Sleaford

Boss of bust caravan company tried to hide assets

Bosses of a failed Lincolnshire company tried to hide half a million pounds in assets from a liquidator.

Classic Caravans Ltd, based in Heath Farm, North Rauceby entered voluntary liquidation in October 12 and left behind debts of over £200,000.

Andrew Evans, prosecuting, said the company owned caravans which could have cleared the debts but they lied about their owner.

Liberty Durant, 70, of Bothwell, Glasgow, was disqualified from being a company director but he was illegally involved in the firm and falsely named as the owner of the caravans.

Mr Evans said: “This case arises out of an investigation undertaken by the insolvency services in relation to the liquidation of Classic Caravans Ltd. Durant was the sole shareholder and owner.”

Lincoln Crown Court head that Durant was acting as the sole shareholder and owner despite signing a six year disqualification from running companies in 2011.

He installed Joseph Price as the director but continued to run the company.

The company eventually entered liquidation but investigators found a number of caravans which were not declared on the site.

Mr Evans said: “He was told they belonged to Durant who had stumped up £240,000 for them. There was no mention of this in any documents.

“Had the investigator been informed that these caravans belonged to the company he would not have advised that the company had no assets and should go into liquidation.

“Instead he would have advised that the debts the company owed could be met by the sale of some of that stock. The existence of that stock was deliberately concealed from the liquidators.”

Mr Evans said that a document drawn up by disgraced solicitor Alan Borland, 66, to same that the caravans had been sold to Durant before liquidation.

Borland, Alresford, Hampshire, who had been struck off as a solicitor and jailed for stealing funds from clients, realised the fake document contained glaring errors and went on to produce a second document, which was rejected by liquidators.

Each of the three men admitted a charge of false representation on November 26 2012 in relation to the false document.

Durant also admitted acting as a director between November 2011 and September 2013 while disqualified.

Durant was given a two year jail sentence suspended for two years and disqualified from being a director for 10 years.

Price was given a 16 month jail sentence suspended for two years and disqualified as a director for six years.

Borman was given a 12 month jail sentence suspended for two years and disqualified as a director for five years.

They were also ordered to pay £1,000 towards prosecution costs.

Judge Andrew Easteal told the three men “The criminality was cynical, deliberate, calculated and very poorly executed.”

James Beck, for Durant, said that much of the company’s debt was owed to himself. He said Durant has been made bankrupt and has lost everything.

“This whole business has destroyed his health. He is now dependent on his old age pension. He has no assets left.”

Nicola Hornby, for Price, said he has lost his good character as he had no previous convictions.

She said that since the offence occurred he had suffered traumatic circumstances in his life and has been unable to continue in business.

James Bourne-Arton, for Borman, urged that he should not be disqualified as a director as it would have an impact on his current business.

“He finds himself at the age of 66 with no pension and no savings. He is going to have to continue to work. That is necessary for him to survive financially.”