Law firms on hit-list for IT thieves

Gangs across Britain are targeting law firms and stealing computer equipment worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, suppliers warn.

The profession is being hit by a “thefts-to-order” campaign, according to a founder member of the Association of Legal Technology Suppliers.

Stephen Taylor-Parker says that highly computer-literate gangs are targeting legal practices in a series of break-ins.

“These people know exactly what they are looking for and who requires them, although there is no suggestion that requests are coming from other legal practices,” he says.

Taylor-Parker, managing director of Linetime, adds that there has been a sharp increase in the number of thefts in the last few months.

The problem is acute in London, Manchester and Leeds but smaller towns such as Maidstone have also been hit. Suppliers say the problem is affecting high street practices as well as the larger commercial firms.

Firms which have been targeted recently include Leeds firm Nelson & Co and Hertfordshire-based Blazer Mills.

Blazer Mills partner Tom Grace says: “The equipment taken and the way the gangs entered, cutting wires for quick entry and exit, suggests that they knew exactly what they were doing.

“It was a clean and efficient operation. They clipped wires to isolate and take particular items,” he says.

Law firms are advised to keep back-up information as well as to tighten up their security procedures.

The problem is not confined to the legal profession but Taylor-Parker says: “The sheer number and nature of thefts, particularly in the last few months, indicates that law firms are the new target for thefts-to-order gangs.”