Seven-year ban for Christmas shop director

The director of an all-year-round Christmas shop that went into administration owing £287,761 to creditors has been banned for seven years by Blackpool County Court.

Leo Jones, 62, of Kirkham, Preston, was the director of Hartes Christmas Shop which traded from Bond Street in Blackpool and went into administration in February 2010. He was disqualified by Blackpool County Court on 19 March 2014 for seven years, for delivering inadequate company records to the administrator.

Following an investigation by the Insolvency Service, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills brought disqualification proceedings against Jones.

District Judge Law found that Jones was unfit to be a company director, and disqualified him until 2021. The ban, from 9 April 2014, prevents Jones from being involved in the control or management of a company without permission of the court.

The court heard that as a consequence of the inadequate records delivered up to the administrator by Jones, it was not possible to reconcile banked receipts with the value of stock disposed of, or verify the extent of cash sales.

The court also heard that between December 2009 and February 2010, when Hartes was in arrears with payments to suppliers, Hartes paid £52,000 to another of Jones' companies and £22,613 against credit card accounts not relating to the company.

Robert Clarke, head of insolvent investigations North at the Insolvency Service, said: "The law is very clear that companies must maintain proper accounting records and that, following insolvency, directors deliver those records to the office-holder.

"However, Mr Jones failed to deliver adequate records to the Administrator.

"Furthermore, Mr Jones paid substantial amounts to another of his companies when Hartes was insolvent, to the detriment of legitimate creditors. The consequence of his actions is that he has now been disqualified for a considerable period of time."

When Hartes went into administration on 18 February 2010, the company had assets which realised £15,000 in the administration, and liabilities of £287,761, resulting in a deficiency to creditors of £272,761.

Hartes went into creditors' voluntary liquidation on 14 February 2011, and was dissolved on 30 April 2013.

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It was Christmas every day for that fella!

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