THE police are warning design groups to invest in extra security measures after a series of burglaries on studios.
Design consultancies are a lucrative target for burglars as their powerful computer equipment is easy to trade on the black market, says a City of London police spokesman.
And offices which are tucked away in darkened corners of London’s Soho and Covent Garden areas appear to provide good cover for thieves, who often stage raids on a series of offices in one area on the same night.
Landsdown Conquest was one recent victim of a break-in: four top-of-the-range computers were stolen. The thieves managed to carry the enormous machines down from the third floor and out of the building, despite the presence of a security guard.
It cost it an estimated 15 000 and meant it had to hire replacement equipment. It has now invested in extra security.
Another design group in the Charlotte Street area was burgled on the same night. Staff at a third office, in the Covent Garden area, were forced to hand over their equipment earlier this summer after being approached by men carrying sawn-off shotguns.
Many consultancies are reluctant to talk or be identified in the fear that thieves will return, knowing they have now invested in new equipment.
Although little appears to deter the most determined burglars, recommendations include investing in security guards, alarm and video systems, and encasements or straps to make equipment immovable. Regular machine back ups are also advised in order to protect work done.
Gavin Mason, marketing manager of security specialist Secure PC, says design groups are often most at risk due to their creative tendencies. “Designers aren’t very good at this sort of thing,” he says.
“They are more interested in the aesthetics of the computer than the security. Bigger consultancies invest in security, but the state of some smaller groups is appalling.”