A FORMER winner of a Hartlepool Mail-backed competition is expanding his business.
Ray Liddell rose to prominence when he won the Mail-backed If we can, you can competition in 2009 thanks to one of his products called The Cactus.
The Cactus is a plastic spike which can be fitted to fences to make life difficult for intruders.
Five years on, his two firms - Cactus and Solutions-Injection Moulding - are expanding into a second factory on the Hunter House Industrial Estate in Hartlepool.
Ray, 43, said: “The Cactus is going really well and it is 30 per cent up on last year. It should be a record year particularly because of the good weather we are having.”
Ray is “looking at export opportunities” and is doing it by arranging to ship pallets out to countries including Germany, Spain and France.
It is easier to replenish stock in the countries he does business with, but Ray is also expanding in other ways. He has planning permission to build a new factory next to the premises he already runs.
It will serve both the Cactus business and Solutions-Injection Moulding which Ray set up in 2003 to manufacture plastic injection mouldings.
He said the 2,500 sq ft factory would mean the storage and handling of goods could be handled better over a bigger site.
But there’s a second reason for the expansion. Ray explained: “If we want opportunities to come, we need a bigger unit.”
Ray hopes to have the new unit ready by June and has hopes of expanding his workforce from five to six people.
Ray famously hit the headlines soon after his competition success. He foiled the antics of the monkeys of Gibraltar.
The Barbary Macaques were stealing underpants from local washing lines until residents bought hundreds of Ray’s award-winning plastic spikes which solved the problem.
The Cactus has also helped to solve similar headaches on the Algarve, in Portugal, where seagulls where making a mess over local houses.
Ray had originally been running Cactus Products from a unit at Usworth Road, in Hartlepool where he also operated Solutions-Injection Moulding from the same premises.
But the Cactus became so successful, he moved to the site where he has now expanded into a second unit.