An East Lancs firm that provides security to landlords has been acquired by a commercial security services provider for an undisclosed sum.

Secure Empty Property (SEP), based in Haslingden, has been acquired by The Clearway Group.

The sale provides an exit for investor Mercia Ventures, which backed SEP when it was launched in 2012 using funding from the North West Fund for Venture Capital.

SEP offers a 24-hour security and management service for vacant sites and property, covering everything from installing metal security shutters and alarms to manned guarding and site clearance.

The firm, which also has sites in Northampton and Reading, serves clients throughout the UK including landlords, property agents, pubs, retailers and insolvency practitioners.

The deal will secure the jobs of its 25-strong team and enable founder and chief executive Simon Broadbent to realise his investment in the business, though he will continue to work with the business on a consultancy basis.

Mr Broadbent said: “Having spent over 10 years building a successful business, finding the right partner to ensure we continue our success was important and we have found that in Clearway.

"SEP and Clearway are a good fit, and this move will be beneficial to not only the staff but also our combined customer base.”

Headquartered in London, Clearway is a leading commercial security services provider specialising in protecting people, property and assets employing more than 350 people and with operations across the UK and France.

Peter Eglinton, Clearway’s executive chair, said: “We are very pleased to welcome the Secure Empty Property team into Clearway.

"It offers us the perfect solution to expand our geographical reach and capabilities within the vacant property security side of our business.

“It will enable us to not only provide more support and solutions to our existing customers but also expand our customer base and continue to ensure a high-level of service.

"We look forward to this acquisition supporting our strategy for growth.”

Mercia invested more than £1 million in total in the business from the North West Fund for Venture Capital in three separate funding rounds, and has achieved a significant return on investment.

Will Clark, managing director of Mercia Ventures, said: “Secure Empty Property has established a strong track record since its launch just over ten years ago.

"The deal will open up new opportunities for its growth as part of a wider group, while enabling Clearway to expand its footprint in the North of England.”