Published: 07:00, 05 May 2013
The mystery of strange sightings of VIPs being escorted around Ashford town centre by bodyguards has been solved.
A Kentish Express reader contacted the paper to report that they had seen an unknown celebrity surrounded by security personnel in Starbucks coffee shop in the High Street.
The sighting prompted speculation on our website, some more serious than the rest, as to the identity of the mysterious visitor.
Posting on our website, Jess Tuohy said: “They came into Nero too, it was so weird. I didn’t recognise the ‘important’ man though.”
Security firm The Inkerman Group has cleared up the confusion, informing us that they have been running close protection training courses from their training venue behind Starbucks.
In November 2012 TASK International, part of The Inkerman Group, invested in a new training centre located at Cannon House in Bank Street.
Many of TASK’s trainers are from military and police backgrounds and have experience in the security sector. The most recent course began on Friday, April 12. Exercises undertaken during the training include reconnaissance, foot drills and picking up and dropping off VIPs. The courses are generally taken by ex-military and police personnel, as well as some civilians.
Rebekah French, training co-ordinator for the firm, said: “During our courses, a number of exercises are carried out within the local area to allow students to apply their learning to ‘real-life’ situations.
“Acting VIPs are used and the students are equipped with radios and earpieces to replicate situations they will find themselves in once they become fully qualified close protection officers.
“These scenario-based exercises often attract attention from members of the general public, who are not aware that training is being conducted.
“It can be quite entertaining when people try and guess who the VIP is.
“It is always interesting to see the different reactions and suspicious looks we get during the exercises but this all helps to create the ‘experience’ for the students.”
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