Vericola

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This article is part of the Undercover Research Portal - a project of the Undercover Research Group in conjunction with SpinWatch.

--- Last updated September 2011 ---

Vericola, according its chief executive Rebecca Todd, is a "business risk management company" offering a "bespoke" service to clients "regarding potential threats" to their businesses. [1]

Energy giants hire private security firm to infiltrate campaigners

According to communications leaked to The Guardian,

the energy giant E.ON, Britain's second-biggest coal producer Scottish Resources Group and Scottish Power, one of the UK's largest electricity-generators, have been paying for the services of a private security firm that has been secretly monitoring activists.[1]
E.ON said it had hired Vericola and another security firm, Global Open, on an "ad hoc" basis as its executives wanted to know when environmentalists were going to demonstrate at or invade its power stations and other premises, as they had done in the past. The E.ON spokesman said it asked Vericola only for publicly available information and if Todd [Vericola's CEO] and her colleagues had obtained private information, they had done so "under their own steam". SRG and Scottish Power [also Vericola's clients] did not comment.[1]

Shortly before The Guardian released the story, Indymedia published a full account of the Vericola exposure. Indymedia published the full company details, the process by which activists gathered evidence about the infiltration and photos of Rebecca Todd. The groups which had been targeted were included, as were the email addresses she and her agents used so that campaigning groups can assess whether they had been infiltrated, and to what level.[2]

Vericola's CEO Rebecca Todd (far right holding placard) at an environmental protest

Vericola's chief exec's previous career with C2i

Rebecca Todd is a former employee of C2i International, a private security and intelligence gathering firm best known for its employment of Toby Kendall / Ken Tobias who attempted to infiltrate anti-aviation group Plane Stupid. She set up Vericola after leaving C2i according to Indymedia.[2]

A spring 2008 newsletter of the security professionals' association ASIS International (UK Chapter) lists Rebecca Todd of C2i International as a new member, along with Stephen Beels of C2i. Beels is a former Scotland Yard detective.[3]

Revolving door between undercover policing and the private spying business

A leaked email destined for Gordon Irving, revealed Vericola's information, according to The Guardian. Irving, security director of Scottish Power, joined the firm in 2001 after 30 years in Strathclyde Police where he was head of special branch. [4]

Privately, senior officers claim there are "without question" more corporate spies embedded in the protest movement than police officers. Among their number are former police officers cashing in on their surveillance skills for a host of companies that target protesters, relays the Guardian.[4] The same article goes on to relate

The company best-known for monitoring protest groups is Global Open, founded a decade ago by Rod Leeming, a former special branch officer who in the late 1990s ran the Animal Rights National Index (ARNI), a clandestine Metropolitan police unit monitoring activists.Global Open claims to have more than 90 clients and maintains "a discreet watch" on protest groups that could damage a firm's reputation. It is understood to have offered to employ several ex-police officers, including the undercover police officer Mark Kennedy, who said he was hired by Rod Leeming as a private investigator last year. Leeming previously claimed never to have met or employed Kennedy.[4]

See also: Powerbase's overview of the revolving door between the private security industry and the police.

Company details

VERICOLA LIMITED (Company No. 06555264)


Address: WOODLANDS BOURNE LANE
HAM STREET
 ASHFORD
 KENT
 TN26 2HH

Rebecca Todd lists on administrative restoration form:
 Mobile = (0)7944 896138
Status: Active 

Date of Incorporation: 04/04/2008 
Applied to be struck off register (presumably for not actively trading): 04/08/2009 
Company dissolved (after 3 months inactive): 17/11/2009 
:Administrative restoration (starts trading again): 06/01/2010
Company Type: Private Limited Company
 Nature of Business (SIC):
7460 – Investigation & security
7487 – Other business activities
Accounting Reference Date: 30/04
 Last Accounts Made Up To: 30/04/2009 (TOTAL EXEMPTION SMALL) 
Next :Accounts Due: 31/01/2011

Last Return Made Up To: 04/04/2009
 Next Return Due: 02/05/2010
Accountants (see separate wiki entry): 
HMN Accountants, Woodlands, Bourne Lane, Hamstreet, Ashford, Kent. TN26 2HH
 (Company no: 05629237)
Appointments Record lists Rebecca Louise Todd as Director, Ian David Howes is a secretary of Vericola. Rebecca Todd is sole shareholder.

The full documents of the company details can be accessed in the External Resources.

External Resources

Company Documents

  • Vericola Company Details 3 [1], 10/03/11, accessed 10/03/11
  • Vericola Company Details 2 [2], 10/03/11, accessed 10/03/11
  • Vericola Company Details 1 [3],10/03/11, accessed 10/03/11
  • Vericola Company Details 4 [4],10/03/11, accessed 10/03/11

Contact Vericola

Rebecca Todd
CEO
Vericola Ltd
07944896138
rt@vericola.com [2]

Investigation

To establish which groups were targeted and to what extent, Indymedia are compiling information on Vericola’s activities. Accounts of any contact, however brief, in person or email with Vericola’s employees can be sent to tactics@riseup.net[2]

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Rob Evans and Paul Lewis Revealed: how energy firms spy on environmental activists The Guardian,14/02/11, accessed 14/02/11
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Indymedia UK Spying company, Vericola Ltd, uncovered after incompetence,Indymedia website, 14/02/11, accessed 14/02/11 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Indymedia" defined multiple times with different content
  3. Scribd, ASIS Spring 2008 Newsletter - new members,p.10, accessed 1 March 2011
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Paul Lewis and Rob Evans Green groups targeted polluters as corporate agents hid in their ranksThe Guardian, 14/02/11, accessed 14/02/11