A personal tragedy when he was just a schoolboy brought Craig Spencer into an unusual line of work. DAVID NOWELL finds out what it’s like to clean up a crime scene
Craig Spencer was distraught when, aged just 12, he found his dad dead in bed.
The experience devastated him – but years later he has turned the nightmare scenario inot something more positive.
Craig, now 29, has set up his own company, Crime Scene Cleaning Services, which deals with the aftermath of crime, sudden death and other incidents.
He was eternally grateful to the neighbours and friends who helped clean the house after his dad Chris’s death.
Last year, he was looking to launch his own business – and came up with the idea of having a specialist cleaning firm dealing with crime scenes and other hazardous incidents.
Craig said many people did not realise that police forces and scenes of crimes officers would not normally do a “deep clean” after they had gathered evidence. The scene could be left covered in blood – or worse – and someone had to be contracted to finish the job.
Craig and girlfriend Clare Wilde set up Crime Scene Cleaning Services last year in Manchester. Now, the business is establishing a Preston base to cover more Lancashire towns.
Craig was only a schoolboy when his dad – who lived alone – died suddenly.
It is thought his father may have lain undiscovered for up to a week.
Craig said: “Everyone was so helpful. They all rallied round and came in and helped clean up the house. It meant I didn’t have to go back in there – which was a relief.
“His death had a massive impact on my life but I have managed to turn it into a positive.”
Craig went to live with his mum as a youngster and left school at 16 and went straight into work. Last year, he was working for an internet marketing company and felt he had gone as far as he could.
He researched crime scene clean-ups and realised there was a gap in the market.
Craig said: “Some forces use a contract cleaner, others just leave the scene as it is. It can be a murder scene, or a suicide in a garage and some forces just leave the relatives to clean it up.”
His company has a wide base of customers, from police forces to pubs, office blocks and private work.
Craig said some of the work was hazardous – and gruesome – and he had to wear specialist protective clothing. He said the specialist cleaning work was not suitable – and too disturbing – for ordinary domestic cleaning services.
He and Clare now cover an area from Manchester to Blackpool, and have another member of staff on standby.
“The business is going really well. I just sat down and thought what did I want to do? And what was there a need for?
“I thought about my dad and what happened to me when I was young and researched it. It can be gruesome – I see some things I’d rather not see, but it comes with the territory.”