thanks for your prompt reply and apologies in getting back to you.
i have now got three replacement remotes, all used and in varying states of filth, grime and stains etc, and i would not touch them as a health risk.
i have lodged two complaints about the filthy remotes, and in getting a third filthy remote, i have given up on virgin media customer service and sorted out the problem by purchasing a brand new remote from an online retailer.
its a bad day when a one man band trading from a self storage unit, provides a sealed, brand new remote (with two batteries) within 2 days of ordering for under a fiver.
i find it a bit mystifying that virgin media customer services cannot sort out a simple problem within three attempts.
on the bright side i must say that the virgin tv control app worked wonderfully whilst i was without a remote, and thumbs up for that.