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East Sussex Pubs’ Till Systems Hacked by Former Manager

Former Manager Sentenced to Community Order and Fines

A former employee has been convicted for hacking into the till systems of two pubs he managed in East Sussex. James Murphy, previously the manager of The Roebuck Inn, Lewes Road, Laughton, and The Barley Mow Inn, Starrs Barn, was asked to leave his position in November 2022. Upon his departure, he threatened to interfere with the till systems of the pubs.

On December 2, 2022, at around 2am, the till systems of both pubs were remotely accessed. Prices of food and drink were removed, alterations were made to the pricing structure, and attempts were made to change the floor plans of the establishments. The disruptions caused significant operational issues, forcing the pub owner to bring in staff to rectify the problems and enable the pubs to reopen.

Following a thorough investigation by Sussex and Surrey Police’s South East Cyber Crime Unit, Murphy was tracked down to a pub in Tunbridge Wells. A warrant was executed, leading to his arrest in January 2023. His devices were seized, and evidence was found on his phone and laptop that confirmed he had logged in and made the changes to the pub’s network.

Murphy, 25, of Frant Green Road, Frant, Tunbridge Wells, pleaded guilty to unauthorised computer access with intent to commit other offences and two counts of adapting an article intended to assist in the commission of section 1 or 3 of the Computer Misuse Act. He appeared before Brighton Magistrates’ Court on May 13, where he was sentenced to a 12-month community order, 100 hours of unpaid work, and ordered to pay £2008 in compensation.

Detective Sergeant Joel Finney, of the Sussex and Surrey Police’s South East Cyber Crime Unit said: “Any computer system can be vulnerable to hacking and this can put any business at risk. In this case, we were able to track down the offender and put them before the courts.

“We encourage all businesses and individuals to use strong, unique passwords like three random words on all their accounts and use Multi Factor Authentication and ensure the removal of computer access once an employee resigns or leaves an organisation or business.

“Our Cyber Crime Unit also offers free cyber security training to any community group or small business. If you are interested, email Daniel.Sykes1@surrey.police.uk

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