Boardrooms and similar high-level working environments are increasingly being bugged as rival businesses and even staff look to gain an advantage through industrial espionage, a new security agency has warned.
Cardiff-based Alpha Risk Management, which has been formed by a group of former special forces soldiers, said the number of occasions when it had been called in to "sweep" offices and carry out similar counter-surveillance measures had risen dramatically in recent months.
The company, which provides a range of specialisms, including asset and people security, close protection, surveillance and judicial services, said it had even come across a case where a boardroom had been bugged by staff so that they could ensure that their unions were acting properly in their behalf during an industrial dispute.
Richard Jones, managing director of Alpha Risk Management, said the role of the security industry had widened considerably in the past few years.
"The security industry has developed as an answer to ever-more sophisticated criminal activity. This has come about partly through advanced technology, which has effectively delivered industrial espionage capability to the high street.
"This allows less scrupulous businesses and individuals to take advantage of that technology and have it planted on the premises of rival premises - by cleaners, for example. It is something that is concerning our clients more and more, and we find we are being increasingly called in to deploy counter surveillance measures and ensure that they don't fall victim to this growing problem."
Alpha Risk Management, whose clients include HSBC, MTV, S4C, Asda, Oasis, CNN, Fox News, the United States Department of Defense, NHS Trusts and motor sport organisations such as Rally GB and Silverstone, has also found itself becoming more involved in providing security for television companies, as well as events like outdoor music concerts.
"You won't find security agency staff wearing dayglo jackets - in fact, you probably won't find them at all," said Mr Jones.