CCTV & GDPR one year on

In a recent investigation we revealed alarming levels of non-compliance with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into force on 25 May 2018, specifically where the use of CCTV is concerned. The reasons for this worrying discovery were multiple, but appeared mainly to be because the management responsible hadn’t bothered to read all the Regulations in enough detail, don’t think they apply to them, are too lazy to comply with it all or simply don’t understand them. CCTV cameras are now a fact of life and surround our daily lives. In 2013, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) estimated there were nearly 6m CCTV cameras in the country, including 750,000 in “sensitive locations” such as schools, hospitals and care homes, and there are some 15,600 on the London Underground network alone. Other estimates put the national tally far lower at 1.85m but it’s virtually impossible to clarify the figures with any degree of accuracy without checking every single property and street from Scotland to Cornwall as cameras are literally everywhere. Whichever figure is nearer the truth, that’s still a lot of cameras, which may persuade some people we live in a ‘surveillance society’, anathema to those who champion our right in the UK to privacy, freedom of speech, expression and movement. Like it or not, however, CCTV has become part of the modern British landscape and camera images protect businesses, homes and public property while providing police forces and security organisations with a vital tool for both deterring and solving crime. Given the increasing paranoia now about terrorism, especially in high profile buildings and travel hubs, and the development of more refined technology, one wonders just how many cameras there are watching us anywhere and everywhere. No doubt this prevalence contributes to the debate about balancing the use of surveillance with individuals’ right to privacy, but across the UK and EU there are now stringent GDP Regulations which cover of the use of CCTV… but just how good are organisations at complying with them? Since our streets and buildings bristle with CCTV cameras everywhere, inside and outside, recording details and images of our comings and goings (it is estimated that the average Briton is captured on CCTV around 70 times per day) most people believe this is a small compromise to privacy necessary for improved protection from crime. However, facilities, building and security managers or property owners really need to check that their compliance to Regulations is up to scratch before someone complains and they potentially face a hefty fine. These days, like it or not, the public tend to accept the fact that wherever they go, inevitably they’re captured on someone’s camera, somewhere; it’s a fact of life and reassuring in most cases where their personal security is concerned. However, when you think about it when you are out and about yourself, do you really see advisory or warning signs about CCTV as much as you should (which is what the Regulations demand)? And have you…

Clearway’s cleaning of Hammersmith Bridge reveals dangerous structural damage

On 11th April 2019, Hammersmith bridge, opened in 1887, was closed indefinitely as engineers found cracks in the structure that have raised serious safety issues. Prior to this decision, Clearway were called-in to provide specialist cleaning services to remove years of caked-on, hardened pigeon guano (droppings), to enable engineers to assess the bridge’s structure. The cleaning process was both difficult and dangerous, requiring operators to work from a cradle using specialist equipment to remove the guano, whilst a boat on the river below was positioned to collect the waste, preventing it from falling into the river. The entire operation was complex and extensive, taking 10 days to complete. Hammersmith bridge is the weakest of all the bridges that span the Thames and it operates under severe weight restrictions because it was never designed to bear the volume or weight of modern vehicles. Current restrictions allow only one bus in each direction at any one time. This ongoing situation has finally led to substantial improvement works being implemented and the cracks found in the structure have left the Council with no option other than to close the bridge indefinitely pending further investigation. The bridge remains open to pedestrians and cyclists.

Closed retail store becomes dumping ground to squatters

When a retail park-size store closes-down it immediately presents an opportunity for the premises to be illegally occupied and even for the property to be squatted. Not only does this carry the stress of arranging court enforcement eviction for squatters but also the high cost associated with the damage and mess and health risks left by fly-tipping, vandalism and drug paraphernalia. This exact situation recently occurred in one of the now-closed Toys ‘R’ Us stores in Croydon, Surrey. The site was quickly occupied by multiple unsightly caravans within days of the closure and the aerial photo shows the extent of waste and fly-tipping whilst they were still there! The subsequent damage to the site and the cost of clearance could all have been avoided if security measures had been put in place immediately after the site was vacated. As soon as the illegal occupants were evicted it was imperative to secure the site before a recurrence. Clearway were immediately instructed and began with clearing tons of fly-tipped waste, leaving it clean and tidy for any potential viewings. We secured the perimeter with multiple concrete barriers; a powerful way of preventing unauthorised vehicle access to the site and preventing further trespassers, fly tippers, vandals and squatters. We also secured the property using steel security sheets and a Clearway keyless Toreadoor which effectively controls access to the property by allowing only authorised personnel in and out using unique codes. Whilst empty retail units are the sad face of economic difficulties, once cleared and secured, they at least present somewhat less of an eyesore until they can be occupied by new business owners.

Worst hit areas for Japanese Knotweed revealed

Japanese knotweed is one of the most invasive and destructive plants in the UK. The extremely aggressive plant can grow up to four inches a day in the summer and the plant’s roots can spread so far underground finding its way into existing cracks in concrete, pathways and walls or it finds its way into basements, causing structural damage to buildings. The map provided by Environet pinpoints thousands of infestations across the country. The worst areas have been located in outer London, Merseyside, Lancashire, Bristol, Newport, Swansea, Nottingham and Sheffield, as they are home to high volumes of the weed. As experts in treating Japanese knotweed we recommend it being treated during early and late Summer with the dead stems (above ground growth) removed in the Winter. However, standard advice is to treat Japanese knotweed as soon as it is identified. Clearway’s teams are qualified and accredited to use undiluted industrial strength Glyphosate. This is injected directly into each stem (stem injection) for larger plants and sprayed onto smaller plants (foliage spray). If spraying is not suitable for a given area we are also able to provide removal by excavation.

Keeping your tools and construction site secure

According to the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) one in five tradespeople experience theft and vandalism every single week, with many crimes not being reported so the figures are undoubtedly conservative. It paints an extremely concerning picture, especially as insurers Allianz Cornhill reckon that theft alone is estimated to cost the UK construction industry more than a staggering £800m annually. Sussex Police Inspector, Peter Dommett, who leads a crime prevention team in the region agrees. “These crimes are on the increase, with expensive tools and plant being stolen. We get at least one report a day in Mid-Sussex alone, often with shipping or site containers being broken into. We’ve even seen ‘walk-on’ thefts where people dress as workers and simply walk about taking items in broad daylight”. Leigh Hooper of site security experts, Clearway, says: “Thieves think construction sites are easy targets and a lot of the time they’re right as many lack proper security procedures.” He says that the main causes of theft are: Open cabs, sheds, or containers providing easy access to thieves Multiple pieces of equipment sharing the same keys or keys kept in obvious locations Unsecured jobsites, particularly at night and over weekends or holiday shutdowns” And has this advice for tradesmen with a commercial van: Park as near your home as possible and if you park on your own drive and the vehicle is visible, install security lighting to keep it illuminated and a CCTV camera as well. If you can have locked secure gates across the drive so much the better. You need as many deterrents as possible! Park the vehicle up against a wall or garage door to make access difficult. Make sure the vehicle is alarmed and install extra security locks. Keep as many of your tools and equipment indoors if at all possible. Display a notice on the vehicle telling would-be thieves all tools and equipment are removed from the van at night.” And for construction site managers: Keep your site illuminated even when it’s closed. Thieves count on being able to remain inconspicuous so don’t make life easy for them. Plan ahead. Don’t keep an excess of materials. If you can, purchase or delay delivery of what you need for when you need it so it isn’t sitting there waiting to be stolen. This obviously requires good planning and communication between you and your suppliers but why leave temptation lying around if you can help it? Have a fortress mentality. Ensure your perimeter fencing and access gates are as strong and as secure as possible and carry prominent warning signs that CCTV and alarms are in operation. The fewer site access points, the better. Remove temptation. Lock all tools and small or valuable equipment or materials away securely, or remove from the site to safe storage if possible, especially over a longer shutdown period. If this isn’t feasible, securely label all plant, tools and equipment with an indelible i.d. mark and ensure they are listed on a police-approved national tool register so if they’re…

Homebase store secured

In August 2018, the DIY chain, Homebase, announced it was closing 42 stores across the country by the Spring of 2019 and that a further 70 stores were under on-going review pending negotiations with the stores’ landlords. Homebase stores are invariably on retail parks and their out-of-town centre sites makes keeping the vacant buildings secure a challenge, given the often deserted locations. Vacant buildings on this scale are a target for breaking and entering, vandalism and theft, and the car parks act like a magnet for anti-social behaviour and other criminal activity. As soon as the Canterbury store closed its doors Clearway was called in to secure the entire site as it was deemed to be in a high-risk area where criminal damage and arson had been reported in October 2018. There was particular concern that this empty store would attract squatters or be an easy target for illegal fly-tipping. Clearway went into action straight away and steel screens were fitted to provide a robust and secure exterior to all windows with steel access doors installed so that estate agents could still carry out viewings for potential new tenants. They also allow access for Clearway’s property inspectors to regularly check the premises both inside and out for any maintenance work needed to stop any deterioration of the building fabric and fittings. Finally, securing the perimeter of the large car park was paramount to preventing trespassers, squatters and other illegal occupation by vehicles. The solution was to install 33 interconnected concrete blocks around the perimeter with a security access gate to allow authorised entry. The site remains secure but is, sadly, likely to be only one of many as a further 17 Homebase stores are scheduled to close with 32 still under negotiation. 

Keyless doors: What every keyholder wants

Being a keyholder is a pain. You always seem to be called out at the most inconvenient time but someone has to control out of hours entry and access to or within buildings, or when a property is otherwise vacant and needs to be kept secure. Of course there’s nothing like a good, solid security door and there are wooden doors, there are barred doors, reinforces doors, metal doors and all manner of security locks… but they generally require keys or a physical presence of specified or recognisable people to open them. Steel keyless doors, on the other hand, are another matter, but not all are the same. The Clearway Toreadoor is designed, manufactured and tested to the rigorous Loss Prevention Standard LPS1175, giving it insurance approval. The SBD (Secure by Design) accreditation is a UK Police preferred specification which supports the principles of ‘designing out crime’ to reduce the risk of crime through design excellence. The Toreadoor is a unique and gold standard system which provides a total sense of security for those responsible for the protection of a building or simple to restrict access to certain areas. Imagine how useful a door would be if… It was keyless and therefore prevented all unauthorised access It can’t be removed by cutting-off the hinges The door is reinforced stainless steel with a unique five-point independent locking mechanisms Its multi-level pin code access is standard via a built-in keypad You can programme your own entry codes The build-in twin battery system provides unique fail-safe operation allowing for more than 150,000 door operations up to 9 years Its manual internal mechanism allows for easy/rapid exit in emergencies- you can never be locked-in Single use access codes are available for emergency services and unexpected visitors The automatic locking and slam-lock system keeps the door locked at all times Does this sound too good to be true? Well, it’s not. Is it what all keyholders have been praying for? Absolutely. If you think it could work for your organisation or facility, and make your life easier, get a Toreadoor – exclusively designed and manufactured by Clearway. Clearway’s Toreadoor is the preferred choice of Local Authorities, the NHS and other public and private sector organisations as well as a property management companies, facilities and security managers, not only for its many operational benefits, but also because it was the first and still is the only keyless security door approved by the Police. Taken from the Spanish word ‘Toreador’, literally “to fight a bull”, the Clearway Keyless Toreadoor incorporates a range of security features simply not available on any other product. Call us today and see how our security solutions can help you.

You’ll never take a night bus again….

Have you been watching the latest series of #Luther? And last week it was reported there were 132 murders in London in 2018, a 10 year high, and the City overtook New York for the first time in the number of homicides. There was a 12% rise across the UK (excluding the London and Manchester terror attacks) and about 150 unidentified bodies are discovered every year. Does the TV or these stats make you think about how the police often have to deal with difficult crime and trauma scenes? These can include murder, suicide, undiscovered deaths, accidents and terrorism… which usually leave behind blood, body fluids and tissue, chemicals and infestations from maggots and flies; not to mention dangerous items such as weapons or drug-related gear are frequently left at the scene to also clear. These scenes can be quite gruesome and gory. Specialists skills and knowledge are required for this type of work which is why Clearway has held the Crime Scene Security & Specialist Cleaning contract for the Metropolitan Police since 2009. Our teams are constantly faced with many different challenges, not just the remains of dead bodies!

A few Christmas thoughts from Santa…

Ho ho ho!! Greetings one and all… Have you all been busy and diligent property people this year and got your vacant buildings secured against trespassers and the inclement weather coming your way? Of course I know all about inclement weather up in my home at the North Pole so I can tell you what damage it can do if your pipes freeze or water gets in through the roof, or your gutters are blocked. If you need someone to give your empty site the quick once over, give my friends at Clearway a quick ring and they’ll soon sort you out. I’m all ready for my big annual trip now. The sacks are packed; my elves have set the route into my sleigh satnav and Rudolf, Dasher and Prancer and the rest of the team are rested and raring to go; and Mrs Claus has laundered and pressed my special red suit. Of course delivering your Christmas presents isn’t what it used to be. Whatever happened to chimneys? There seems to be fewer and fewer of them these days. Central heating has a lot to answer for, not to mention the forest of aerials and satellite dishes on every roof. They play havoc when I try to park the sleigh and Rudolf had a very nasty accident on one last year! I find myself having to park in car parks more and more now and going in through doors and windows – just as well I have my super transmogrifying device that enables me to go through keyholes or cat flaps. Aah, the wonders of elf technology…. but it’s not the same as a nice whoosh down the chimney.  Just as well I don’t come across too many Toreadoors. Now they are a real challenge to get through –no keyholes of course – just as well they tend to be on empty properties! Ho ho ho! And of course, I have to be careful where I leave the sleigh and reindeer. Can’t leave them in places where some nefarious folk might try and pinch one of my sacks. That would never do… think of the disappointed children. So I always park somewhere where there’s some CCTV to keep an eye on things, like Clearway’s remote camera towers. Just the job for out of the way places I like to park…. and if the guys who monitor the images see me or my sleigh and ring up the local police to report a fat man in red and reindeer…that’s their problem if they speak to an unbeliever! But I know they’re keeping an eye on things in my absence. Reliable people those Clearway employees. Right, that’s it for now so I’ll sign off. Don’t forget to leave the mince pies and carrots out… all this delivering is hungry work. Have a safe, merry and peaceful Christmas, one and all Lots of love from Santa xx

Weather warning issued: Winter to be the coldest on record for UK

With warnings that the coldest winter on record is approaching, and temperatures are set to plummet as icy winds head over from Scandinavia bringing snow, heavy rain and sleet to the UK, the Met Office, via Twitter, is advising the UK to be “weather ready”. Even occupied buildings need insulated pipes to continue providing heat and hot water but what about your vacant properties? If pipes freeze they can leak or even burst which causes havoc in the depths of winter. It’s essential to ensure your vacant properties are fully drained-down and the water supply is isolated. Our Property Pack solution is an all-in-one service for utility isolation, drain-down and property inspections – all essential services for vacant properties.

Are you a member of the construction industry 1 in 5 club?

Even more concerning…. are you one of the 92%?  What are we talking about? Building site theft and vandalism on a shocking scale, even arson. Intimidation and threats to on-site workers. Criminal gang activity with the supply of illegal labour. Drug dealing and drug usage. Illegal land occupation. Anti-social behaviour and graffiti.  Dumping of illegal waste, kidnapping …. and there’s a lot more.  The Christmas shut-down is now looming but are you adequately prepared? The CIOB’s (Chartered Institute of Building) last report on crime in the construction industry1 revealed 1 in 5 experienced theft and vandalism on a weekly basis, and virtually everyone suffered problems at some point during the year. What’s more, the CIOB said a lot of the crimes never even got reported so the figures were undoubtedly extremely conservative. In many instances, some management admitted to not even knowing if criminal activity was going on across their site. Quite unbelievable.  Added to this, only a couple of months ago the Federation of Master Builders reported2 that tool theft was at an all-time high causing real financial and other issues for many. FMB chief executive Brian Berry said: “More than half of builders in the UK have fallen foul of tool theft with concerns growing over a crime wave wreaking havoc across the construction industry. Tools are being stolen from vans and direct from construction sites, with some builders even being assaulted by would-be thieves….” It paints an alarming and extremely concerning picture, especially as major insurers, Allianz Cornhill, reckon that theft alone is estimated to cost the UK construction industry more than a staggering £800m annually according to their statistics at the end of last year3. Think about it, what does that do to insurance premiums? Since the recent FMB report suggests matters are deteriorating, not improving, it seems the industry still hasn’t got its act together to try and improve matters. This is supported by a recent comment just last week from Sussex Police Inspector Peter Dommett who leads a crime prevention team “These crimes are on the increase with expensive tools, plant, JCBs etc. being stolen. We get at least one a day in Mid-Sussex alone, often with shipping containers being broken into. Crawley has seen ‘walk-on’ thefts where people dress as workers and simply walk about taking items”. Michael Brown, CIOB Deputy Chief Executive said of his Institute’s findings when they were published: “The results suggest a real need for site and project managers to be trained on how to prevent crime on construction sites and what measures should be taken if it does occur”. The research also showed that the most effective crime deterrents are secure storage, enhanced lighting linked to CCTV and registering plant and equipment. With the Christmas shutdown upon us, bear in mind it could easily be extended if we have a bout of bad weather in January. The question is, are you ready and is your building site secure? Or are you going to continue to be a member…


Abiding by the law, complying with regulations and following the highest professional standards of working practice… and belonging to the accredited trade and professional bodies and associations who expect all this from their members, may sound dull and boring bureaucracy. It may also seem irrelevant to some in today’s entrepreneurial and fast moving business culture but, to many people, it’s what differentiates a first class, reliable, ethical and responsible organisation from the ‘cowboy’ operators, or ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ outfits who may seem like a cheap deal but who cut corners and aren’t concerned with important issues such as the health and safety of either their own staff or their clients’ staff and customers.  This is particularly true when it comes to the management and security of vacant property. Vacant property can often be a problem to manage and health and safety is a critical consideration when ensuring it is kept secure from unauthorised intruders, anti-social and criminal behaviour, especially since the property owner is legally liable for any mishaps that might befall trespassers as well as official visitors. However, it’s not just about keeping people out; securing the outside of the property is just as important as the menace of fly-tipping is a growing scourge on our streets and industrial estates as well as in open countryside. The waste is often unsafe, containing needles or potentially harmful substances, and dealing with it should be carried out under the strictly controlled Hazardous Waste Regulations, hence the need to use experienced specialists. Far better to secure your site in the first place to stop this unauthorised dumping; concrete blocks, steel barriers or bollards are easily installed. Clearway takes pride in being fully accredited security specialists with the right solution for whatever needs arranging for their many and varied clients nationwide, and unlike many of their competitors, they are members of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA). In fact, they are so highly thought of that one of their senior managers chairs the Vacant Property Section of the BSIA. The BSIA campaigns on behalf of its members for better standards across the Industry and tighter regulations and laws to support their efforts to keep all of us safe. In fact, take a look at their latest opinion piece in this month’s Fire and Security Matters It reiterates everything we have commented on above about the importance of consulting the experts and letting them sort out your site security.

Police Chiefs warn that illegal raves are a growing problem

An investigation found that in 2016 there were 628 reports of unlicensed music events across England and Wales. The following year 682 events were reported, an increase of 9%. Many others are very likely to go unreported. Of the reported illegal raves, 133 were from the Metropolitan Police, in London, nearly double the previous year. According to Sky News, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said illegal raves were “inherently unsafe” and officers had to consider the safety of residents when deciding whether to shut events down. In June 2017 Clearway was contacted by a property agent to secure all openings of a large commercial property in Brighton, as talk on social media revealed the building was potentially the venue for a large squat rave. Clearway’s mobile CCTV unit offers the greatest visual deterrent and was set in place outside the building with the Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera set on ‘guard tour’ to warn off any ravers. The rave didn’t happen and the building remained secure and undamaged. To read the full article on Brighton ravers prevented:

Caught in the act by Clearway inView CCTV Tower

A commercial estate in Oxfordshire was hit by thieves on more than one occasion and a lot of valuable IT equipment was taken. Despite having made previous visits we were confident the intruders would come back again so, rather than just deter the thieves, the owner wanted to catch them in the act. The Clearway inView CCTV Tower was the perfect solution with infrared lighting and low-light camera capability. Positioned near the building, facing the entrance to the site, the scene was set to catch the thieves red-handed. The plan worked perfectly as two individuals were detected entering the site in darkness. They were immediately detected and reported by the monitoring station to the authorities. A response unit was dispatched within 25 minutes, the individuals were detained and subsequently arrested by the Police.

Spotted! Clearway’s mobile CCTV unit at Bluewater Christmas Lights & Fireworks display

It’ll be Lights! Camera! Action! Tonight as Clearway works directly with Bluewater Shopping Centre, in Kent this evening for their annual Christmas lights & fireworks display, which is due to attract a large crowd. The Clearway mobile CCTV unit will be in operation from the start of the event at 5pm to help with public safety, traffic management and crowd control. Fitted with a powerful pan/tilt/zoom camera mounted on a 6m adjustable mast, and multiple fixed cameras, the mobile CCTV unit a highly effective visual deterrent with its striking graphics. Clearway will also be providing other security services in the coming months for Bluewater Shopping Centre such as fixed CCTV for the Christmas grotto and ice skating rink.

Are you invited?

The worst Halloween party of all time might be happening in your empty property, and you’re not invited. If you think an impromptu Halloween rave in an empty property is scary, imagine the damage squatters, vandals and thieves will do! According to Aviva, “Halloween is the worst day of the year for vandalism with claims for malicious damage to homes soaring by 160%.” Unsecured properties are frequently vandalised, flooded or fire-damaged, leaving the owner responsible for hefty cleanup and repair bills. Halloween is upon us, the spooks are coming out. It’s time to sort out your empty property.

Gideon Reichental comments on how fly-tipping is costing thousands

Fly-tipping costing security industry thousands in clean up and insurance claims The illegal dumping of waste by criminal gangs is costing the security industry thousands of pounds in clean-up costs and insurance claims, according to the British Security Industry Association (BSIA).      Fly-tipping is a growing issue which can end up costing thousands and in some cases up to seven figures in clean up and insurance claims. The costs, which might be borne by the landlords of fly-tipping hotspots if they are not covered by insurance, can routinely reach hundreds of thousands of pounds and claims have been known to regularly exceed this figure. Companies who fail to adequately protect their assets, or have been victims of fly-tipping in the past, could find their insurance cost rising – and they are not the only ones who shell out. Some of these costs are met by taxpayers. According to the Local Government Association the cost to taxpayers of clearing up fly-tipping rose to £57 million in the past year – up 13% on 2017. Restrictions on the tipping of waste and the inevitable dumping to avoid paying for waste processing are key factors for this unlawful behaviour and in recent times a far larger and by far costly crime is occurring on an almost daily basis. This involves the unlawful occupation of land followed by large scale collection and disposal of waste. There have also been many cases of industrial units rented on short leases which have then been filled with illegal waste and left for the landlord to clear out the building. The recent surge in fly-tipping is down to an influx of organised gangs offering cheap disposal services to businesses and then simply fly-tipping the waste to avoid the payment of landfill tax which is currently £88.95 per tonne*.  More sophisticated fly-tippers have also been setting up dummy companies, which advertise cheap skip rentals, take out short term leases on warehouses then fill them from floor to ceiling with waste before moving on before the landlord realises that rent has not been paid and visits the premises to investigate. Tony Cockcroft, Chair of the Security Guarding Section, BSIA, said: “This activity is on an enormous scale involving the tipping of hundreds of tonnes of waste. The waste is collected from building sites, garden and  house clearances and this criminal activity is netting large amounts of money for those involved in the process.” “In most cases of land tipping the perpetrators are evicted from the site only to move onto another close by and repeat the same activity again and again. The police and other agencies seldom make arrests, prosecute individuals or confiscate vehicles largely due to already overstretched resources focused on serious crime and terrorist threats.” Gideon Reichental, Chair of the Vacant Property Protection Section, BSIA, said: “Fly-tipping is not just an unnecessarily expensive eyesore it can also be dangerous; tipped rubbish has been known to include specialist and clinical waste which can be hazardous, and mixed waste can…

Securing buildings for public safety

Curious children tend to wander onto derelict building sites unaware of the dangers that could face them. In 2017, there were two very sad cases of children dying as a result of playing in buildings that were left unprotected. The responsibility for protecting the public against the potential risks of a vacant property lies entirely with the property owner. In fact it’s a requirement of their insurance to protect the building against any visitors, be they property inspectors, developers, fly-tippers or squatters. The biggest risk is to children as vacant properties and sites are such attractive places to explore. Clearway specialises in full building protection; physical perimeter and electronic security, steel security, concrete barriers and CCTV.

Clearway's bespoke security solutions for Toys R Us

Bespoke security solutions for ex-Toys R Us sites

Toys R Us closed its doors early in 2018 following a challenging period on the high street, leaving a number of large, prominently placed retail units in town and city locations across the UK. With large store footprints including loading bays and extensive car parking, the primary security concern was preventing vandalism, illegal occupation and fly tipping. Clearway provided a solution to secure the properties using keyless steel security doors to allow simple controlled access for viewings, property inspections and maintenance. We fitted tailored steel security screens to protect the large glazed shopfronts from vandalism and to deter intruders. Access to the sites was secured with concrete barriers placed across entrances and vulnerable perimeters. The former Toy R Us sites represent a significant opportunity to retailers, hence maintaining the fabric of the buildings, whilst providing the highest level of security, was a key concern. With extremely large aluminium framed windows our specialist teams overcame the challenge by building bespoke frames that were tied-in to the fabric of the building, thereby minimising the impact of securing the steel screens with security screws, whilst maintaining a robust perimeter to the building.

Protecting vulnerable buildings from metal theft

Over a single night in August, thieves hit an industrial site in Livingston, Scotland, forcing entry and stealing a vast amount of high-value metal equipment, such as I-beams, tower bracing bars and anti-climb equipment, valued at around £300,000. A Detective from Livingston CID said: “We believe whoever was responsible for this theft will look to sell the metal on for scrap and as such would require either one large vehicle, or a number of vehicles.” CCTV would very likely have been a highly effective preventative against the theft but none was present and it seems there were no witnesses or anyone recalling any suspicious activity. The Clearway CCTV Tower incorporates a camera at the top of a 6m mast and is designed to work 24/7 in vulnerable, open-space areas, whether or not mains power is available. The tower is remote operated and, in its own right, acts as an excellent visual deterrent. Metal theft continues to be a major issue across the UK with common targets including beer kegs, manhole covers, catalytic converters, air conditioning units, copper wiring and cabling, lead from roofs and bronze plaques and statues.

Anti-social behaviour is on the rise as 18 pubs per week close-down across the UK

Britain has seen 28,000 pubs close since the 1970s, with more closures forecast as business rates rise. Between Jan and June 2018 pubs are still closing at the rate of 18 per week. Anti-social behaviour in the form of squatters and vandals is a major problem in the towns and communities affected by pubs closing down as they are continually broken-into, often to be used as drug-dens. The hardest hit areas are in the North West and South East of England, which each saw a staggering 61 pubs close in the first six months of 2018; an increase of 13 compared to the last six months of 2017. Clearway provides a nationwide rapid-response support service for some of the largest pub companies in the UK including Greene King, Enterprise and Admiral, providing a full range of property security, guarding and CCTV services.

Clearway and the Metropolitan Police working together since 2005

Clearway has provided a range of security and specialist services to the Metropolitan Police for over 13 years, and is delighted to announce that we have again won the Crime Scene Security & Specialist Cleaning contract after a competitive tender process run earlier this year. Jon Harwood, National Key Account Manager at Clearway, said; “The continued confidence the Metropolitan Police has in our ability to meet their needs is testament to our consistency of quality and customer service”

Fly-tippers caught on CCTV

Illegal fly-tipping remains a major issue for councils and private land-owners across the UK, and those responsible will go to any lengths to dispose of their unwanted rubbish and waste material, despite the risk of being caught on CCTV. Recently a CCTV installation company in West Yorkshire captured, on their own CCTV security system, clear footage of fly tippers, including the vehicle registration and the identities of those involved, as they off-loaded waste material, mattresses, foam and bedding parts on the road. In the video footage the driver is seen edging the vehicle forward to allow more and more waste to be dumped onto the road. Ironically, the camera that caught these fly-tippers was hidden, suggesting the perpetrators were avoiding all the cameras they could see. This highlights the point that having CCTV cameras on full view is, in itself, a highly effective deterrent. It is frustrating that as the land is privately owned, there is little the authorities can do, but the company posted the camera footage on social media and this has prompted the council to investigate further.

Clearway Group Acquires Cerberus Security

Our parent company, The Clearway Group, is pleased to announce the acquisition of Cerberus Security. We are delighted to welcome them as the newest member of the group. Monitoring from a former ex MOD secret nuclear bunker, Cerberus Security operates one of the UK’s few NSI Gold Category ll Alarm Receiving Centres, providing professional 24/7 monitoring of CCTV, alarm and fire systems. Cerberus’ monitoring already protects more than £60m in fixed and transient assets across the UK. This, combined with manned and canine guarding services which puts Cerberus in the top 5% of SIA contractors, brings enormous benefit to Clearway customers by widening the range of services available.

Spotted! Clearway’s mobile CCTV unit at Great Yarmouth Air Show

With around 180,000 visitors, the Great Yarmouth Air Show presented the perfect opportunity to showcase Clearway’s mobile CCTV unit to remotely monitor crowds. The mobile unit was delivered to Norse Security’s head office on the 15th June where the staff were trained by Clearway on how to operate the cameras and mast as security staff would need to be able to move and monitor the pan-tilt-zoom camera from inside the van or remotely via mobile phone. Norse security setup and tested the unit on-site with the mast fully extended and tested all cameras to ensure they were fully operational and ready for the weekend. The van was put to work from 2pm Friday to 9am Monday, with all cameras recording 24/7, proving the unit is self-sufficient and power-independent, running from batteries and solar panels.

Spotted! Clearway’s mobile CCTV unit at Junction 2 festival in Middlesex

Working directly with ResponSec, the Clearway mobile CCTV unit provided a temporary security solution for the Junction 2 festival 9th June. The mobile CCTV unit is highly effective as a visual deterrent for anti-social behaviour and was located at the festival’s main entrance providing the perfect solution to information gathering for the security team on public safety, traffic management and crowd control. Fitted with a powerful pan/tilt/zoom camera mounted on a 6m adjustable mast, the whole main entrance could be monitored by the security team. The mobile CCTV unit can be located anywhere as it is self-sufficient and power-independent so is ideal for use at events and where remote monitoring is required.

Pensioner fined for fly-tipping – even though he didn’t do it!

High Wycombe Magistrates Court found a pensioner guilty on May 18th for knowing a woman who was filmed illegally dumping waste in Burnham. The pensioner, who stated he was strongly against fly-tipping, said a friend used his car without his permission but refused to identify her after she was filmed fly-tipping. By not revealing the driver’s identity, he prevented the investigation from continuing so he was held responsible for the fly-tipping and ordered to pay a fine and costs totalling £730. Speaking on behalf of the Waste Partnership for Buckinghamshire, South Bucks District Council cabinet member for environment Luisa Sullivan said: “The environmental protection law is framed in such a way that liability for fly tipping offences is wider than simply the act of dumping the waste. “This man’s refusal to identify the woman seen on camera meant that the court was able to fine him as owner of the vehicle used in the offence.” To report illegal fly-tipping please visit:

Clearway Sponsors Men of the Match

Willis Towers Watson hosted their annual football match where professionals within the Insolvency and Receivership industry had the opportunity to play on the premier league pitch at Crystal Palace football club. The game was held on the 17th May and kicked off at 12:45pm. With Team Purple being managed by Adam Humphreys and Team White being managed by Ronnie Walters, the teams appeared to be fairly evenly matched. However, the final score was 5 – 3 to Team White. “Although it was a friendly game, competitiveness was shown throughout and, watching as the audience, it felt extremely tense.” Clearway sponsored the ‘man of the match’ prize but, due to two players in particular standing out, it became ‘men of the match’; namely Chris Allen from Smith & Williamson and Marcus Bassett from Duff & Phelps. Chris won a signed Crystal Palace football and Marcus won 2 tickets for England vs Nigeria at Wembley. Congratulations and well done to everyone involved.

14 men, 12 hours a day, 5 days, 8 floors up and 171 tons of earth

A block of flats, in south London, required immediate attention when water started leaking from the roof into a tenant’s property. Unusually the property had a roof garden, and when it rained water-laid in soil would sit above the flats and it started to leak through. The original plan was to move the plants and soil from one side to the other in order to find the leak. However, this would not stop if it were to happen again therefore the plan was changed to remove the whole garden. This would turn out to be a massive task. Cherry pickers and scaffolding were required to carry out the works. It took 14 men, 12 hours a day, 5 days, 8 floors up, to remove 171 tons of earth. The soil and vegetation was handled one bucket at a time, passed down a rubbish chute to the ground floor and then loaded on the trucks to be disposed of.

Not all donuts are good

Anti-social behaviour is a common problem for property managers and business owners and takes many forms including the after effects of joy-riders. Empty car parks are frequently occupied by gangs of ‘boy racers’ who will find any available space to prove their prowess and leave their mark with revving engines and screeching tyres. This is pure anti-social behaviour but it can easily be avoided. The wilful defacing of a private car park is criminal damage that could lead to prosecution – but only if the offenders are caught, and there is a solution available. Clearway’s high-spec temporary CCTV towers are more than a powerful visual deterrent; they are a state-of-the-art technology solution to an irritating and costly problem. The CCTV towers operate 24/7 and are fully power-independent, recording and storing remotely all triggered events. Engineered to remain outside in all conditions the Clearway temporary CCTV tower can be left unattended for long periods of time, providing security, high deterrent value and peace of mind.

Buying a new property? Be careful of Japanese knotweed

Experts have warned; buyers of new build properties are at risk to Japanese knotweed due to a legal loophole.   Property owners wishing to sell their property are required to complete a TA6 property form, which declares whether the property or garden is, or has been, affected by the Japanese knotweed. In 2013, this form was changed and now means developers and builders are not obliged to complete it.   Japanese knotweed can grow more than 1m in height in three weeks and the elaborate root system can go down 3m and out 7m. Japanese knotweed can crack tarmac, block drains, undermine foundations and invade homes causing major damage to buildings. It’s presence can cut a property’s value by 20% and can even prevent mortgage lenders approving a loan.   The legal loophole can be extremely expensive for new home buyers. A couple bought a luxury new home from a property developer before finding Japanese knotweed. The pair have now been forced to spend around £5,000 to treat the plant but have said it was “not good enough” that the developer didn’t warn them.   Japanese knotweed, which thrives in hot weather, is responsible for £170 million worth of home repairs every year in the UK. It is also an offence to allow Japanese knotweed to spread across neighbouring land.   As experts in treating Japanese knotweed we recommend it being treated during early and late Summer with the dead stems (above ground growth) removed in the Winter. However, standard advice is to treat Japanese knotweed as soon as it is identified.

New full service brochure

We have now published our new full services brochure, available in printed format and as a downloadable PDF by clicking below:     Our brochure includes everything you need to know about our full range of products and services including the latest addition to our security products; our NEW, fully independent, temporary CCTV tower. The Clearway brand has continued to evolve and is recognised as representing reliability, quality and great customer service, which is why we continue to lead in the UK’s vacant property security market.          

Gideon Reichental features in RICS Property Journal

Many asset owners will already be aware of the devastating effects that vandalism and arson can have on a business as it is expensive and time-consuming to deal with these. Deterring such crimes is difficult, however, as most vandalism, including graffiti and arson, occurs at night and on weekends when sites or properties are vacant. Variety of risks Fly-tipping is also on the rise, with vacant sites being prime targets. The number of incidents has increased for the third year in a row: councils across England and Wales reported 936,090 cases in 2015–16, up 4% on the previous year, according to data from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Clearing up fly-tipped rubbish cost councils £49.8m, while the expense for landowners can also be significant as the waste is usually mixed and can often contain hazardous materials. Vacant property is at heightened risk of metal theft as well, a crime estimated to cost the UK economy £770m per year, the Office for National Statistics reports, while the Association of British Insurers claims its members pay out more than £1m a week in claims from property owners. Property Insurance Initiatives – an independently owned commercial real-estate insurance broker – has also reported that metal theft from vacant commercial property is soaring. Adding insult to injury, the cost of reinstating properties after such thefts is out of all proportion to the value of the metals stolen. Many of these threats can be caused by illegal occupation, such as when a building is squatted or land is occupied illegally; however, it also entails additional legal costs, project delays and remediation following the occupation. While squatting in residential property is illegal under section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, commercial property was not included and when vacant is prone to squatting. There are a large number of vacant commercial properties that fall in this category and the legal process can be long, protracted and costly for the asset owner when securing an eviction. Of particular concern to property owners, but perhaps less well understood, is public liability. The owner is responsible for the safety of people entering their site whether invited or not, and has an obligation to ensure that the site remains safe and well maintained even when it is secure. This is particularly true when properties could be accessed by children, as it is a well-established legal principle that you have to be aware of their natural propensity for mischief. Proper protection Property owners can mitigate these risks by carrying out a thorough risk inspection and considering the issues that might affect the property or site. The premises should be well maintained, overgrown vegetation cleared and external lighting installed if possible. Water systems should be drained to avoid flooding and utilities isolated to lower the potential for fire. Openings such as doors, gates and windows should be properly locked and secured, and regular inspections carried out so problems can be identified and resolved quickly,…

Clearway protects Canterbury Archaeological Trust after break-in

Canterbury Archaeological Trust has been left devastated after a series of break-ins occurred in one week at the end of January when around 1,500 items of priceless archaeological artifacts were stolen. The thieves also ransacked the educational loans collection, disturbing 90% of the 200 boxes, stealing replica metal axes, pins, coins and other items including a plaster bust of Queen Victoria. In a Facebook post, Canterbury Archaeological Trust is pleading for members of the public to help: “Please spread the word, and look out for any of these items being offered for sale.” Following the theft, Clearway were contacted to put security measures in place to help ensure there are no further break-ins. BBC News reported the event:           The full article with details of the items stolen is here:   The Facebook post can be found here:

Government crackdown on fly-tipping

Clearway has attended some of the worst areas for fly-tipping whilst working for KCC. Last year, in Kent, there were around 19,938 incidents of fly-tipping, costing the taxpayer a total of £1,308,284. Medway was noted as being one of the worst areas for fly-tipping in the South East. It had the highest number of reported incidents (3,637 cases) which cost the council £252,327. These figures only for Kent County Council, not nationwide, however they are extremely high considering they do not account for private and farmland where the cost is met by the landowner. New powers to crackdown on illegal fly-tipping are soon going change this by providing local authorities with the option to fine those whose waste ends up fly-tipped rather than having to pursue them through the courts. Currently councils can only prosecute householders in court but a new fixed penalty notice would be less costly to enforce. Clearway Environmental Services Limited have been clearing both domestic and commercial waste since 1991 and have noticed the number of fly-tipping incidents rapidly increase over the years. Our waste clearance services support local councils, farmers and other land owners in removing the waste, sometimes a same day response team can be provided.

Data shows: Over 11,000 homes have been empty for at least 10 years

According to new research, by a Government organisation, more than 11,000 homes across the country have been lying empty for longer than a decade. This research also includes figures for both five years or more (23,000 empty properties) and again for two years or more (60,000 empty properties).

Property owners must be extra vigilant this Christmas

Warning to all Property Owners: Your empty property is at risk! Make sure you keep your vacant properties protected over the holidays as Christmas is a prime time for squatters and metal thieves to make their move. As the cost of metal rises so do cases of theft. Typically, burglaries and theft increase by 13% during December. Metal theft is costing the UK around £770 million a year. Don’t get wrapped up with all the Christmas activities; make sure you have everything in place for the Christmas holidays. With our range of property security services, including steel screens and doors, temporary monitored alarms, CCTV plus monitoring and call-out services, you to sit back and relax.

Three men caught on dash-cam fly-tipping

Three men were caught on camera dumping a fridge, an old ironing board and many other items on the side of a country lane. Ms Gordon, a lady who was driving along the country lane, was forced to stop because a van was blocking her way whilst three men had stopped to fly-tip. As she stopped the car, one man aggressively approached her demanding; “what do you want?” She replied; “What do you think you’re doing? It’s illegal dumping rubbish.“ Another man noticed her dash-cam and insisted she give it to him. “It’s fine, what’s that? Is that a camera? Give me your camera!” Ms Gordon reversed at speed to escape the men, one of whom jumped onto her car bonnet. She swerved, causing the man to fall off, and continued to reverse until the men were out of sight. On YouTube, where Ms Gordon posted the video, she wrote: “This happened a year ago. Only putting it online now it now because I was scared to upload it before.” Fly-tipping is a major issue across the country, with almost half a million incidents reported between 2016 and 2017. Fortunately, the above encounter is rare, but the lengths some people will go to in order to illegally dump rubbish is a growing concern.    

Clearway CCTV towers keep an eye on Amazon distribution centre

Amazon needed a high-tech deterrent to help prevent potential intrusion and anti-social behaviour in the public road used to access their distribution centre. Clearway’s solution was to install two CCTV towers with cameras facing the entrance and exit of the multi-story car park where anti-social behaviour is common.

One in ten homes in Cornwall is left empty

A new report has revealed that there are almost 30,000 homes left empty in Cornwall. One in ten homes is left vacant, this is 11.2% of the housing stock in the county. This will alarm the thousands of people of who are on housing waiting lists in Cornwall.

Another deep clean and another glowing testimonial

Living alone and with mental health issues, it’s no wonder this tenant’s living conditions were left to deteriorate. The tenant who has lived in the property for 2 years suffers with a lighter fuel addiction which results in temporary loss-of body control and functions. As a result, the property was covered in rubbish, food, faeces and urine. After two local cleaning companies turned-down the job, the local authority called-in Clearway Services. Due to the resident’s addiction there were multiple lighter fluid cans scattered inside the flat and a 2ft stack next to the bed. There were also sharps around the property. Clearway’s environmental team transformed the property back to a safe environment, removing bio-hazardous and human waste and extreme deep cleaning. Our environmental teams are frequently recognised for their hard work, caring nature and unwavering commitment. When this job was completed our client responded with a glowing testimonial:   “Thank you very much for an absolutely superb job. The team were amazing! They dealt with the tenant with the utmost respect and courtesy and the flat has been transformed. I would definitely recommend your services to anyone who needs them.”

300 million odour receptors can’t be wrong

A request for us to provide a drug-detection dog unit demonstrates how no two days are the same at Clearway. Our client, a college, requested the sniffer dog to scout-out both the site and pupils in search of illegal substances and, in a single six-hour session, the dog found 15 separate indications of drugs on site.

Empty hotel burns again

Former Shedden Hall hotel, home to squatters and drug users, burns again. On the 26th September 2017 more than a dozen firefighters were called to battle another blaze at the former Shedden Hall hotel, Torquay. The hotel has been vacant for several years and is now a well-known squat and drug den. An investigation is underway to establish the cause of the fire. The once-luxurious hotel, that overlooked Torquay Torre Abbey Sands, has recently been granted planning permission by Torbay council to be turned into homes. Development should hopefully begin soon and unwanted intruders will be evicted. This was the second call the fire-brigade had received within a few days, which shows the vacant building is wasting the time of emergency services. The property was protected with wooden boarding. Wood can break easily meaning squatters are able to gain access. Wooden boarding on properties are prone to arson and is frequently used to fuel fires started by the intruders. Clearway recommends perforated steel sheet which allows light and ventilation into the property, whilst being a visual and physical barrier. Ideally this would be fitted alongside Clearway’s high security steel doors to allow personnel access to the property where necessary.       Photo courtesy of  Guy Henderson (Devon Live)

Clearway Newsletter and the rest of the world

Vacant properties are not confined only to the UK and the many problems associated with them are the same everywhere. Illegal occupation, vandalism, theft and willful damage occur everywhere the temptation of an empty property exists. As the number of vacant properties continues to grow, so does Clearway Services and the news of our range of excellent services also spreads far and wide. Whilst Clearway currently only operates in the UK, our monthly emailed newsletters have been opened and read, during 2017, in more than 60 countries from China to Mexico and Norway to South Africa.  

Thousands of pounds worth of Lead stolen from Shrewsbury Church

St Mary’s church, Shrewsbury, was hit by thieves twice in the space of 4 months during 2017. First in July, when 250ft² of lead was stolen from the roof of the church and again in September, 150ft². The historic fabric of the building was damaged and, in both cases, Battlesfield Cafe had to close while the building was secured. Jessica Robertson, spokeswoman for the Churches Conservation Trust, said: “The Churches Conservation Trust is the national charity protecting historic churches at risk.”  “The cost of replacing the lead and repairing the damage to the historic fabric of the building will run into tens of thousands of pounds for our charity. In addition, on both occasions, the popular Battlefield Café was forced to close while the building was secured.” This is the eighth church in the Trust’s care which has been hit in 2017 alone. Jessica said: “At present, we need to raise more than £1 million to re-cover all of the roofs stripped of lead in our estate.” Metal theft is recognised as being a serious problem in the UK and it’s increasing every year. The former National Metal Theft Taskforce has warned that a current lack of expertise is fuelling an increase in offending and problems linked to metal theft. If the cost of metals continues to rise or stays the same there could be an ‘explosion’ in metal theft and associated problems. Clearway Services can help prevent these issues by providing solutions such as Temporary CCTV, Monitored Alarms, Property Inspections and more. Temporary CCTV solutions include a Mobile CCTV unit or self-powered Tower. Both provide an excellent visual deterrent and are ideal for vulnerable and remote locations.  

Clearway Supports Oasis Academy

Oasis Academy Shirley Park’s Long Lane campus have been appealing for supporters to help raise money for the nursery’s new play area. The old play area left the children bringing muck into the classroom constantly. Clearway kindly lent a hand by sending some operatives to the nursery to assist with the clearance and clean-up of the Children’s play area. Ms Batten, one of the nursery teachers, had some kind words to say about Clearway: “Can’t thank the guys from Clearway enough for their hard work. We know it will make such a different to the children’s outdoor experience. We feel very lucky to have had them helping to make our garden a great place. Thank you”

Spotted! Clearway’s mobile CCTV unit at intu, Lakeside.

Clearway work with intu to protect Lakeside. intu, Lakeside is undergoing some construction work that will host Nickelodeon’s first UK shopping centre attraction. intu is to build a 175,000 sq ft leisure extension which will not only include Nickelodeon-themed attraction but one of Hollywood Bowl’s biggest tenpin bowling venues. Whilst the construction is undergoing, intu required outdoor CCTV covering a large area. Clearway’s mobile CCTV unit, was an ideal solution as its powerful pan/tilt/zoom camera is height adjustable up to 6m from the top of the unit and can be controlled remotely from a PC or mobile device. Our mobile CCTV unit has been at Lakeside since the 8th of September.

It may be Britain’s Cheapest house … but it still needs securing

Clearway have recently secured the cheapest house in Britain which is available to buy for just £5,000. The two bedroom semi-detached house is based in the north east, in an area that suffers from a very high crime rate and has had its fair share of arson, fly-tipping and anti-social behavior. The property is missing its roof and some windows therefore making the safety of the house and surrounding area a means of concern. Clearway were soon called to protect the vacant property using Heras fencing. This avoids the worry of unwanted intruders and anti-social behavior progressing at the property.   Photo courtesy of Evening Gazette

Clearway helps Calabar Alumni and Friends UK

Clearway bikes finally find a home! The Calabar School in Jamaica is an all boys school, that ensures the best possible outcome for all their students through efficient use of resources. The core of garnering support for the high school is the Calabar Alumni and Friends Association UK, a not-for-profit organisation, set up by ex students of the school. The Alumni and Friends Association’s mission is to “Mould Boys into Good Men and Responsible Citizens.” Clearway Services has donated over 30 bikes to the school to help the young boys. The bikes will be a great asset to the boys encouraging sports as well as their own projects to work on. Sports plays an important part in the life of the school, so the bikes are extremely valuable. Kevin Palmer, an ex student of Calabar High School and a representative of the Alumni and friends charity, had a few kind words to say about Clearway: “Many thanks to Clearway Services for supporting our charity by donating a range of different bikes, this will help the students massively by giving them a sense of responsibility and independence. The Calabar School will benefit from the bikes as will the local community, farmers and young entrepreneurs. The bikes will be used for transport to and from school, leisure and training.” The bikes have been shipped to Jamaica so will arrive in a few weeks. We look forward to receiving an update on how the bikes have helped the locals.

BSIA re-elects Gideon Reichental

Gideon Reichental re-elected as BSIA Chairman of Vacant Property Protection

For the third consecutive year, Gideon Reichental, Commercial Sales Manager at Clearway Services, has been elected as BSIA Chairman of Vacant Property Protection. As the landscape of property security has changed so has the need to provide a wider, more sophisticated range of security solutions, tailored to individual properties. The Vacant Property Protection section of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) was started in April 2015. The need to form a new section was driven by BSIA member companies with a specific interest in vacant property protection who wanted to place greater emphasis and focus on this area. They wanted to highlight the risks to vacant property and the difference that using the high-quality services provided by these BSIA members can make. James Kelly, Chief Executive of the BSIA said “The BSIA’s membership and the very important contributions it makes to the industry is something that the Association is extremely proud of. Our members are committed to working collectively to ensure that the industry continues to advance and many of the key developments in the sector have been largely down to their expertise and commitment.“ In 2017 BSIA members unanimously voted to re-elect Gideon as their section Chairman for a further year. In response to his re-election, Gideon remarked; “the Vacant Property Protection section is keen to maintain the momentum it has created over the last 12 months. We have been working with advocates of best practice within property, infrastructure and construction, and those involved with vacant property insurance, to understand the value and benefits of the professional services offered by our members.   A recent example of this work has been with the Housing Committee of the London Assembly which has begun inviting all stakeholders to get involved in a consultation on the emerging property guardian sector. The VPP section members are proud to support and contribute to this process to ensure the providers of this service adhere to the highest standards”

A sad case of being unable to cope

When a local authority tenant was found to be living in squalid conditions, Clearway was called-in at very short notice to clean an entire house from top to bottom. Extreme cleaning on this scale requires a strong constitution, an unwavering commitment, attention to detail and dedication to carrying-out the absolute best job. The results speak for themselves. Our teams worked tirelessly for six days to clear, thoroughly clean and disinfect every room in the house. They also cleared the garden. Once complete, we received the following response from our client: “What an amazing job Clearway did. At the start, no-one thought the place would clean up as well as it did. This was the worst mouse infestation I have seen in 22 years at the Council. Massive thanks to all the team concerned. The results had to be seen to be believed and the before and after pictures really do not do justice to the completed job. The team were utterly professional, compassionate, helpful, personable and worked like Trojans to get the job done and nothing was too much trouble for them. Compliments have already come in from residents regarding their work. Both my colleague and myself would like to thank the Clearway team very much for the fine work carried out and for picking up the baton at the last minute after we had been let down by another company.” We’re proud of how our teams operate and the exemplary work they carry-out, sometimes under the most adverse conditions. Read what our customers say about Clearway:  

School’s out for Summer!

Summer is finally here and school holidays are upon us but what does that mean for schools? The school will be empty for six to eight weeks It will be vulnerable to unwanted intruders and squatters Unprotected against thieves stealing computer equipment Unguarded from vandals breaking in and covering the school corridors in graffiti This could cause the school not to re-open on time and, just like any empty property, it needs to be protected. Clearway offers a range of different services to help keep your school protected against unwanted visitors.     Monitored Alarm Clearway’s monitored alarm is a fully self-contained, portable alarm system that can be fitted, commissioned, verified and working to protect your property within 20 minutes. The alarm can be configured to detect movement, smoke, fire, water, gas and broken glass and, upon detection, send relevant information to the monitoring center or client.       Mobile CCTV Unit Clearway’s mobile CCTV unit is a natural visual deterrent as well monitor vulnerable situations. The mobile CCTV unit can be deployed and rapidly set-up in any sort of environment and get to work almost immediately. Its features include mast-mounted dome camera has rapid-action, 360 degree viewing angle and a high-power optical zoom lens.        Security Guards Clearway’s manned guarding service provides the physical presence of security guards to provide permanent, visible protection for your property. Security guards are a short-term solution, providing protection against unwanted intruders whilst allowing the smooth flow of legitimate personnel.  

Clearway Services on the map

Clearway HQ can now be seen from space

The Clearway brand has continued to evolve and is recognised as being reliable and trustworthy, with extremely high value placed on both quality and customer service. Having now finally received approval to attach signage to our headquarters building in Dartford, Kent, we have erected a seven-meter triangular sign facing the Dartford Crossing. Apparently the sign can be seen from space.     Clearway is firmly established as a premier nationwide provider of vacant property security, property services and temporary CCTV for local authorities, care homes, pub companies, housing associations, the Metropolitan Police and many more. Next time you’re driving through Dartford, come and be dazzled by our new sign!  

Brighton ravers prevented!

What would be the perfect building for a rave? A vacant one. There was talk, on social media, of a rave potentially going to happen in Brighton. The perfect venue; a large, empty, commercial building and full of opportunity. The building in which the rave was planned to take place was vacant and due to be sold for conversion into flats. There were already regular security patrols around the building and smashed glass from some broken windows was noticed by the security guard, suggesting that one of the rave organisers had been inside the property ensuring it was a suitable venue. Clearway was immediately called to secure all the vulnerable openings of the basement and to secure with chains and padlocks the pedestrian gates which lead down to the basement. Clearway’s high-tech Mobile CCTV Van unit was hired for three weekends. The CCTV van was positioned on the south side of the building, being used mostly as a visual deterrent. The Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera was set on ‘guard tour’ to show it was in use and working. Security Guards with two dog units were also required to be on site all weekend. Needless to say, the rave didn’t happen and the building remained secure and undamaged.

Intruder invade Ocado’s depot in Dartford

Ocado’s £250million depot in Dartford, Kent, was invaded by more than a dozen caravans, helping themselves to showering facilities, towels, food and drink. Using a van, they pulled away a giant boulder that was blocking the warehouse entrance to gain access. The intruders locked themselves in and turned away more than 40 staff members / contractors for work, meaning lots of people being sent home without getting paid. This soon ended, riot police arrived onto the site. Bolt cutters were used to get in before ordering all the intruders to leave. One man allegedly picked up a chain and, in response, officers with riot shields slammed him to the ground. Ocado did not comment on the invasion. Photo courtesy of News Group Newspapers Limited.

Crime Scene Clean-ups

Inside the world of Crime and Trauma Scene clean-up

The police often deal with difficult crime and trauma scenes. They can include murder, suicide, undiscovered deaths, accidents and terrorism which usually leave behind: human blood, bodily fluids & tissue, chemicals and infestations from maggots and flies. Dangerous items, such as weapons and drug-related paraphernalia, are frequently left at the scene to clear too. These scenes can be quite gruesome and gory requiring commitment, dedication and sensitivity towards the situation. Specialists skills and knowledge are required for this type of work which is why Clearway has provided crime and trauma scene clean-ups for the Met’ Police since 2009. Our crime scene and trauma teams are trained to secure crime scenes and fully licensed by the Environment Agency. No two jobs are the same and our teams are constantly faced with different challenges. We work within strict guidelines ensuring all potential risks to human health are minimised.

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese knotweed removal – time to act.

Whilst the rumours that Japanese knotweed can grow through solid concrete foundations or break into underground water pipes are untrue, it is an extremely aggressive plant, growing at the rate of 1 meter every three weeks during its growing season. Where the plant finds its way into existing cracks in concrete, pathways and walls or it finds its way into basements, the damage can be extensive and it can even undermine building foundations, hence why mortgage lenders are extremely wary once the presence of the plant is confirmed. The ability of Japanese knotweed to reproduce so aggressively is partly because the tiniest piece stem can efficiently reproduce (a fingernail-sized fragment is enough to grow into a whole new plant) and partly because of its ability to extend underground so it’s extremely difficult to know where the plant will pop-up next. The roots can grow up to 3 metres downwards and up to 7 metres across. In Japan, the plant is kept under control by the presence of insects or other plants but these are not [yet] present in the UK. Prime growing time for Japanese knotweed is spring to summer. Early identification and treatment is the best course of action. It can almost impossible to dig-out Japanese knotweed because the bulbs are buried deep in the earth. It’s also illegal to remove Japanese knotweed waste from a site. As such, industrial-strength herbicide treatment is the only effective eradication method but even this can take 3-4 years of chemical treatments applied 3-4 times per year. Smaller plants can be sprayed but larger plants will require injecting individually. The strength of chemical required can only be purchased by a qualified treatment specialist such as Clearway. Alternatively, you can cut the stems, peel, boil and serve them up like Rhubarb!

Care Homes are continuing to close

The care home industry is in crisis. Since 2010, more than 380 have been declared insolvent and Care Homes continue to close at a steady rate. According to the Care Quality Commission, five hundred care homes have closed in the capital in the past decade. Almost 2,000 care homes in England have closed over the past 6 years, with providers claiming that this is due to the living wage and gap in funding for care. Homes face brutal financial challenges including the increased living wage and a stubborn gap between what local authorities are prepared to pay and what the industry says is the cost of care. Large companies are also struggling. The biggest care home operator in the country with over 400 properties and 20,000 beds is more at risk. According to the Financial Times in December 2016, Four Seasons closed or sold over 51 homes for the elderly over the past 18 months. Clearway has secured many different care homes across the UK ensuring all properties are safe from unwanted intruders. Securing a care home includes steel screens and doors, and the help with CCTV surveillance allows you to sit back and relax…

Fly-tipping remains a major issue across the UK

For the 2015 / 2016 year, local authorities dealt with 936 thousand fly-tipping incidents, a 4% increase over 2014 / 2015 and is continuing to rise. Residence could potentially face prosecution after fly tipping outside Northwich recycling centre following the Council’s decision to close the site on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Cheshire West and Chester Council cut opening hours for a number of its Household Waste Recycling Centres, including the Northwich site. The changes were made to ‘ensure sites are open when they are most needed whilst operating as cost effectively as possible’. Frustrated residents have resorted to dumping their waste outside the entrance but automatic number plate recognition technology is monitoring vehicles entering every site.   Enfield is worst borough for fly-tipping According to statistics from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs there were 70,930 fly-tipping cases in Enfield up to March 2016, equivalent to 22 per cent of its population. Haringey came next with 34,975 and then Newham with 32,718. A spokesperson for Enfield Council, said: “The figures for the borough were so high because they include all dumped waste and not just fly-tips reported by residents. He continued: “What the figures from Defra do show is that Enfield Council is the most active council in the country when it comes to dealing with fly tippers and keeping our streets clean. We aim to clear all reported fly tips within four hours of them reported.”   Fly-tipping clean-up costs £50m as cases in England rise for third year in a row According to DEFRA in March 2017, there were 936,090 cases of fly-tipping in 2015/2016, an increase of 4% on the previous years. Councils across the country have cut waste collection services leaving some people to dump their waste illegally costing an estimated £17 million to clean-up. Rubbish dumped ranges from household waste, white goods and vehicle parts to large scale incidents including asbestos, tyre mountains and chemical drums, oil or fuel.

Squatters take-over-guest-house

Squatters invade a vacant guest house

Terrace Guest House, a former hotel in Royal Terrace, Essex was taken-over by squatters whilst the building was being refurbished. They immediately put up signs within the property claiming they had the right to live there. The squatters were accused of bringing crime and antisocial behaviour to the area before finally being evicted. The first group of squatters left after the electricity was turned-off but a second group moved in a week later. A resident said “There has been noise, rubbish and intimidating behaviour from these people. Another said “It has been 13 weeks of hell” before the courts issued an order to evict the squatters. Once vacant we secured the property using our steel screens and steel doors which provide a highly visible deterrent and are perforated to provide light and ventilation.

Clearway launches a new website

Launch of our new website

In January 2017, we launched our brand new, refreshed website. With a great focus on helping our customers understand how we can help them, our new website now provides the full range of services covering vacant property security, property services and temporary CCTV solutions. So what’s new? The new website is now much clearer, easier to navigate and is fully compatible across desktop, tablet and mobile devices. The content has been completely rewritten throughout to make it easier and quicker for you to find the specific information you need. We’ve also included videos on some of the services we provide to give you a better idea of exactly what we do and how we do it. For those looking for a new career we have a new page; ‘Careers with Clearway’ For quick contact we have a new feature on the home page – a ‘how can we help you?’ form which provides a call- back service for a time that is convenient for us to call you back. Our newsletter is becoming ever-more popular too, with over 8000 subscribers currently! We have worked hard to develop our new website in a way that makes it as easy as possible for you to find how we can make life easier for you. Relax… we’ve got it covered.

Clearway dontaes to Foal Farm

Clearway sponsors Foal Farm Animal Rescue Centre

Foal Farm is a non-government funded animal sanctuary which rehomes many animals including dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, sheep, pigs and chickens. As part of the main project to refurbish the kennels they redesigned the main dog run to provide a more stimulating environment. Clearway decided to make a donation to Foal Farm and included the money they would have spent on Christmas cards. The donation facilitated the purchase of a summer house to provide outside shelter for the dogs. Above is a photo taken prior to the refurbishment, together with an artist’s impression of the planned refurbished kennels. Foal Farm is an extremely worthy cause. If you’re looking to re-home an animal or a charity to make a donation to, please do visit their website and take a look at the fantastic work they do.

When duty calls…

When an elderly pedestrian was struck by a speeding car at a sat of lights, one of our teams was quick to rush to his aid and provide assistance until the emergency services arrived. The speeding car overtook at the traffic lights and hit the pedestrian with such force, he was thrown into the air and sustained a serious head on impact. The victim was bleeding profusely and our operative helped to stem the bleeding, providing reassurance as the gentleman regained consciousness. Clearway is extremely proud of its staff and especially to this team for their quick and selfless action which undoubtedly helped to save the elderly pedestrian’s life. All in a day’s work. We have no further information as to the well-being of the injured gentleman and hope the injury sustained hasn’t caused lasting serious damage.

Fly-tipping in 9 days

How much damage can fly-tippers do in nine days?

Hundreds of tonnes of rubbish were dumped by fly-tippers at a disused business park in south London in just nine days. Vandals broke-in to every single building, mindlessly vandalising the property and ripping-out cables and other metals to sell as scrap metal. The site was patrolled by one security guard and his dog but this was clearly insufficient as the guard, who wisely chose to back-off, was threatened and intimidated by the intruders. The mountain of rubbish left by the intruders will have cost thousands to clear and dispose of, in addition to the cost of repairs to the damage. ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ If you own or manage site and buildings that need protecting, here are some guidelines on securing it against intrusion, fly tipping and vandalism: Thoroughly assess the site and buildings, identifying all vulnerable access points (you can also engage a qualified property inspector to carry this out) Carry-out regular (at least weekly) assessments of the site to satisfy yourself of the integrity of existing security Check all gates, ensuring locks and chains are fit for purpose If appropriate, harden security with concrete barriers or collapsible bollards to physically prevent access Cut-back overgrown bushes and foliage and maintain hoarding and fence lines If the site is at high risk it may be worth considering CCTV or a guarding presence on site Finally, if you’re alerted to a problem, respond quickly. As the above example indicates, every day that the problem is not addressed will lead to higher clear-up costs