Latest UK pest control and management news for professionals

25 October 2021

End of an era for Safeguard Pest Control


Following the retirement of Tim Sheehan and Paul Butterick from Safeguard Pest Control, after running the business for over 30 years, we caught up with their team to talk about days gone and the end of an era.


How the story began

Tim Sheehan was educated at Salesian College in Battersea, leaving when he was 17 and making his way to Agricultural College. After 4 years he qualified with an OND in General Agriculture and he went on to become a pig farmer, looking after a large white herd of pedigree pigs in Knockholt.

He did this for about 6 years before joining Rentokil.

Tim left Rentokil and became a house husband, taking care of his three children. In his spare time he started up a pest control company from his kitchen table and after 8 years it had expanded to a stage where the kitchen table was no longer big enough: that’s where Paul came in.

Paul Butterick was already working in pest control, in roles like rodent behavioural specialist for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, and at Rentokil as a technician and a supervisor.

Tim left Rentokil and became a house husband, taking care of his three children. In his spare time he started up a pest control company from his kitchen table...

Tim and Paul had already met at Rentokil, and when Tim’s pest control business began to grow, someone put him back in touch with Paul.

And that’s how Safeguard Pest Control was formed in 1988.

Together they took it from the kitchen table to a multi-million pound company, servicing London and the south east.

In 1991 the company was incorporated and became members of BPCA.

The rest is, as they say, history.

A strong partnership

Malcolm Stowell, UK & Ireland National Operations & Compliance Director for Safeguard, has worked with Tim and Paul for around 32 years, but joined Safeguard in the late 90s.

“Tim was a salesman, through and through - a complete ‘people person’. Paul was the technical man. They had their areas that were their strengths and that made them a good team.

“Their unique partnership landed them some big wins, like getting a contract for installation of bird deterrent systems at London St Pancras. At the time it was the biggest contract for bird management in the UK.”

Malcolm continued:

“They’ve won other big contracts over the years too; we’ve done the Olympics when that was in London, stadiums and river bridges, museums, big clients.”

Described as a modest man, hardworking, passionate and enthusiastic, Paul has dedicated much of his time to revolutionising the approach of London museums to pest control.

He was recently invited to Oxford, to speak to curators of the London and regional museums on rodent behaviour control. This invite was based on his huge success of reducing large populations of mice at the Natural History MuseumV&A and now the British Museum.

He’s achieved virtual pest-free conditions at the Natural History Museum, through dedication, experience and outside-the-box thinking.

Both of them were very well thought of in the industry, their word was their bond

Malcolm Stowell, Safeguard

“There are a significant number of people who will raise their hand, when asked if Paul Butterick has had a positive influence on their pest management career,” says Malcolm.

“He is always there for everyone and during his career Paul has been influential in fleet management, recruiting, training and customer service.”

Tim has also made a huge impact during his career, building some lifelong friendships along the way. 

Many of the original customers are still with Safeguard to this day, which is a tribute to the company he and Paul built, maintaining the same family ethos even as the company grew.

“Both of them were very well thought of in the industry, their word was their bond,” says Malcolm.

Pranks, perks and being valued


Pennie Gadd is Managing Director at Safeguard and spoke highly of Tim and Paul’s management style.

“They were the two most brilliant bosses, they looked after staff in all sorts of ways; not just at work but in their personal lives too.

“They’re just nice people and being successful never changed them. They were still the same, always on the ground and looking after everyone until they retired.”

Paul was responsible for operations and staff retention, and it’s obvious now why Safeguard had among the highest rates in the industry.

“We’ve had a lot of fun over the years. Every year we always have two functions; a summer and a winter event. But these aren’t just going over to the park for a BBQ,” says Pennie.

“Tim and Paul used to take us to Ireland, Edinburgh, places like that. And it was always out of their own pockets, because they loved their staff and they wanted us to enjoy ourselves.”

Pennie and Malcolm even began reminisce about the April Fool’s Day pranks they’ve endured over the years, including the time Paul convinced Tim he had to go to Andorra to bring him home from a skiing holiday.

“Tim and Paul are a rare breed; I’m sure we will be talking about them for years to come.”

...we’ll always be grateful to have had the chance to work with them.

Pennie Gadd, Safeguard

So what does retirement hold for Tim and Paul?

Well according to his colleagues, Tim stars in pantomimes every year and has a love for playing Dames like Widow Twanky.

“Never sticks to his lines though,” laughs Malcolm.

Paul is an avid gardener and knows a great deal about horticulture and plants.

He also has two grandchildren, while Tim has three, so they will both undoubtedly be spending much of their retirement with them.

Pennie said, “We miss them loads already. But they’re still there if anyone needs them, they’ll always take our call.

"They’re the best of friends and the best people to work for ever, so we’ll always be grateful to have had the chance to work with them.

“We love them both dearly and wish them a long and healthy retirement."

Pennie added: "In preparation for their retirement Tim and Paul sold Safeguard to Rollins (Orkin) in June 2016. It was the first UK acquisition for Rollins and secured the future for all of us."


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