Hand sanitiser racketeering has caused a Banbury chemicals firm to call in security guards

Sam Greaves, Managing Director of CleenolSam Greaves, Managing Director of Cleenol
Sam Greaves, Managing Director of Cleenol | jpimediaresell
A Banbury company that manufacturers sanitisers and soaps that kill coronavirus has had to call in the police and appoint security guards because of racketeers.

Cleenol, based on the Beaumont Road, Banbury is working as fast as it can to satisfy demand for the products from a number of customers. Some of the raw materials needed for the manufacture are in short supply and the company is struggling to keep up with orders.

Managing Director Sam Greaves said would-be thieves are surveilling the factory. He said Cleenol's products are falling into the hands of unscrupulous individuals who are profiteering by re-selling them on sites like Ebay and Amazon for exorbitant prices.

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"We are holding tens of thousands of high-value products due to be delivered to the Ministry of Defence, which if it were stolen would mean we could not meet our obligation to the Army," he said.

Cleenol sanitisers which are being offered for up to 100 on internet sitesCleenol sanitisers which are being offered for up to 100 on internet sites
Cleenol sanitisers which are being offered for up to 100 on internet sites | jpimediaresell

Among its other products, Cleenol manufactures antibacterial soaps, 70 per cent alcohol hand sanitisers and non-alcohol, hand-friendly bactericides that are sold to schools and the Middle East. It also makes a multi-surface cleaner. All of these products are certified to kill coronavirus.

"The products we use in the manufacture of these products are sold out and we are having to go to the market to buy them. We have multiple staff visiting sites like Amazon and Ebay and contacting those selling our products on to find out which of our customers have supplied them.

"Before coronavirus a five litre container of sanitiser would have cost about £20 and they are appearing online at about £100. Today we have seen 500ml bottles, which were about £4-£5 in the shops are on Ebay at £99.99. If we find out which of our customers are selling these on, we are telling them that we won't be supplying them any more," said Mr Greaves.

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"We are now running out of materials for making ordinary cleaning materials because people are stockpiling," he said.

Cleenol holds large stocks at Banbury for its contracted customersCleenol holds large stocks at Banbury for its contracted customers
Cleenol holds large stocks at Banbury for its contracted customers | jpimediaresell

The company - a business to business company which does not sell to the public - has a turnover of £15m. The factory has three weeks' back orders valued at around £500,000 stored.

"We are being 'eyed-up' by possible would-be thieves, walking around our lorries and our premises on a daily basis so we have spoken to the police and we are bringing in a third-party security company," said Mr Greaves.

"Production is going on 24-7 and we have reorganised rotas so that shifts do not meet up and to ensure no contact between the shift workers so that should anyone get the virus production will still be able to go on. Anyone to work at home is doing so."

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*Oxford University Hospitals Trust said this week there was no truth in rumours reported to the Banbury Guardian that bottles of hand sanitiser were being stolen from patients' bedsides at the Horton, while Northampton General Hospital is facing a shortage because relatives keep stealing them from wards.

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