UK security firm boss jailed for extortion

The 20-stone female head of a security firm who threatened violence to win contracts was jailed for 15 months yesterday.

Two men from enforcer Marion Lang's firm told a site agent that his manager and his wife would "end up in hospital" if he didn't give a security contract to her firm.

Lang, of Castlemilk, Glasgow, tried to force businesses, including Hamilton Park Racecourse and house builders Persimmon and Bovis, to award security contracts to her firm.

At an earlier trial at Hamilton Sheriff Court, the 50-year-old was found guilty of three charges of extortion.

Site agent Terry Trowland told the court then that, in November 2004, at a building site in Bothwell, Lanarkshire, a woman approached him and said her name was Marion Lang, of Lochwood Security.

He saw her again that day as she put up signs for Lochwood Security on a fence at the site. Mr Trowland said: "I assumed she'd been given the OK. Then two days later two men came looking for Alan Simpson, who dealt with security.

"They asked me to give him a message. They said they were from Lochwood and this was their patch. They said that after the weekend they wouldn't be responsible for what happened to our machines.

"They said they would be the security on site and if Mr Simpson didn't adhere to that he would end up in hospital and so would his wife." Yesterday, Lang's lawyer David Brookens told the court his client had found it "difficult" to accept she was guilty of extortion.

He said: "She is a woman with significant family responsibilities who comes into this court in her later years. She has been declared bankrupt and has already spent three weeks in custody.

"Mrs Lang still works in the security industry and has done since 2002.

"She knows she has to be punished but I ask you to take into account the repercussions any punishment might have on her family." Sentencing, Sheriff Marie Smart said: "The part you played was significant. As an employee of the company you could have left at any time rather than play such a major part.

"Your course of conduct was to intimidate people running lawful businesses." Lang had worked with Hamilton-based Lochwood Security as a sales executive alongside Jason Dickson, who had previously been a director with JD Security before it went into liquidation in 2004.

In March 2005, Dickson was given 200 hours community service after admitting carrying a knife in a public place. He was arrested at a building site after police were told he was making a bid to take over the site's security.