LP Magazine

NOV-DEC 2018

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

Issue link: http://digital.lpportal.com/i/1053401

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Page 44 of 85

SCREAM IF YOU WANT TO GO FASTER 43 LP MAGAZINE | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2018 Denmark, which is opposite the main manufacturing facility and, with models created out of more than 65 million bricks, represents that country's biggest tourist attraction outside of Copenhagen. Legoland Resort Parks in California and Florida are major family destinations. Unusual Crime Blethyn's world covers profit protection across a vast and very public estate where brand protection is also a key factor in driving visitor numbers. Blethyn works closely with Eric Dench, head of security and counterterrorist expert, and David J. Smith, the business lead on internal audit, to form a holy trinity of protection around the Merlin brand and its 124 worldwide locations. Such high-profile theme parks and resorts are always on high alert for potential terrorist attacks because they serve as honeypots for millions of visitors every year. Profit protection operates separately from the other functions purely because of the specific and different challenges attached to security and internal audit. It is not as though Blethyn would not have enough to do without also having these two other functions reporting into her, as other typical brands on the high street might. "It's been an incredible journey for me hereā€”no two days are the same," said Blethyn, who was the first and only line of LP defense when she joined Tussauds from Sainsbury's as a consultant in 2003. "It was only supposed to be a six-month role, but here I am fifteen years later still doing a job that I love. "We've had school groups trying to pick up penguins and take them home and a man who successfully kidnapped a squirrel monkey called SpongeBob SquarePants. He realized when he got it home that he was out of his depth and could not look after it when it bit him on the hand. We later received a call from him claiming that he had discovered it at the bottom of his garden. But we had found his glove, and when he came back with SpongeBob, we noticed that he had a newly attached plaster on his hand. Although a funny story on the face of it, it was very serious for the animal who was traumatized by the affair, had to be isolated, and received a lot of veterinary care. Needless to say, we prosecuted the man and pursued him for civil recovery of the costs." Determined and organized thieves have even broken into Merlin attractions and drained pools to steal sea lions because of the high value attached to the creatures, many of which never surface again because of a thriving black market in private zoos and collections. "We are always on vigil because of the world that we are in. These people are brazen. Last year poachers broke into a Paris zoo and killed a rare four-year-old white rhino to steal the horns. Our security has to be the best in the world," Blethyn continued. At Legoland, the models form another kind of attraction to Merlin's less welcome "I learned early on that we had to do it differently and very quickly. I needed to get everyone on board with a strategy that works, whereas previously people were not getting on board the profit protection train because, for whatever reason, it was not stopping at their station."

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