POOLE company Lush has hit back at a special investigation in a national newspaper, branding it a ‘dirty tricks campaign’ by the fracking lobby.

The Lush cosmetic chain donated £20,000 to protest group Frack Off in 2012, having asked customers of its 105 stores across the UK and Ireland which groups they would like the company to support.

However The Sun has accused Lush, founded in Poole by Mark and Mo Constantine, of double standards after revealing the ethical global cosmetic chain was selling face masks, including Mask of Magnaminty, made from a chemical dug up in large open pit mines in the US.

It claimed five of their products contained bentonite gel – which is used in large quantities by the oil and gas industries.

A statement from Lush said: “This claim is clearly a dirty tricks campaign from the fracking lobby attempting to divert the public’s attention away from the very real dangers that fracking presents.

“All natural ingredients either grow or are dug from the ground.

“Bentonite is a fine earth, or clay as we all know it, so of course it is extracted from the ground; in the same way as the clays for household crockery – the plates and cups in every home – are extracted from the ground.

“Bentonite clay’s main claim to fame is that it can absorb many times its own weight.

“For us that means it can absorb grease from the skin, the emergency services use it as a safe way to mop up dangerous spills and the oil and fracking industry also use it.

“If the fracking lobby are so desperate that they are picking on a natural clay ingredient, we think they must realise that they have already lost the real arguments about fracking.”

Frack Off, which campaigned against test drilling at Balcombe, West Sussex, was one of five groups to receive money.

Some Lush staff joined the demonstrations and last year there were window displays about fracking in all its British shops.