A NORTH Northumberland pest control business has expanded into a rather gruesome new field – crime scene cleaning.
Since October, Brown and Son Pest Control and Hygiene Solutions of Wooler has been dealing with more than just rats, cleaning up everything from hypodermic needles to blood and vomit.
Fully accredited and trained by the National Academy of Crime Scene Cleaners (NACSC), Brown and Son is called in by police forces, Victim Support teams and local councils to clean up what nobody else will.
And it is the only crime scene cleaner between Perth and Teesside, also covering all the way out west to Carlisle.
Managing director Rob Brown said the idea came about when he realised that as pest controllers they seemed to be doing only half the job.
“We were being called to houses that were filthy and vermin-infested where there was a body and I thought that we could go in and do the whole thing.”
The 41-year-old father-of-three investigated and found the NACSC and now he, his father and an employee are all qualified to clean up after decomposed bodies have been removed.
People who may need the services of a crime scene cleaner get in touch with the NACSC who then pass the job on to a trained member.
So far this has involved cleaning out police cells and vehicles in the Borders region and a few more interesting cases.
“We did a shotgun suicide. We went in and the ceiling and walls were covered in blood. It was pretty gruesome that one.
“The dirtiest one though was a drug den filled with hypodermic needles. Every room was full of rubbish and there was human faeces smeared on the walls.”
The job goes beyond just cleaning away the mess and Brown and Son ensure that the property is left in a habitable state, “almost like a new house.”
Then they have to dispose of the hazardous or biohazardous material correctly, some can go in deep landfill while other material is incinerated.
The final aspect of the crime scene cleaner’s work is dealing with relatives.
“That’s one of the hardest things because sometimes they want personal belongings or paperwork but you cannot give it to them. You cannot give them it if it’s covered in blood and needs to be incinerated.”
Rob does admit that people do tend to turn their nose up when they hear about the business.
“But it’s like cleaning anything; when you have done it once or twice you get used to the smell. And we have an ozone machine which helps. It changes the oxygen levels and kills the bacteria in a room before we go in.”
And this fledgling business is going from strength to strength after just over three months of crime scene cleaning.
“It’s looking like a winner so far. Obviously as word gets about the bigger and better it gets. Our next step is to try and get the housing associations on board.”