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The Argus

Brighton company battles with banks for survival

Brighton company battles with banks for survival

Brighton company battles with banks for survival

Reported by Neil Vowles

Published

Staff at a security company have been working unpaid for the past two months as the business battles for survival.

More than 20 employees at AB Cameras Ltd are owed £30,000 between them as the Brighton-based company fights to survive.

Company CEO Jason McCreanney said that a lack of investment is killing his “innovative company”.

However some employees said they had become disgruntled at not being paid which was leaving them in financial difficulties.

The firm began five years ago when Mr McCreanney created AB Cameras, which trades as Keyhole Security, out of the ashes of a previous incarnation, South Coast Locksmiths.

The day after the previous company folded in 2008, eleven employees arrived at work for free to revive the firm with just £100 to its name.

Now for the remaining five of those original employees it is a case of déjà vu as they are again working for free.

The firm supplies cameras for a number of high-profile firms including Scotia Gas Networks, Mediforce ambulances and the Environment Agency (EA).

The business learned on Friday that it had won the tender for a new contract with the EA, who it supplies with cameras to monitor water levels at sluice gates during heavy rain, but even that contract might not be enough to save it.

Mr McCreanney said he was looking to sell the locksmiths side of the business for £50,000 which could cover the owed wages for staff.

He said: “We have been going to lenders, banks and anybody to try and find investment but we haven’t been able to despite being a profitable business.

“We got to the situation two or three months ago where cash flow was extremely tight. Lack of bank lending really is an issue for us.”

Mr McCreanney, whose wife is owner and sole shareholder, said he appreciated it had been a difficult time for his staff.

He said: “Most of the staff have been really good and are coming in even though we can’t pay them.

“I understand it’s been hard on the staff, but it’s also been hard on myself and I have had to pay myself £8,000 a year and not many CEOs would pay themselves that little.”

Steven Ingram, of Portland Road in Hove and an employee for the last 14 months, said: “I have not had wages for a couple of months, I am in arrears on the rent on my flat and my direct debits are not being paid.

“I am having to borrow money from my parents to get me through so I have enough to live day to day.”

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