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News : Police and Enforcement Officers Raid Llanelli Call Centre
Llanelli, Wales, August 22, 2014 -- A Llanelli call centre was yesterday raided by police and enforcement officers.
They believe it is responsible for millions of spam texts.
Dyfed-Powys Police officers joined forces with the Information Commissioner’s Office to visit at an address on Station Road looking for a so-called Sim Farm.
Sim farms send out automated and unsolicited text messages to mobile phones.
Officers said they were acting on intelligence received.
They entered the property at around 10am just as it was opening for business. Call centre employees were sent home for the day as investigations were carried out at the premises.
The ICO said the business was believed to be linked to as many as six million nuisance text messages, and documents and a computer server were seized and removed for further examination. A spokesman for the ICO said: "A decision on whether or not to issue an enforcement notice compelling the organisation to comply with the rules regarding text marketing will be made in the near future."
Assistant commissioner for Wales, Anne Jones, said: "Our intelligence pinpointed this address as being connected to a vast spam text operation responsible for sending out millions of text messages that have caused nuisance to thousands of people.
"Thanks to this raid we have seized information that will enable us to identify where this organisation are sourcing their data and prevent them from selling it to third parties.
"The rules on sending text messages are clear."
The raid was prompted by intelligence supplied by the Ministry of Justice Claims Management Regulation Unit (CMRU), the telecoms company EE and the ICO.
Mrs Jones said the ICO had gained the intelligence from a number of sources including people reporting the nuisance texts online. She said the ICO believed the Llanelli company had been texting randomly generated numbers.
The investigation will now continue, looking into where the data was acquired to make these calls and whether the data had been sold forward to other organisations.
After the raid, Mrs Jones said: "We have found evidence of unsolicited texts being sent and evidence of a breach of PECR."
People who want to report nuisance texts, emails or calls can visit ico.org.uk. Mobile phone users are also being reminded they can report spam text messages by forwarding them to 7726.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Llanelli, the largest town in both the county of Carmarthenshire and the preserved county of Dyfed, Wales, sits on the Loughor estuary on the West Wales coast, approximately 10 miles (16 km) west-northwest of Swansea and 12 miles (19 km) south-east of the county town, Carmarthen. The town is famous for its proud rugby tradition and is a centre of tinplate production.
Published: Monday, August 25, 2014