AN expanding security firm is eyeing new jobs after experiencing rising demand for its services, The Northern Echo can reveal.

Vinovium Associates says it will soon have at least 60 staff on its books.

The business is known for guarding Auckland Castle, the Kynren open-air show site and Durham Cathedral, but is now reaping the benefits of a Durham County Council framework, which has delivered a security contract and provided more work through word of mouth to monitor a compound.

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Bosses at the business, based on South Church Enterprise Park, on the outskirts of Bishop Auckland, say their locality and familiar touch is increasingly resonating with customers, since Vinovium can be on site quicker than a national operator.

Michael Hole, a director at the company, which is an approved contractor of the Security Industry Authority, said it was seeing a switch in thinking.

He told the Echo: “We have access to some very good people, who are right at the top of the tree.

“We know the name of every member of staff and there is definitely a change in mindset.

“We can do the job but, importantly, we have the local content too and we have some cracking people.

“Companies working with us know when they call, they aren’t going to be passed around.”

The business was formed in 1998 by former police officer Jim Loughran, who remains with the company, with its services including manned guarding, dog handlers, security surveys, and surveillance and CCTV systems.

Mr Hole said he was delighted to see the company continuing to grow ahead of its 20th anniversary.

He revealed the firm, which has a further bank of workers to complement its team, recently worked with training provider Amacus and Bishop Auckland job centre to find new recruits, and also praised Jonathan Ruffer, the man behind the Kynren show.

He said: “We have been able to take people off the dole and get them back into employment, as well as providing continuous training too.

“There are not many firms in Bishop Auckland that employ more than 50 people, and we’ll be up to 60 with the compound work.

“We are still looking to take people out of unemployment.

“Mr Ruffer said he wanted to employ local companies and he has been good to his word.”

Mr Hole also said staff show great allegiance to the firm after it helped with issues such as changing shift patterns to suit transport demands.

He added: “You get that loyalty when you do those little things.”