STARTING a successful family business can seem like a nostalgic and stereotypical ideal.

It is the kind of vision once considered a staple of High Street trade, a father and son butchers, or a family-run grocery store.

Many have been lost to the growth of online retail, big-chain supermarkets and virtual entertainment.

But Glen Hensey, wife Sam, and son Morgan are living the dream after tapping into a wildly popular and ever-growing craze - escape rooms.

For a price, teams of colleagues, friends or families can immerse themselves in a good old-fashioned set of puzzles.

Teams have one hour to solve a series of brain-teasing and oddly satisfying tasks, each one bringing the group a step closer to the ultimate goal of escaping a locked room.

Glen heads up Tricky Escape, which started with two rooms - an escape from an attic and a prison break - in Dovercourt.

The company has now opened its first room in Clacton, which is themed around magic and mystery.

Glen, 44, freely admits it’s a business the whole family can get behind.

Morgan, 17, is enthusiastic, and plays a big part in designing the puzzles and clues.

“That’s part of the reason we decided to do this as we wanted a business the kids would be interested in,” he said. “Morgan has already decided once he finishes college he wants to work full-time.

“He does a lot of the website stuff, as well as helping design the puzzles.”

Sam takes great care in applying the thematic touches to the rooms, sourcing and creating props, pictures and costumes to help create a sense of immersion.

The family completed their first escape room around a decade ago, while on holiday in Spain. At the time the craze had yet to reach the UK.

But the Henseys, from Harwich, were hooked and have now completed around 50 rooms.

Escape rooms flourish partly because of the diversity of the groups taking part.

They play host to stag parties, teenagers’ birthday parties and corporate team-building events.

Glen added: “There are growing numbers of enthusiasts.

“We have had people celebrating their 250th room, people travelling across the country for a weekend away specifically to enjoy escape rooms.

“I have heard of at least one marriage proposal in an escape room - we’re still waiting for our first.

“It is addictive and each room is completely different.

“It also encourages people to work together. Sometimes with family groups it is the kids who pick something up which the adults overlook.”

The Hensey family are already planning their second Clacton room, themed around time travel.

Glen is pleased with the look and feel of the magic and mystery room.

“We considered quite a few themes for that room, but we wanted one where the idea of magic feeds the flow of the puzzles,” he said.

“You also have to consider ‘will it be easy to reset’? We then have two weeks of friends and family attempting it, as well as other owners of escape rooms.

“It is great to get feedback from them, as they also design rooms and give you a very different perspective, they are more honest with what works and what doesn’t.

“There are a lot of variables when teams come in - from the sizes of the groups, to the ages and how well they work together.”

“You might get a team of six who refuse to split up and tackle every clue together.”

The family make sure to watch every team’s escape attempt closely via a camera, so they can offer out support and three available clues where necessary.

“Sometimes it can be really funny to watch how teams work, some people people might figure something out and give a thumbs-up to the camera, we do really enjoy seeing the reactions,” said Glen.

“It is lovely to see how surprised people can be afterwards. I’ll get people shaking my hand and asking how we come up with the ideas. Sometimes you watch people and their so intensely trying to figure things out, you worry they’re not enjoying it.

“But then the excitement comes out when they leave and you can tell they’re itching for another go.”