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Simon Albert turns laptop cop with Linda Adkins

A shop owner who bought two stolen laptops was caught after computer experts tracked him down by using remote technology and taking a snap of him on a webcam.

The PC Support Group was able to trace the two Samsungs after they were taken from the office of Linda Adkins, company secretary at The International Coaching Academy based in Liverpool.

Using a combination of software and remote technology, IT engineers were able to pinpoint the exact location of Samir Haddad and hand a dossier of evidence to Merseyside Police, the court heard. They were even able to activate a webcam and take a picture of him. Today Haddad pleaded guilty at Liverpool Magistrates Court to two charges of receiving stolen goods.

Liz Hennessy, prosecuting, told the court: “The items were worth £2000 and were previously stolen on July 4. They contained unique identification numbers and were being used online. Their unique reference numbers meant they could be traced.

“The PC Support Group notified police as the computers were continually logged on and off. An address was provided of Park Road. A warrant was executed and two stolen laptops were recovered.”

Paul Williams, defending, told the court: “Mr Haddad suspected they were stolen. Two men came into his shop and he foolishly bought them.”

The PC Support Group was able to retrieve vital work records including client details and confidential accounts even before the laptops were recovered, again using their computer systems.

Simon Albert, operations director of the Waterloo-based company, said: “In a digital world, technology means criminals have nowhere to hide.

“Using our systems and a combination of software, we were able to take copies of the important files even after they had been stolen. We then captured the applications being used and activated the webcam. We were able to keep track every time someone logged on and see exactly what they were looking at on the internet.

“This included the Auto Trader website which meant we knew exactly where he lived when he keyed in his postcode.

“We handed over our dossier of evidence to Merseyside Police.”

Linda said: “The laptops contained several years’ worth of work. Unfortunately I hadn’t backed up the computers or copied anything to discs.

“Losing work information was a massive disruption, before this I just took for granted that all my important documents would be completely safe on my machine.

“Without the clever systems of The PC Support Group, we would never have got those laptops back.”

Haddad was given a curfew order for three months.

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