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Lights, camera, clean up! CleanSafe clears site used in Guy Richie movie

Chris Macdonald - Sales Director - SafeGroup


Chris Macdonald

3 min read

Snatch 1

Forget extreme violence and think extreme cleaning – because CleanSafe has been called in to clear some waste baddies from a row of properties used as a location by movie director Guy Richie.

The British director used one of the nine shop-front properties in the terrace in south London as a key location in his hit movie Snatch, starring Brad Pitt, Jason Statham and Benicio del Toro.

That moment of fame was a high point in the recent troubled history of the four-storey properties in the Walbrook area of Southwark, close to Paisley Park.

More recently, CleanSafe was commissioned to use its extreme cleaning expertise to clear large quantities of waste from the site – much of it hazardous waste.

CleanSafe Accounts Manager Jane Robertson said: “The properties have not been put to good use for some years, as discussions have continued about whether the site would be redeveloped or the properties refurbished.

“The properties have been used as a location by a number of film companies, as well as Guy Richie, and it appears this helped build interest in the local community in preserving the buildings.

“In recent years, they had been taken over by squatters. This resulted in a huge amount of waste building up. This had to be cleared before a proper assessment could be made about how to bring the site back into use.”

Because of the scale and nature of the waste on the site – and the fact that it was known many of the squatters were users of illegal drugs – CleanSafe was commissioned to carry out the site clean-up work.

Jane Robertson said: “Even when carrying out an initial inspection, to establish the scope of works, we had to wear full protective clothing, goggles, masks and needle stick proof boots and gloves.

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“The area had been heavily contaminated with human waste, and was infested with vermin and wild animals, including rats and foxes, as well as fleas. It presented a significant risk to human health.”

The properties had been used by fly tippers, with piles of building waste left in back gardens. Large quantities of household waste had also built up – much of it contaminated by human faeces, urine and vomit.

Jane Robertson said: “The first task our cleaning teams had to complete was a thorough needle sweep, looking for used hypodermic needles, which took three days.

“They could then get on which clearing other waste from the site. The initial plan was to separate the waste. But it became clear that much of it had become contaminated, so had to be treated as hazardous waste.”

A quantity of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and building rubble could be recycled. Needles collected were treated as clinical waste. Hazardous waste was taken to an authorised hazardous waste disposal site, where most of it was incinerated.

In total more than 44 tonnes of waste was removed from the ground floor areas of the nine properties. The cleared areas were then sanitised with disinfectant spray.

Jane Robertson said: “We had 10 CleanSafe operatives working on the site in full protective clothing for two weeks, which gives an idea of the scale of the task we faced, just to clear contaminated waste from the ground floor areas.”

Not quite the right ingredients for an all-action movie, but a great performance by CleanSafe teams, all the same!

Snatch 10 Snatch after 2 Goes with Snatch 9

Chris Macdonald - Sales Director - SafeGroup
About the author

Chris Macdonald

Chris has strategic responsibility for sales development and major accounts management at SafeGroup. He was a professional footballer with Southampton FC until a series of injuries ended his career while still a teenager. Chris began working as a helpdesk controller for a national FM company in 2004. By 2013 he was its managing director. From there he joined SafeGroup in 2018, bringing with him huge expertise plus the energy, enthusiasm and drive that would have surely made him a success in the Premier League. He does, however, still enjoy playing football.

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