Six directors disqualified over East Lancs 'land bank' scandal

Six directors disqualified over East Lancs 'land bank' scandal

Six directors disqualified over East Lancs 'land bank' scandal

First published in News Blackburn Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

SIX directors who operated a 'land bank' involving prime land near Burnley have been disqualified as company directors after a major probe by the Official Receiver.

Land off Red Lees Road, Cliviger, known as the 'Hollinsfield development' had been bought up cheaply and then resold to potential investors as part of a sophisticated but misleading property investment operation, the organisation said.

Like the Cliviger site, similar deals were struck on plots in the Ormskirk, York, Norwich, Bromsgrove and Cheshunt areas, all with little prospect of securing residential planning permissions from local authorities.

The Lancashire Telegraph reported two years ago how a string of companies, with names like Raincode, Boldacre, MRT Land Holdings and Dakota Partners International, had been wound up by the Official Receiver.

Now the government agency has been successful in securing company director disqualifications totalling 74 years for the leading lights in the land banking scandal, which saw plots obtained for as little as £200 each resold for between £7,500 and £20,000.

Carl Anthony Ballard, of Eastleigh, Hampshire, a director of Boldacre and Raincode, and Mark John Tull, of Lowestoft, Suffolk, a director of MRT and Boldacre, and Stephen John Wheeler, of Bridgwater, Somerset, boss of Century Property Group, were each banned from being company directors for 14 years.

Tull's father, Michael Rodney Tull, also of Lowestoft and only connected with MRT, was given a seven-year disqualification.

Christopher Farhat Gill, of Bexley Heath, Kent, and Imran Rasool, also of Eastleigh, directors at Dakota Partners, were given 14 and 11-year bans respectively. Their firm only received income from the sales but they were still pursued by investigators.

Matthew Stone, a senior examiner in the Official Receiver’s public interest unit at the Insolvency Service, said: “All of the land banking companies that we dealt with, have brought misery and in some instances, tragedy, to unsuspecting members of the public, who were persuaded to part with their savings in exchange for virtually worthless plots of land.

“In over seven years of investigating land banking scams, I have not seen a single piece of land that has been sold actually go on to obtain planning permission "Every single customer has lost their money in what was a horrendous investment. Whilst land can obviously be a secure investment, the way in which these companies sell it ultimately means there is no viable exit strategy for their so-called investment."

The investigation also uncovered significant issues with the books and records of all the companies involved, including a lack of documentation to explain payments worth millions to various parties named in the probe.

Comments (5)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

1:41pm Tue 26 Aug 14

mavrick says...

So they walk away laughing all the way to the bank. No mention of them having to pay back the investors. one law for them and one law for us. perhaps they are exempt from paying a victims surcharge?
So they walk away laughing all the way to the bank. No mention of them having to pay back the investors. one law for them and one law for us. perhaps they are exempt from paying a victims surcharge? mavrick
  • Score: 11

3:48pm Tue 26 Aug 14

shirtbox says...

These are only the tip of the icebourg,take a look at land for sale on e-bay,plenty more on there who keep using different names to sell same land.
These are only the tip of the icebourg,take a look at land for sale on e-bay,plenty more on there who keep using different names to sell same land. shirtbox
  • Score: 3

6:47pm Tue 26 Aug 14

zabby says...

Crime does pay I'm starting tomorrow ,might start with a bit of shoplifting see how it goes,then when I know enough I might get in to fraud because it seems to pay well with very little punishment
Crime does pay I'm starting tomorrow ,might start with a bit of shoplifting see how it goes,then when I know enough I might get in to fraud because it seems to pay well with very little punishment zabby
  • Score: 4

1:13pm Wed 27 Aug 14

midas says...

mavrick wrote:
So they walk away laughing all the way to the bank. No mention of them having to pay back the investors. one law for them and one law for us. perhaps they are exempt from paying a victims surcharge?
Perhaps because the OR cannot impose a VS or these weren't criminal proceedings?i
[quote][p][bold]mavrick[/bold] wrote: So they walk away laughing all the way to the bank. No mention of them having to pay back the investors. one law for them and one law for us. perhaps they are exempt from paying a victims surcharge?[/p][/quote]Perhaps because the OR cannot impose a VS or these weren't criminal proceedings?i midas
  • Score: 0

7:50pm Tue 23 Sep 14

Graham6666 says...

One of these men lives nearby and flaunts around in four hi speed vehicles- extending his property using a foreign bank account.... Sickening... And all on other peoples money. These men NEED to be prosecuted ...
One of these men lives nearby and flaunts around in four hi speed vehicles- extending his property using a foreign bank account.... Sickening... And all on other peoples money. These men NEED to be prosecuted ... Graham6666
  • Score: 0
Post a comment

Remember you are personally responsible for what you post on this site and must abide by our site terms. Do not post anything that is false, abusive or malicious. If you wish to complain, please use the ‘report this post’ link.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree