symptoms from the drugs, such as vomiting and diarrhea. The babies must be placed immediately in drug treatment programs.

Source:  Andrew Gregory, “Rise in babies born addicted to heroin and crack cocaine as numbers hit three a day,” Mirror, December 24, 2013.

(More United Kingdom security threats.)

In the English city of Sheffield, security officers and public health programs are seeing an increase in illegal bottles of counterfeit alcohol.

In the 2011 to 2012 fiscal year, officials in the city seized 554 bottles of counterfeit alcohol. In the 2012-2013 fiscal year, the number of fake bottles seized increased to 1,470. Halfway through the 2013-2014 fiscal year, authorities have already seized 2,370 bottles of counterfeit alcohol.

Most of the fake alcohol bottles are marketed as Vodka. After studying the bottles, Trading Standards officials have determined that most of the alcohol that is used in the fake bottles are either cleaning fluids or antifreeze. With the other chemicals, the fake bottles of vodka end up being made of 57 percent alcohol.

Sheffield is not the only city in the United Kingdom facing threats from counterfeit alcohol. In Scotland, security services with HMRC seized 13,000 liters of counterfeit vodka in September 2013 alone.

Security experts state that price is a main cause for the counterfeits. For a single 70cl bottle of vodka, the duty and VAT is $14.52 (£8.89).

Source:  Brian Milligan, “Fake vodka ‘can kill you’ warning to Christmas shoppers,” BBC News, December 20, 2013.

In 2012, about 69,000 sheep were stolen from farms in Britain.

In 2010 and 2011, the costs to British farmers from animal theft increased by 170 percent, according to an insurance company.

Between the three years, a total of $676,000 worth of livestock have been stolen from farms.

The animals are stolen from farmland and then quickly slaughtered, where the meat is then sold on the black market. According to market researchers, the price of lamb have been rising in the past several years, thus creating a profitable crime for thieves. In 2009, a kilogram of lamb sold for $11.05 (£6.77). By 2013, the price has risen to $12.82 (£7.86).

Source:  “Rural thefts: On the lamb,” Economist, December 7, 2013.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in the United Kingdom stated that over $482 Million (£300 Million) in artwork and antiques were being stolen across the country each year by organized crime groups.

The organization states that the costs of the stolen art is more costly than the theft of stolen cars vehicles.

Between 1991 and 2013, nearly 60,000 stolen art pieces, antiques or collectables have been registered as stolen, missing, or looted in the United Kingdom.

Source:  Emma Forde, “Criminal gangs targeting high-value works of art in UK,” BBC News, November 16, 2013.

Between April 2012 to April 2013, security services in the United Kingdom conducted over 675 seizures of wildlife items that were being trafficked into the country.

The following is a small sample of the contraband items that were seized:

  • 326 items made with ivory.
  • Rhino horn that was worth $1.6 Million (£1 Million).
  • 466 Hermann’s tortoises
  • 750 kilograms of coral form Vietnam
  • Monkey Skulls
  • A Rolls Royce upholstered with alligator skin.
  • 126,000 pots of a weight-loss pill and 15,120 pots of a sports supplement for using rare orchids as ingredients.

(More prices of animals sold on the black market.)

Source: Victoria Turk, “Bear Bile, Seahorses, and Tortoise Jelly: The UK Had a Record Year for Wildlife Busts,” Motherboard, November 16, 2013.

Drug dealers in Britain use electronic gambling machines across the nation to launder money that they earned through illegal drug sales.

According to a report in the Guardian, the dealers insert drug money into the fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) and then cash out to make it seem that drug money is gambling winnings.

(More illegal gambling statistics.)

The dealers are aware that gamble at least 40 percent of the money wagered in order to avoid being flagged for suspicious activities. One dealer stated that he simply puts £20 on black £20 on red, and £2 on 0, and plays until he passes the 40 percent level.

By feeding the terminals with drug money and then cashing out, the drug dealers are able to have a receipt that shows how much money was cashed out Thus, if they are ever stopped by police, the drug dealers can point to the receipt to show why they are holding so much cash.

There are 33,345 fixed-0dds betting terminals across the United Kingdom. Each one is able to process a £100 bet every 20 seconds. One machine can gross about £900 a week.

(What is money laundering? Find more examples here.)

Source:  Randeep Ramesh, “The gambling machines helping drug dealers ‘turn dirty money clean’,” Guardian, November 8 2013

According to a survey of game developers in the United Kingdom, 57 percent of developers stated that piracy is a problem for their business.

10 percent of the developers stated that stricter enforcement against piracy was the best option in dealing with the problem, while 87 percent stated that creating new business models was the best option.

67 percent of developers stated that pirating activities is much more active on Android platforms versus the iPhone. In an example, one game developers found that the game was being pirated 10 times for each copy that was being sold in the Google Play store.

Source:  Stuart Dredge, “Games piracy: 57% of UK developers say it hurts, but only 10% want legal crackdown,” Guardian, October 28, 2013.