By Colin Young
The owner of the security Task Force guarding Newton Aycliffe has reassured the town’s businesses they are in safe hands during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Sparta Security are providing patrols and hi-tech surveillance on Aycliffe Business Park where they have recently moved their own business.
With businesses and their employees across the country now working from home under Government measures because of the coronavirus pandemic, the majority of properties in the area have been deserted.
Sparta chairman Francis Jones (pictured above, second left) says areas his company covers across the North East have become ‘ghost towns’ but the challenge to keep criminals away from commercial properties and warehouses remains.
And no firm is more vigilant and on hand than Sparta, according to Francis, who has more than 25 years of security experience.
He said: “We are in unprecedented times and there is a great deal of uncertainty and worry and there is a distinct possibility we could see an increase in crime or criminal activity.
“A burglar’s job is to burgle and if an area looks like a ghost town, they will try and exploit that. But the one thing they don’t want to see is our units because they know once Sparta is out there, we are the eyes and ears of the estate, the authorities and the police.
“We will help where we can to make sure the area remains safe. We have a duty of care to protect all the businesses on the estate and across the region and that is what we will do.
“Sparta is my business and it is my baby. There are a lot of other babies out here and I feel for them. Business people will feel like they have abandoned their babies but I want them to know we are here to look after them in their absence.
“Unfortunately I have a job to do and there will be a demand for extra security but I have to do what I can so we are reducing prices and always finding ways to help out, and also employ more local staff who have been made redundant because of this pandemic.”
Francis set up Sparta in Darlington more than 10 years ago and the company has extended across the North-East with offices in Teesside, Darlington and its main HQ in Newton Aycliffe
The Sparta Task Force is made up of more than 20 guards offering covert surveillance for properties, and a number of businesses across the park have implemented its bespoke services.
The presence is 24/7, and the white trucks and SIA-certified security guards, largely made up of ex-military personnel, constantly patrol every street and corner of the area with the latest hi-tech equipment, CCTV and night and day patrols.
Francis added: “It is like a ghost town at the moment around Aycliffe and it is unreal.
“During the day there are labourers, workers, and just loads of people milling about so they are the eyes and ears until the night time. Now it feels like after dark all the time.
“I understand what is going on is depressing but business owners have to be positive.
“I still have to do my job and protect businesses and while there is fear and panic out there, Sparta is out there doing our work.
“Things will work out and this cloud will lift. There is always sunshine after rain and fear is always worse than the actual fight. We will get through this.”