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Private Detectives in Stockport – Our History

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Private detectives – The trendsetters

Today, we are familiar with the concept of private detectives and they are more in demand than ever.

But where did the detective agency begin and who initiated the trend of using their services to strengthen a legal case, investigate misdemeanours, ne’er do wells and cheats?

Who: Eugène François Vidocq created Le Bureau des Renseignements Universels pour le commerce et l’Industrie.

When:  1833.

Where: Paris, France.

What: Acted like the police as he investigated – to the client’s satisfaction.

Why: He is notable in private detective history for hiring ex-convicts and allegedly never handing anyone over to the police if they’d stolen from real need.

How: Introduced ballistics, record keeping, indelible ink and plaster cast impressions.

It was 1833 when the first known detective agency opened for business. Surprisingly, the creator, Eugene Francois Vidocq, was not a hardened law enforcer with a blemish free history.

He was the son of a baker, Nicolas, and his wife, Henriette, and was born in Arras in July 1775. His father was well educated and they were fairly affluent. The young Eugene was said to be cunning but lazy. He formed a career as a fencer in the fighting halls and subsidised his lifestyle by stealing.

As a teenager, he stole silver plate from his parents. His father saw that he was arrested and jailed for 2 weeks but this did not stop Eugene Vidocq’s lawless existence. He stole money from them the following year and made for the port of Ostend to sail to America. Ironically, a thief stole the money from him.

In time, he went home to Arras and begged for forgiveness from his parents. In 1791, he joined the Bourbon Regiment.

He was a privateer as much as a soldier so his life was spent largely at war. His victorious battles entitled him and fellow Frenchmen to claim the spoils from the enemy. Think of him in the same light as Sir Francis Drake, but with a habit of being imprisoned for misdemeanours. He only claimed that one case against him was a set up.

After initiating and running the La Surete, The Security Brigade, in post Napoleonic Paris from 1811, his enterprise, Le Bureau des Renseignements Universels pour le commerce et l’Industrie or The Office of Universal Information for Commerce and Industry was started in 1833. It was unappreciated by the authorities and they tried to close him down several times. Part of the problem, in the officials’ eyes, was that Vidocq was an ex-convict who hired ex-convicts, this gave them their excuse to discredit his operation.

However, he persisted and many of the techniques he initiated in the 1800’s are still employed by the French police in the 21st century.

In the initial years, the private detective worked as the police did but with a subtle difference.

They investigated for individuals or organisations who often felt that the police were not listening to them, were not investigating fully, were on the wrong path or ignoring an important lead.

As with today’s police forces, resources are limited and so the private detective gained popularity for being able to do the work their clients felt necessary but the police were unable or disinclined to deploy staff on.

A major call on the private detective agency was to intervene in labour disputes to bring about resolutions and to act as armed guards and protection.

Vidocq died in 1857 aged 81, his last term in jail was in 1849.

Using Le Bureau des Renseignements Universels pour le commerce et l’Industrie and Vidocq as inspiration it was not long before private detective agencies started to pop up around the world. Their place in history was sealed and Vidocq inspired writers. Personal and professional investigations became more common.

The UK

Who: Charles Frederick Field – ex Metropolitan Police – Detective Branch.

When:  1852.

Where: London.

What: He used his extensive experience from working in the police to carry out investigations and resolve issues.

Why: He was one of the earliest private detectives in the UK and was well known thanks to his friendship with the journalist, author and enthusiastic criminologist, Charles Dickens. (1812-1870.)

How: Good old detective work.

In a private capacity, the curious Charles Dickens frequented the unsafe and squalid areas of London (this also informed his writing) and as a journalist, Dickens met Field when he was still at the Metropolitan Police. He would often accompany him on investigations and this habit continued when Field retired from the police force after 23 years.

Field entered the Metropolitan Police in 1829 as a sergeant in E Division, progressed to L Division and became an Inspector at Woolwich Dockyards. In 1846, he joined Detective Branch and when he retired he was the chief there.

Dickens wrote many articles about Field and his private detective work. This made Field, his notable cases and the benefits of using a private detective widely known. He was a hero, lauded in the press.

He wasn’t universally popular though, his tendency to use his police rank when he was a private detective was not unacceptable so his conduct was investigated twice and his pension halted for four months in 1861.  The Home Secretary, Sir George Grey, finally laid the matter to rest in 1865. By this time Field has ceased work as a private detective.  

Field was the inspiration for Inspector Bucket in Charles Dicken’s novel Bleak House, serialised between March 1852 and September 1853.

Both Dickens and Field had a flair for dramatic performance, Field would have liked to be an actor. He indulged himself by wearing disguises and taking on personas during investigations. Perhaps every private detective needs acting ability to succeed.

Field passed away in 1874 aged 69.

You’ll be delighted to learn that the private detectives at X Three Surveillance Ltd. are all ex-military, police or close protection workers who have been vetted and have passed every test to practice in the industry. You won’t find a Vidocq like character handling your case and we don’t attract the press attention of Field. Discretion is guaranteed.

Allan Pinkerton – US detective agency legend and Scot.

Allan Pinkerton became a private detective by accident. However, Pinkerton’s became synonymous with private detectives over 150 years ago in the US.

The Pinkerton National Detective Agency was founded in Chicago in 1850 by Scottish immigrant Allan Pinkerton as a detective agency with security guard services and military style task fulfilment. They also assisted in factory disputes, acting to banish unionists and strike activists.

The agency’s logo which is an eye embellished with the motto of “We Never Sleep” inspired the colloquial term private eye.

1819: August 25th, Allan Pinkerton was born in Glasgow, Scotland.

1842: Allan Pinkerton immigrated to the Chicago area from Scotland and opened a cooperage, (barrel-making) establishment.

1847: Pinkerton discovered a group of counterfeiters whilst looking for wood on an island in the Fox River.  He carried out surveillance on them, helped police to make arrests and became a local hero. He was then employed as sheriff in a small town.

1849: He became Chicago’s first police detective and a US Post Office agent.

1850: Pinkerton National Detective Agency was created. The first office opened at 80 Washington Street, Chicago.

1856: The first female private investigator in the world was hired by Pinkerton. 23 year old Kate Warne was a widow who argued that women could be effective detectives. The men doubted it but Allan Pinkerton gave her a chance to prove her abilities. She quickly became acclaimed and encouraged other women in to private detective work.

Sadly, her career was cut short. She died from pneumonia aged 38 years old in 1868. She was buried at the Pinkerton family’s plot.

1861: Allan Pinkerton was investigating rumours that Southern sympathizers might try to sabotage the rail lines between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. As he gathered intelligence, it became clear to him that an assassination attempt was planned on President-Elect Abraham Lincoln as he changed trains at Baltimore on his way to Washington D.C.

Pinkerton informed Lincoln and several Pinkerton agents including Kate Warne set a counter plan in action. Lincoln secretly boarded a train and travelled overnight so that he was clear of Baltimore long before an attempt could be made on his life. Lincoln posed as Kate Warne’s invalid brother.

Lincoln’s published schedule was used to plan the assassination but telegraph poles were cut so that conspirators could not warn their allies along the route and stage another attempt elsewhere. Lincoln arrived in Washington D.C. the following morning unharmed. Unfortunately, when it became public knowledge that the president-elect had sneaked through Baltimore he was called a coward by the press. In another regrettable result, as none of the would-be assassins were caught it was speculated that the threat may have been exaggerated or perhaps invented by Pinkerton to gain publicity.

1861-1865: As the Civil War proceeded in the 1860’s Allan Pinkerton’s loyalty was firmly to the Union.  He organized a secret intelligence service for General George B. McClellan’s Army of the Potomac. He set up spy rings behind enemy lines and infiltrated southern sympathizer groups in the North’s territories.

His agents interviewed escaped slaves to gather information about the Confederacy. Not all the data they accrued was accurate and in 1862 Peninsula Campaign Pinkerton’s intelligence had the enemy forces as twice the size they truly were.  This led military leaders to delay combat and ask for unnecessary reinforcements.

1860’s-1890’s: Some of their highest profile cases were to track down the outlaws the Wild Bunch including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Jesse James and the Reno brothers.

1870’s: The Rogues’ Gallery was started. This was an archive of mug shots, he also collected newspaper clippings, case histories and previous conviction information. Pinkerton noted any unusual features or scars to identify people with. It was the early 20th century before a more sophisticated library was created by the FBI.

1871: Pinkerton Private Detective Agency was hired to prevent looting after the Great Fire in Chicago.

1884: Allan Pinkerton died on 1st July. It may have been caused by gangrene, a stroke or malaria. No one knows.

1890’s: After his death, his sons Robert and William continued the agency and at its most prosperous, the Pinkerton Detective Agency had more personnel than the whole standing US army. This led to them being outlawed in the state of Ohio, its leaders viewed the agency as a potential threat because Pinkerton’s could have hired its agents out as a private army.

1892: During the Homestead Strike staged by the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, the Carnegie Steel Company hired approximately 300 Pinkerton’s private detectives to act as security at its Homestead mill.

Pinkerton agents killed at least 12 people and injured many more by enforcing the drastic measures of Henry Clay Frick who acted on behalf of Andrew Carnegie. This was not their finest hour, the private detectives were branded as “hired thugs.” The steel industry suffered and several US states passed laws that banned hiring guards in disputes.

The 20th century to today:

1906: Pinkerton Private Detective Agency had 20 offices in the US.

1907: The company was inherited by Allan Pinkerton’s grandson Allan Pinkerton II.

1920’s: Private investigators were used by the wealthy predominantly, it was the 1920’s that saw them becoming commercially accessible to working Americans.

1930: Robert Pinkerton II inherited Pinkerton Private Detective Agency.

1970: In March Pinkerton’s was trademarked.

1999: The legendary Pinkerton Private Detective Agency was acquired by Securitas AB.

2000: 150th anniversary of the Pinkerton Private Detective Agency. A vast volume of archive material was donated to Washington D.C.’s Library of Congress.

2017: Pinkerton’s operates in over 100 countries. The global headquarters have relocated from New Jersey to Michigan.

At X Three Surveillance Ltd. our private detective agency may not have been open for business for over a century but we’ve made a positive impact since we began in 2012. We share Pinkerton’s drive and passion for goal achievement and justice. As an icon, it’s hard to imagine another detective taking his place. Unless one of our team wants to take on the mantle?

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Fraudulent Compensation Claims

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Fraudulent compensation claims in Manchester

Sadly, fraudulent compensation claims in Manchester and across the UK are growing in number. Some people see an opportunity which they can exploit and act zealously to ensure a financial payout which is not justified. The rise has been largely attributed to the economic crisis, unemployment issues and a lack of cash.

Personal injury fraudulent compensation claims in Manchester.

In particular, the escalation in road traffic accident fraudulent compensation claims in Manchester is worrying to put it mildly.

The trend is due to injured parties claiming compensation for injuries which are negligible or less serious that they state.

Currently, the government and the leading insurance companies are working towards effective measures which will make compensation claims more difficult to award.

If fraudulent compensation claims can be diminished there is a high probability that the cost of insurance will decrease. It’s in everyone’s best interests to act responsibly but fraudulent compensation claims in Manchester and nationwide continue to push premiums up.

Fraudulent insurance claims.

The Association of British Insurers calculated that in 2013 59900 fraudulent claims were attempted around the country, up 34% from the preceding year.

Intriguingly, as the claims rose the number of road traffic accidents reported to the police decreased in that and earlier years by over 20%.

How fraudulent compensation claims in Manchester are created:

Staged road traffic accidents – both parties are involved in an orchestrated and pre-planned crash.

Or no event took place but the claim is made as if a real accident occurred.

People injuring themselves by design – There are sadly people who will make fraudulent compensation claims in Manchester for e.g. tripping in a shop and claiming that the shelving was inexpertly placed or unsafe. They may also harm the shelving to facilitate the lie. Another popular form of fraudulent compensation claims in Manchester is down to people saying they tripped on street paving.

Exaggeration of injuries – As we know there is a huge difference between a sprain and a twisted ankle, a broken or bad back and a bump on the head with no concussion against one that causes memory loss, but fraudulent compensation claims in Manchester are frequently made by people who take their small nuisance injury and turn it into a health crisis of unhappy proportions to maximise their payout.


Medical negligence

This is a less common element in fraudulent compensation claims in Manchester but if a health professional is accused of not acting correctly or claiming knowledge when there is doubt then a claim can be made. Few people claim on this basis as investigations must be made and records may defeat the claim quickly.


What can you do if you have suspected fraudulent compensation claims in Manchester?

Call X Three Surveillance Ltd.

Don’t face fraudulent compensation claims in Manchester alone. Allow number one rated professionals to investigate and gather evidence of fraudulence or integrity of claims.

Using discretion, skills and experience to deliver effective and efficient results, investigators can help to halt legal action by perpetrators of fraudulent compensation claims in Manchester.


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Detecting Workplace Bullying & Harassment

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Detecting workplace bullying and harassment

Detecting workplace bullying and harassment is a sensitive issue and one which X Three Surveillance Ltd’s professionals view seriously and we act with the utmost discretion.

School bullies can continue to intimidate others in the workplace if their behaviour has not been brought in to line. Sadly, many people will try to hide it when they are on the receiving end of workplace bullying and harassment because it seems that they are somehow to blame or it’s shameful. Moreover, a lot of victims feel that they won’t be believed.

However, the best remedy for workplace bullying and harassment is to speak out.

Until the crisis has been identified there can be no conclusion. That’s why X Three Surveillance Ltd. has a team devoted to detecting workplace bullying and harassment. We are the purveyors of truth.


Here’s an example from our workplace bullying and harassment casebook:

Amy worked as a part time PA to an area manager in a global firm. This man made a wholly unwanted physical approach to “thank her” for some homemade biscuits. This was sexual harassment and they both knew that she was desperately unhappy about his action.

It took several days for her to speak out about her workplace bullying and harassment, strenuously urged on by a colleague who saw that something was wrong. Amy hesitated because there had been no witnesses and she thought her job in the organisation compared to his would place him at a power advantage and that she’d be blamed. She felt that it would be her proving her innocence rather than her proving his guilt.

The area manager confessed to the Human Resources director within a minute of being called in to the HR director’s office after Amy spoke out and investigations had taken place. She wasn’t his only victim of workplace bullying and harassment.

It doesn’t have to be face to face and any of these constitute workplace bullying and harassment:

  • Critical memos sent to others.
  • Spreading rumours.
  • Discrimination against race, sex, disability, age or religion.
  • Insulting someone.
  • Ridiculing and/or belittling.
  • Setting a person up for trouble or failure.
  • Victimisation.
  • Abuse of position (power.)
  • Unfair treatment e.g. Overload of work.
  • Threatening behaviour or language.
  • Sexual harassment.
  • Blocking career progress.
  • Exclusion.

Detecting workplace bullying and harassment often necessitates undercover investigations within a firm, becoming part of a fractious team in an unbalanced workplace. Our experts are proficient at taking undercover investigations and working under an alias without detection. We’ve seen many workplace bullying and harassment signs before and we also know the likely emotions that the victim will have including fear and lack of self confidence thanks to their bully. Workplace tension and attendance issues are inherent in these dire situations.

X Three Surveillance’s team is trained to help restore peace of mind with proof, reports and covert interaction with our client.

No one should suffer in silence.

Allow X Three to provide the means to halt workplace bullying and harassment.

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Life as a Private Investigator in Manchester

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Life as a private detective Manchester

9 to 5?

The life of a private detective Manchester is rarely routine, seldom 9-5 and often home life is compromised by the lack of regularity.

Combining family life and private detective Manchester work is challenging and it takes patience, tolerance and agreement from the outset that life will be a proverbial rollercoaster.

A partner and family have to very understanding because the ability which many people enjoy in their occupations to say “I’ll be home by six” or “I’ll be at your school play at two,” just isn’t there.

A private detective Manchester may be working at 4a.m. or 4p.m. or be out for days only popping home for a shower and change of clothes if they’re close to home.


Of course, a private detective Manchester expert through X Three Surveillance Ltd. won’t be confined within the Greater Manchester area. Sometimes travel is required and hotel stays are common. Strange bed, strange room, unfamiliar geography and a new challenge must be accepted quickly so that case execution isn’t compromised. One week could see a private detective Manchester on home turf and then London for ten days and Scarborough for another three days before having two complete days rest at home. Yes, we do try to make time for days off in our busy lives but when duty calls we’re committed so we answer.


We are wholly professional, trained, qualified and proficient private detective Manchester operatives and part of this life is to accept that not everyone that we deal with will be friendly. Sometimes we face threats, physical assault, abuse and unsociable behaviour.

There is an element of danger in our work but a private detective can capably defend themselves. We know that most people are not inclined to harm us. A private detective Manchester isn’t responsible for the situation, the culprit is.

Bad news

This is a necessary but unpleasant part of a private detective Manchester’s life. If someone has committed an offence as much as we hate to break bad news to a client we have no choice. A private detective Manchester frequently has to shatter illusions about a person that a client loves or an employee of twenty years who has been defrauding their company. We consider that we’re providing a vital step on the path to peace of mind although it may not feel great at the time.


A private detective Manchester carrying out undercover surveillance work occasionally has a problem with a neighbour or business person who sees a strange vehicle parked for a long time close to their property. They become suspicious and want to know why we (whoever we are) are there. Their diligence is commendable but we can’t really tell them we’re a private detective Manchester carrying out a surveillance operation but we handle this. As unobtrusive and unremarkable as we aim to be a private detective Manchester isn’t invisible.

These factors may make you wonder why being a private detective Manchester would be desirable. Simple, we love what we do.


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