A MAN who used to cash cheques for the London gangsters the Kray brothers, has opened a new security business.

Ken Locke, whose other claim to fame is that he was once the country's youngest licensee at 21, is now working out of Wootton Bassett and his company is called Nationwide CCTV UK Ltd.

The son of Devon farmers, he has invested £500,000 into the company, which swung into action last week with several contracts in place.

"I've been in the security business for more than 33 years so I reckon I know what I'm talking about," said Ken.

"I'm 58 but I'm still ambitious and setting up this business, I've been working 18 hours a day for the last year.

"I'm employing 40 people at the moment. More will be coming in the next few months and by the end of the year I want Nationwide CCTV to be the biggest security company in the South West."

After leaving Devon Ken's upbringing was in London and when he was 21 he was licensee of the Prince of Teck.

His knowledge of the licensing trade in the capital brought him into contact with the Kray brothers and he admits doing business with the family.

"It was only cashing cheques for them and you didn't need any guarantees. The cheques never bounced."

After a public house life Ken moved into the security business and he's still got clients who were with him 28 years ago. He remembers when closed circuit systems came in after intruder alarms had been the first security systems.

"My work is now just industrial and we provide cover for a variety of firms costing from £1 a day to £100 a day, depending on the size of the company.

"We are satellite linked and have unique equipment which we have made ourselves and we provide 24-hour cover through our monitoring suite."

As Ken increases the size of his workforce his hopes are to keep the jobs for people who live in this part of the world.

"As we grow with this new company then it makes sense to have local people on board with you," he said.

"I've lived here for years and I want to put something back in the community. "Plus the fact local people means continuity among the workforce and customers."

Nationwide CCTV UK Ltd is at Unit 14, Templars Way Industrial Estate, Wootton Bassett, telephone 01793 855127.