Inside the homes of Britain's dirtiest hoarders: Cleaning boss reveals his worst jobs including clearing out shoe boxes full of dead cats, jars of human waste and sex toys.
George Mensah owns a company in Merseyside that empties hoarders homes usually after they've died.
Mr Mensah claims he has found fingernail cuttings, bottles of urine and a basement full of bondage and porn.
Hoarding Disorder was officiallyrecognised by the NHS in 2013 as a disorder that people can suffer from.
The cleaning boss claims it is a rising problem that can happen to anyone no matter your age or class.
From mountains of milk bottles to hundreds of cans of spaghetti hoops, a cleaning business boss has revealed some of the worst cases of hoarding he has seen.
George Mensah, who owns The Merseyside House Clearance company, spends his working days trawling through piles weird and wonderful items collected at people's homes.
The cleaner has the ambitious task of clearing out properties that are overflowing with human waste and clutter, Jars of human faeces, bottles of urine and dead cats are just a few of the gruesome discoveries George has made over the past eight years.
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He said: "Where do I start? We have found jars of human faeces, bottles of urine, a huge amount of custom-made sex toys - in one house the owner was a porn hoarder and the basement was absolutely full of bondage accessories, porn dvd’s and magazines.
“In another, we found eight dead cats, all in shoe boxes.
“Then you get the general waste such as empty plastic milk bottles from floor to ceiling, cigarette butts and newspapers.
“In one house on Merseyside the amount of rubbish was so high, the lightbulb was actually resting on the pile of rubbish.
“And when we got down to the floor there were newspapers from 1987 - she had been hoarding for decades.”
George said the hoarding can't be blamed on a specific demographic, as he has turned up to £750,000 houses filled to the brim with hoarded items.
Sex toys and nail-clippings are among the grisly discoveries George has made.
He added that he and his team learn a lot about the owner of the properties they clean, and some hoarders have specific collector addictions.
He said: “There is always a story behind it.
“They are not just dirty people, there is usually an underlying issue.
“When you clear a hoarder’s house, by the time you walk away from there, you know that individual.
“Because you are delving real deep down into their lives really.
"We know what they like to eat, after finding hundreds of cans of spaghetti hoops, we know what they like to read or what they do.
“There are people who just sit there and order stuff from QVC.
“We’ve seen piles of George Forman grills, microwaves, hoovers - some still in boxes.
“A lot of stuff goes to the tip, but we give a lot to charities as well.”
George launched his business eight years ago, and has been trawling through people's clutter ever since.
Mostly, families of hoarders request the help of George and his team after the death of a relative, however, some referrals are made through social services, the NHS and even the fire service.
George said: “One of our biggest jobs last year and I think one of the biggest hoards in the UK, was a semi-detached house which we cleaned 16 tonnes of rubbish from.
“We found three cars that the family didn’t even know he had, because the property was so overgrown and full.”
However, some discoveries are a little more gruesome and even quite personal.
He added: “When I unlock that door, I don’t know what I am going into.
“On a number of occasions, we have come across containers of urine and even congealed saliva and spit, jars of human faeces and fingernail cuttings.
“Sometimes the smell does really get to you.
“There was a house in Merseyside which we were cleaning for a man whose dad had died and when we had done, we found this loose floorboard.
“When I lifted it up there was a letter from the mistress of the man who lived there, saying that she was pregnant.
“So the son who we were cleaning the house up for actually had a brother or sister somewhere he didn’t know about.
“I put the letter back and didn’t say anything - it didn’t feel like my place.”
A lot of the clutter ends up at the tip, however, some is given to charity
In May 2013 Hoarding Disorder was officially recognised as a mental disorder by the NHS.
And in 2016 the disorder actually claimed the life of two excessive hoarders from Allerton, who perished in a fire at their home, after firefighters were unable to gain entry due to the house being so full of contents.
George, who is also a forensic cleaner, said: “If you get into a car and drive recklessly it is an offence.
“But if you live in a property and you have an electric heater, next to a gas bottle surrounded by piles of newspapers, rubbish, plastics etc then you are living recklessly and that’s the dangerous side of hoarding.
“It can also be sad, especially when you are dealing with people’s houses who are still with us.
“You can’t go in like a bull in a china shop because it’s their property, so you have to respect that.
“There are obviously pros and cons but I absolutely love my job - I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
Long after the police have left a crime scene, and while a grieving family is still reeling from the death of a loved one, there is a big job that still needs to be done.
You see once the body is taken away a lot of people think it is the police or the council’s job to clean up - it isn’t.
Often relatives or landlords are left to deal with the aftermath of a death - violent or otherwise.
That is when they call George Mensah, a crime scene cleaner who specialises in dealing with the mess left behind in a dignified fashion.
He said: “We get the call, we don’t know what it is or where we are going - but it is never easy.
“It is even worse if people die naturally at home, because it becomes their family or landlords job to deal with what is left.
“That is when me and my team get involved.
“We do what needs to be done.”
The 53-year-old runs Merseyside House Clearance, a company that, alongside dealing with hoarders, specialises in after death cleanups, and it is a messy business.
He told the ECHO: “As soon as someone dies they start to decay - and it can be sped up or slowed down by the environment.
“If it is cold it goes slower, but a lot of times people, especially older people, die with the heating on and it just accelerates the process.
“After a few days a body becomes mostly liquid - and muscles and skin start to break down.
“In the worst situations, if they have been there four or five days and the heat is on, it can make a gruesome mess.”
This gruesome scene is often why a body is discovered in the first place.
“The liquid from a body can go through mattresses, carpets, floorboards - sometimes that is how people find out that the person in the flat above them has died.
Obviously, sometimes people spot milk or mail piling up inside the house.”
But after that the most obvious sign that someone has died is the flies.
“People will see wave upon wave of blue bottles on someone’s window as they walk past - like its covered in a black sheet,” he explained.
“That is when they realise something is wrong.”
But while George and his staff can be called to the scenes of the most horrific murders, he explains that most people die in bed, or in an armchair in front of the TV.
“When we turn up at a house we’re always respectful - we’ll talk to the police or the family and try and find out what needs to be done.
“We get to the scene we’re wearing respirators, full body suits and goggles.
“But sometimes the smell is still over powering, so you go in with Vicks Vaporub up your nose to deal with it.”
Sometimes the sudden or tragic nature of a death can make the work harder.
George said: “You can be called to suicides or car crashes and they can be especially difficult.
“What has just happened was a tragedy and often the family wants to come and lay flowers or see the site where their loved one died.
“Well when the police are finished, there is often still a lot of blood and staining.
“It can’t just be washed down the drain - it has to be dealt with properly, especially with the risk of blood-borne diseases.
“So that is when we go to work - it can be particularly difficult I’ve found bits of a human skull or a finger and had to stop and tell the police.”
But despite years in his profession, George still has his fears.
“I can deal with the leftovers after a body has been taken away - I’ve made a living from it,” he said.
“But I could never be a mortician, I just couldn’t be alone in a room and embalm a body.”
But despite the sometimes gruesome work involved George explains that he loves his job.
“It is recession proof“ Also, we can have a laugh sometimes - it is just like any other job you have a laugh, talk about the football - just like other offices you have to pass the time.”
But the specialist - whose company appears in ITV’s Call the Cleaners - isn’t going to be round to scrub your shower.
“I am not really a cleaner - this isn’t a maid’s service,” George said.
“We are waging a war against man’s oldest enemy, germs, and I take it very seriously.”
“Once we got a call from this family asking us to come and handle this job for them,” said George.
“They were stood outside this really grand house, but they wouldn’t go in, they just handed us the keys and said, ‘it is in the basement’.
“It was a full sex dungeon - with chains and crosses on the wall and porn everywhere.
“They asked us to handle it discretely, so we chopped all the equipment to bits and threw them in an incinerator, no questions asked.”
But it isn’t just the dead George has to help, he does a shift for the living as well.
He told the ECHO: “We also do a lot of hoarders - especially older people who ended up in the hospital and can’t go home until their house is clean and hygienic.
“Obviously we do our best not to throw stuff away, just to deep clean everything.
“But the state of some of these places - toilets overflowing with faeces and photos stuck together with the rotten organic matter. “So sometimes you need to bin it.
“But to be honest not enough is done to help these people when the council or whoever first find out and it gets worse and worse.
“Often we can get through to them in a way that people can’t.
“We’re not psychiatrists - I just say ‘when was the last time you had a couple of mates round to watch the match or a lady friend over?”
But despite seeming a little macabre - George explains that his work is really about people.
He said: “When you go through somebody’s things - dead or alive - you get to know them.
“I know more about some people’s Granddad than they do.
“I can tell you what they smoked, drank, what they read and what kind of women they fancied.
“Sometimes you find out stuff that you wouldn’t want to tell the family, so I don’t.
“Better to leave them with their memories.”