Claim Compensation For Lifting & Manual Handling Injuries At Work

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Employers must comply with their statutory duties in providing adequate training or risk assessments. If you have been injured through lifting or moving objects, compensation may be awarded in a manual handling injury claim if it can be proven your employer has been negligent.

Table of contents

What is a manual handling injury?

Any workplace task that requires an individual to lift, move or support a load is a manual handling task. The Health and Safety Executive define it as: “Transporting or supporting of a load (including the lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving thereof) by hand or by bodily force.”

Over a third of reportable workplace injuries occur after an incident of manual handling. They represent a large proportion of the accident at work compensation claims we deal with. The majority arise as a direct result of employers failing to pay the necessary attention to manual handling safety. These claims will succeed if it can be shown that the employer has been negligent.

Manual handling injuries can be linked to any work involving the handling of loads, even light items. Those known to be at high risk include care workers, manufacturing staff, agricultural and construction workers. It should be noted however, that any person in any workplace is at risk of a manual handling injury.

Commonly, manual handling injuries involve the back and muscle strains, and can be a very serious matter. They can limit mobility, affect independence and often leave people struggling to work and maintain their usual day-to-day lifestyle. Knowing what to do after an injury at work and making a claim for compensation can help you to recover physically and financially.

What does the law say about manual handling at work?

If employers are tasking staff members to lift items, it doesn’t matter what weight the items are, they must ensure workers are correctly trained and provided with the right know-how and tools to work safely. Further, the employer is responsible for the maintenance and safety of lifting equipment, for example hoists, platforms, or forklifts.

Employers should look at the task to be performed, the working environment and individual capabilities. Staff members should be shown how to lift items safely, and know when something is too heavy to lift alone or without mechanical help.

Manual handling regulations require employers to:

  • Minimise incorrect and dangerous manual handling practices so far as is reasonably practicable
  • Review potentially hazardous manual handling tasks that are unavoidable
  • Ensure that steps have been taken that will minimise and help to avoid the risk of manual handling injury so far as is reasonably practicable

Regardless of the kind of workplace, employers must by law ensure:

  • That staff are adequately trained in how to lift items safely, identify heavy items and be provided with the correct equipment and working environment to follow such training
  • That any equipment provided to staff to enable them to lift heavier items are regularly maintained and repaired
  • That any equipment reported or found to be faulty or dangerous are removed from use

How much weight should one person lift at work?

Health and safety guidelines recommend that no person should attempt to lift an item that exceeds 25kgs in weight without the assistance of a second staff member or hoist.

Trolley’s should also be provided to move items once lifted, as this will reduce the stress placed on the employee’s lower back.

If you work for an employer who expects you to lift items of 25kgs or more without assistance, you are likely to suffer a back injury at work and if so, would have a very strong claim for compensation.

However, some types of back injury, such as a slipped disc, can be caused by lifting light items, so the weight of what you’re lifting isn’t the only factor at play.

When can you make a manual handling injury claim?

Whilst claims are usually associated with jobs that include repeated lifting, such as in warehouses, factories, construction sites and shops, they can happen in any workplace. Even office jobs can see employees suffer manual handling injuries.

Common scenarios leading to manual handling injury compensation include:

  • Employers failing to provide manual handling guidance or training
  • Not advising staff of the risks of lifting incorrectly
  • Forcing people to lift weights heavier than they should
  • Refusing or failing to provide lifting equipment
  • A working environment that prevents people from working and lifting safely

Employers that fail to ensure full training, guidance and a safe ‘lifting and moving’ policy will be liable should any related injuries happen to their staff. Any person injured in this way at work is entitled to make a claim for personal injury compensation, as well as to exercise certain workers rights to help with their recovery.

Why make a compensation claim?

Claiming personal injury compensation can help to ease the problems caused by your injuries. Our claimants are often in a considerable amount of pain, unable to move freely, sleep comfortably or work and earn their regular salary. Recovering from manual handling injuries can take many months, and it is often the case that victims never feel like they have fully recovered and discomfort is felt whenever they attempt any physical task or need to lift items.

As well as claiming a financial settlement if you have been injured at work, compensation can also help you in other ways:

  • Making a claim is your legal right, and fairly compensates you for injuries that were not your fault
  • It can pay for private medical treatment and rehabilitation therapies to speed your recovery
  • It can make up for lost income now and in the future if you are prevented from working again

As all claims are made on a No Win No Fee basis, you will never be charged if your claim does not succeed.

Specialist rehabilitation therapies

Once your solicitor has obtained an admission of liability from your employer’s insurers, your claim will succeed. At this point, your solicitor can look to help you to recover more quickly by obtaining specialist rehabilitation therapy. In the case of a manual handling injury, such rehabilitation would most likely involve osteopathic, chiropractic, physio or massage therapies. Any treatments will be provided at the expense of the third party dealing with your claim.

Compensation amounts

Settlement values vary from case to case, and are comprised of what are known as general and special damages. General damages cover the injury itself and the effect it has on your life. For instance, whether the injury affects your ability to earn money, do your job, perform your usual activities outside work and how long you are likely to experience such problems. Special damages cover the financial costs you incur because of the injury – medical treatments, travel expenses, property damage, for example.

The table below provides a guide to average compensation amounts for back injuries suffered at work, not including the special damages element of a claim:

Severity of back injuryCompensation amount
Recovering within a few monthsup to £1,860
Recovering within a few years£1,860 – £6,000
Recovering within 2-5 years£6,000 – £9,500
Permanent symptoms£9,500 – £21,100
Serious permanent symptoms£21,100 – £29,475
Chronic permanent symptoms£29,475 – £53,000
Significant permanent impact£53,000 – £67,200

How Direct2Compensation can help with your claim

If you have suffered a manual handling-related injury at work or anywhere else, it is important to make sure that the details of your accident have been recorded properly. Medical attention should also be sought for any injuries that you have sustained. If you haven’t done this already, we can help you to do so.

Direct2Compensation are experts in managing injury at work compensation claims. We know your rights and can help you to understand whether you are likely to win compensation. We can advise you on important issues and how the no win no fee claims process works.

With our easy to understand claims process and ability to handle your claim quickly, simply and transparently, there are many reasons that make us the right choice when it comes to starting your manual handling claim.

To find out more about your compensation rights or to start your claim today, call us on 01225 430285 or if you prefer, .

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Comments & Questions

Read on for questions and advice about claiming, plus manual handling injury claim examples...

Hi, I had back injury at work due to lifting heavy sofas. I never received any manual handling training but was told to sign a document for manual handling – they said to me if I didn’t sign it that I couldn’t work there. I was expected to lift heavy sofas on my own, this has now resulted in two slipped discs in my back. I also got told that I couldn’t put my accident in the accident book, will I be able to claim?

Ian Morris

The situation you describe is not uncommon – an unscrupulous employer attempting to circumvent their obligations to health and safety at work by trying to avoid providing basic training, and then pressuring you in to signing documents that you should not be asked to sign.

We would very much like to further pursue your claim – you have a considerable back injury as a result of employer negligence and our Solicitors will be happy to advise further.


I have recently started working for a cleaning company as a supervisor who “thrive” on health and safety. Now I have a long standing back injury on my L4/5 discs, which was sustained at my previous work in the NHS and occupational health are aware of this. Now last week I was told to and pestered about putting our cleaning stock away which had quite heavy boxes of industrial toilet rolls on pallets. Now I have only had what we call a tool box talk on moving and handling, I have had no official training on this as it keeps getting cancelled by the company, I do have previous M&H training from my previous post as a healthcare support worker, but not for this company. So I carried out my managers request, I did use a lifting support to carry the heavy boxes correctly, but this has now exacerbated my back injury over the past 3 days, I am now having to take my strong pain relief again. I have actually given notice of termination of my contract due to this training neglect and a deal of pressure put on me, I was off work recently due to ill health, and only just come back and I was “warned” not to take anymore time off sick or they will fail my probation. Is there a probability of a claim of H&S neglect of exacerbations to a previous injury?
Many thanks
Apologies for the long post.
Kind regards

Ian Morris

Whether or not you have previous manual handling training from a previous employer is irrelevant as the new employer has a duty of care to ensure that you are appropriately trained and that any pre-existing conditions are not exacerbated or worsened by the employer.

In this case, you can potentially seek to pursue a claim for the exacerbation of your pre-existing back complaint and we can assist you with this.

It is vitally important that you put in writing the employers failure to provide the appropriate training and of the fact that they have ignored your known health issue and caused you injury.

If you would like to take this further, please call us on 01225430285 or use our website to request a call from us.


Hi, I have been off work with a bad back, I have had an injection in my back. I came back to work and stated on my return to work for that I could do any heavy lifting eg. Beers and wines and to soft drinks. Since I have returned to work, I have been constantly ask to work on the beers, wine and spirits department. And now I am in agony with my back again. Just wondering if there is the chance of a claim.

Ian Morris

How did you injure your back initially? Was that at work, as a result of manual handling duties? If so, it may well be possible to pursue a claim for personal injury compensation for the initial injury and ongoing problems. Employers have a duty of care to ensure that any staff involved in manual handling are provided with the appropriate training and a working environment that allows them to work as safely as possible, with the risks of injury as a result of repeated lifting minimised.

However, it is less straight forward to attempt to take action for the way the employer is handling you since you returned to work and their apparent decision to ignore any recommendations to avoid heavy lifting at this stage.

It is important that you put your concerns about being requested to undertake heavy lifting to the employer in writing and request that such activities are stopped for now.

If you would like to discuss a potential claim for the back injury you have sustained, you can call us on 01225430285 or use our website to get further help from us.


I am a support worker for disabled adults. I started my job in November 2022 but I have received no manual handling training. Despite this, I have been put on the floor to assist work colleagues with rolling residents in bed manually. on 16th Jan I was rolling a resident and felt a severe pain in my back which made me feel physically sick. Due to previously suffering with kidney stones I just put it down to that. I didn’t ask to go home as the team leaders aren’t very approachable and I have heard how they speak about others when they are off sick. So I struggled on through the shift. On my way home, I couldn’t drive and my partner had to come and get me. I went to bed and took strong painkillers. On the 17th January I rang work & told the team leader that I had done something to my back so I couldn’t go in on shift that night.

The following Monday I saw my GP who advised me to go to hospital which I did. I was scanned and found to have fractured my thoracic vertebrae. I have been sending fit notes in to work since and my mental health has gotten worse due to this situation. Now work are asking for me to attend a meeting about when I’ll be going back to work. I never reported this incident in the accident book as I honestly didn’t think it was an injury, plus they not very approachable.

Ian Morris

Your employers failure to provide manual handling training is employer negligence, especially given the physical needs of the job that you were employed to do. We would like to help you to make a claim for personal injury compensation for the injury sustained.

Please go to the form on our website to provide further details and your preferred contact time and we’ll call you to obtain the further details we need to have our Solicitors act on this matter for you.

In terms of the initial accident book entry (or lack of), that is understandable given your previous health issue and the lack of support from the supervisory staff. Have you since put anything in writing linking your thoracic fracture with the incident at work to the employers? If not, you should do so at the earliest opportunity.


Hi, I’ve been in my work for 23 years, constantly lifting heavy objects onto a lorry for deliveries, loading the lorry every day by hand has give me a bad lower back and bad shoulder pains, also I’m still doing this job but it can sometimes be a struggle, have I a case here for compensation?

Ian Morris

If your employer has not correctly trained you in manual handling or not risk assessed your work, you may well have valid grounds to pursue a claim. However, you must make a claim within 3 years of the onset of any injury symptoms. With this in mind, if you have only recently (within the last 3 years) developed injuries or painful symptoms, please contact us for further help.


Hi, wonder if you can help, worked in a care home for 4 years and the past year I have suffered severe back pain due to not supplying proper hoists and I’ve been to doctors pretty much every time on shift for painkillers, meant to be residential home but it’s getting more nursing, last month lift was broke and someone on the lower grown needs hoist to transfer to bed there wasn’t one on that level due to lift broken so we put her in to bed I had fell on the bed and the lady did also on top of me then I felt my neck twist been in pain since that’s happened and I’ve now handed in my notice due to poor moving and handling training I’ve only had 1 training in 4 years and only lasted 2 hours is there any advice please, thanks

Ian Morris

When did you first develop symptoms of back pain? Your employer has been negligent – both in terms of inadequate training and for not providing the correct equipment. However, we need to ensure that you are within the 3 year claim limitation period – which in your case will start at the date of your injury or when you became aware of an injury.

If you believe that your injury symptoms started within the last 3 years, please call us on 01225430285 or use our website to make further enquiries so that we can seek to make a claim for you.


I worked at a place where i had no training on manual lifting, i also drove a forklift which i had no training or certification to use safely ( so did 3 other people, also have no training or license or manual lifting training) I used to do solo deliveries of lifting over 100 kg regularly. I damaged my mid back really painfully and couldn’t lift my left leg, and still struggle. This was 2019. I tried contacting health and safety but they weren’t bothered. I had time off and went to my doctors for a note off work and got sacked, my boss literally said you’re lying. It still hurts 3 year later and i struggle to walk far as it really hurts after a bit. I suffer with anxiety and just give up, and i lost interest in my job well before this happened. What can i do? Thank you

Ian Morris

As your injury was in mid 2019, you are sadly likely to be statute barred and unable to do anything in terms of a claim for personal injury compensation. UK Law requires that any person over the age of 18 MUST make their claim for personal injury compensation within 3 years of the date of an accident or injury being sustained.


Hi, the company i worked for about 2 years ago forced me to run a 2 man machine alone lifting way above manual handling. I was off work about 4 weeks due to it and have posture issues due to the excessive weight. I was wondering if I have I grounds to claim with it been 2 years ago? Only reason I didn’t claim then is because the company punished me for the time off and put me on a final warning.

Ian Morris

You can make a claim at any stage within 3 years of the date of an accident at work. As you were injured 2 years ago, you have sufficient time available to pursue a claim and we would like to assist you to do so. It is important to act quickly as although you have around 1 year available, it is vital that your Solicitor is given ample time to ensure that they can build a robust and strong case for you.

It would be helpful if you could obtain the date of the incident (a month and year would suffice). If you attended your GP at the time, contact the receptionists to ask when you attended for treatment.


I’ve asked the company for dates but they are refusing to give me them saying its not something they keep on record would the date I was at doctors for it be enough?

Ian Morris

The date that you attended the GP is totally acceptable and will give an indication of the date that you sustained injury or developed symptoms severe enough to become problematic.


Hello Ian, I’m working for a company where I am employed as a Web Developer and recently I had to offload a 70ft shipping container which contained over 600 cartons which were between 20-30 kgs each in weight. We had a team of around 7 people to do this. All of the employers responsibilities that are listed above were not carried out. We had no equipment or training for manual handling apart from one forklift that was used to carry cartons from one end of the yard to another the rest were picked up manually and stored in to a container. This took 9 hours with no break to complete this task and due to this I have bruises all over my body and also consistent pain in my neck and back which is a burning/electric type of pain. I had to offload a container 5 weeks prior which is when the pain started and it was just about getting better until this container, do I have a claim from this and how do I go about it? Also, we do not have an accident book in work.

Ian Morris

My initial view is that you do have valid grounds to pursue a claim against your employer on the basis of employer negligence. Not only has the employer failed to provide manual handling training, they have had you lifting items that exceed the safe single person limit of 25kgs.

The lack of an accident book is not a great concern as your injury would not have immediately been obvious to you and no doubt you started to feel or realise that there was an injury 24 hours or more after the lifting. I advise that you inform your employer of your symptoms in writing and link it directly to the heavy lifting and lack of adequate training or equipment along with the weight of the items in question. You should also seek medical attention – a telephone consultation with your GP would suffice – to have the details of your symptoms noted (and you should make sure that your GP knows how the symptoms were caused).

Our Solicitors would be very happy to act for you in your claim on a No Win No Fee basis.


At work I lift bags from 25kg to 50 kg bags. The material fills the bag and is then moved onto a trolley. The problem is that even though I have to lift it up by hand a few inches to put it onto a pallet, this is now causing me intense pain in my fingers and wrists. 50kg! Is it okay to lift this weight in work when I am alone?

Ian Morris

You should not be expected to lift items exceeding 25kg’s without lifting equipment or a 2nd lifter. As such, your employer has been negligent and you have a right to pursue a claim for the injuries/damage caused to your hands and wrists. Your employer is also unlikely to have provided manual handling training – if they had, they (and you) would know that weights exceeding 25kg’s should not be lifted by one person.


Hello. Can I make a claim if a worked a week for a company as self-employed? After lifting a lot of heavy window frames, now I’m having back problems. They didn’t provide me a manual handling training.

Ian Morris

You can claim if you’re self-employed – our Solicitors will be able to pursue your claim as long as the injury has been reported to your GP/Hospital and ideally if the injury has been reported to the employer.


I have acquired severe pains in my right Groin area over the past year at work, and am now off work with a medical certificate.
I am an “online shopper” with Asda supermarket. The trolleys are 8 totes(boxes) high piled up high with everything and vastly overweight. Large big packs of Dog food/cat litter/Alcohol to name but a few items are heavy. We have to push/pull/stop/start our trolleys, to manoeuvre them around the public who also shop in the narrow aisles. I have sustained a medical condition that has prevented me from doing my job of being an online shopper. The trolleys are just too heavy. I am not the only colleague there to suffer, some have sustained back pains.
Soon Asda will be forcing us to use these big trolleys with 10 totes and not 8. Thus increasing the weight and load and amount of items we have to pick/load into trolleys, pull/push around. They are only interested in the profitability element of it all. Not our health or capabilities. They increase the pick rate regularly, and enforce it upon us. Hence, it increases our load and weight within a certain time frame daily.
I have had an ultra sound scan, was referred to a physiotherapist, who has now referred me to an orthopaedic for a consultation.
I broke down in tears at work on Tuesday. Was sent home because of the awful pain I was in whilst doing my job.
I have on a previous occasion told my section Manager who has marked my record at work, but now I cannot return to that Dept, as it will aggravate the pain I am in.

Can you help please? Thank you.

Ian Morris

Your description of your work, workload and weights involved indicates that your situation should be considered by one of our specialist Solicitors in order that they can advise you as to your rights and potential claim for compensation.


For the last two weeks I have been lifting paving slabs up 2 flights of stairs with each of them weighing 40kg each for some balcony’s on a construction site, I’ve done 200 in total. I already had a bad ankle from an injury around 10 years ago and there’s still a metal plate in there. Since lifting them up I’ve had pains in the bad ankle, down both sides of my legs and in my back and neck, also sometimes when looking to the right my neck will twinge and it will go stiff and painful for a week or so. Could lifting the slabs be causing this and would I be eligible for a claim? Thanks.

Ian Morris

Lifting weights of 40kg repetitively is not only dangerous, but being asked to do so by an employer is negligent. The safe lifting limit should not exceed 25kgs without assistance or equipment and there is every possibility that your work has caused a deterioration or exacerbation of your previous ankle injury.

You should make a written record of the injury within your employers accident book and seek medical attention from your GP in order that your current symptoms are recorded on your medical records.


Hi, I recently injured my back, shoulder and elbow at work trying to unload a fire door that was significantly over the weight that my company states is the maximum on their risk assessment, I have been off work for 2 weeks and I’m expected to be off for a further 2 weeks at least on advice from doctor and chiropractor, the door should have been loaded and unloaded with a forklift as per the companies risk assessment also I have not received any manual handling training for over 4 years and none since the company started producing this type of door, do I have any grounds to claim loss of earnings? My company is being very awkward and won’t provide details on the weight of the door and are basically laying the blame with myself. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Ian Morris

You most certainly can recover loss of earnings by pursuing a claim for personal injury compensation against your employers insurance cover. The lack of adequate manual handling training provision is certainly an issue that will cause the employers problems in defending any claim, as would the weight of the door that you were expected to lift and move.

My view is that you have a valid claim and one that should be pursued as your loss of earnings can be attributed to employer negligence.

We appreciate that making a claim against an employer is something that will lead to an element of anxiety as no worker wants to find themselves pitted against their employer. However, the reality is that you should not be concerned about taking legitimate action. Your claim would not directly impact the employer and your colleagues would not have any knowledge that you were pursuing a claim unless you chose to inform them. You cannot be discriminated against by your employer for exercising a legal right to pursuit of compensation for injuries or losses caused through no fault of your own.


I have had a work accident. I have had the claim settled but have back problems 2 years now after the accident. Can i claim as my company have given me no manual handling training and i have just had to give my notice as i feel the job is not helping my back problem.

Ian Morris

You cannot return to the previous claim. If you are claiming that you are suffering a new injury or an exacerbation of a pre-existing condition, you could seek to make a new claim.


I am working for 4 months in warehouse and my back start hurting. My employer didn’t provide any health and safety or manual handling training. Nobody sign any documents about training in warehouse.
Can i claim something from company? And where i should make a complaint about company who doesn’t do manual handling training and health and safety training at all?

Ian Morris

Please call us on 01225430285 for help so that we can start your claim for compensation today. Your employer has been negligent by failing to provide manual handling training and our Solicitors can assist you in claiming compensation for your injury and for any loss of income caused.


I am a 64 year old man who has worked for a company 35 years. In the early days I lifted the old CRT televisions about, my job roll changed in last 20 years to lifting installing washing machines and fridges. I developed bad sciatica 2 years ago and have been on gaberpentin and all sorts of pain killers for this. It has got worse with pain in bottom of my back. Work did provide a sack trolley but this can’t be used all the time. I never had any guidance on lifting and feel this has caused my problem. My employment with the company is coming to a end.

Ian Morris

As long as your symptoms developed within the past 3 years (ideally no more than 2.5 years ago), you can seek to make a claim against your employer on the basis of employer negligence – specifically, the employers failure to provide you with appropriate training to lift and move items safely and a working environment that enabled you to work safely.


I worked for a company who made me run a machine alone lifting weight of 50kg and over. There’s lifting equipment in the department that doesn’t work. I had an injury due to the heavy lifting and now I’ve now got back problems, have I got grounds to claim?

Ian Morris

Your employer appears to have been negligent with their handling of your health and safety in the workplace. As such, you can make a claim.


I’ve been working for only 2 weeks now and haven’t been trained on Manual handling. I’m a Christmas temp working for Argos in the warehouse. I’ve been having to pick up a lot of items, but I recently picked up a rolled up mattress from the ground floor and had to take it all the way up to the top floor which is a flight of stairs.

Ever since that shift my right side of my neck and my my collar bone has been very stiff and it hurts a lot when ever I touch it. I have said to the Manager multiple times that I haven’t done any manual handling training but they brush it off and always say “we will do it soon”.

Today I’ve got a shift 6am till 11am and it’s Saturday 24th and I am in pain. But I have to go to work just incase they fire me but I am in pain and it’s really annoying me. If anyone can help or guide me through what I can do please contact me.

Ian Morris

Whether you are a temporary worker or a permanent worker, an employer has the same obligation to minimise the risk of injury in the workplace. In this case, that would require the employer to ensure that you are given the appropriate manual handling training at the outset of your work with them. As the employer has failed to provide such training and you have sustained injury through lifting, you have a valid right to make a claim for compensation against the employer.

Making a successful claim will not jeopardise your job and will enable you to obtain compensation for the pain and discomfort caused by the injury, access appropriate rehabilitation therapies and recover any associated costs or losses.


I am a 56 yr old woman that has sustained a nasty back injury after manually handling home delivery crates at a supermarket warehouse. The stacks of crates are created and worked manually. I have injured my back performing this exact task over and over again, resulting in a final pivotal moment on September 20th when I felt a serious pain after lifting a very heavy crate over my shoulder to return it to its position. The injury caused me to call in sick for a week and then in the consequent week, I went in but could not perform any of those tasks or even the task of picking as it involves repeated lifting bending, and stretching. I now have a horrible crunching in my lower back and can no longer lift bend stand, lay down, hoover, or do any normal daily tasks without a measure of pain.

Although not completely sure I believe that the maximum weight I am allowed to lift is 25kg and the maximum height of a stack should be only 5 crates. I am no longer working there as of Sunday after I was told that my absence for the back injury created a total of 3 absences in six months and that I would have to attend a review of my performance that could end in dismissal. At that point, I felt it was not worth staying. I gave in my notice in August but stayed on at their request to help out 1 day a week. This period is when the injury occurred. I have since had a call saying that I would not have been dismissed as they take my hard work and general good work and dedication into consideration that I am welcome back anytime.

What is the law concerning manual lifting for weight and height please?

Ian Morris

It would appear that your employer failed you in their statutory duty to provide a safe working environment and minimise the risk of injury. You are largely correct in that any item exceeding 25kgs should be a 2 person lift or be lifted with equipment. Also the lifting of items above certain heights is a matter of interest in this situation too.

Chat with us for friendly, expert advice 01225 430285