Press release

Company that claimed non-existent emergency services link is shut down in the public interest

A company which falsely claimed an association to emergency services in order to induce small businesses to place advertisements in its publications has been wound up by the High Court in Manchester.

placeholder

The court ordered The Emergency Services (Media Dept) Limited into liquidation on 16 October 2014, following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

Commenting on the case, Colin Cronin, Investigation Supervisor, said

The Emergency Services (Media Dept) Limited created an impression that it was running a national campaign or initiative when, in truth, the magazine it produced was merely a mechanism by which the company raised money from members of the public by way of systematic and deliberate misrepresentations.

These winding up proceedings show that the Insolvency Service will take firm action against companies which operate in this manner.

The Court heard that the company cold-called small businesses and requested them to place an advertisement in a magazine, known as React. In doing so, a number of serious misrepresentations were made to advertisers including that:

  • Telesales callers falsely stated or implied that they were from or affiliated to the Police or the emergency services
  • The company falsely stated that it was raising funds for the emergency services and that the cost of the advertisements would contribute to such funds
  • The company falsely stated that the React magazine would be distributed to local schools or used by the Police to give presentations in schools regarding drug and alcohol abuse
  • The company falsely stated that the magazine would be distributed to Police forces, university libraries and various public bodies when no such distribution was taking place
  • The company falsely stated that it was raising funds to tackle child abuse, knife crime and other anti-social behaviour

The company received an advertising income of £466,922 in 2013 and £367,765 in 2012 but charitable donations amounted to just 1.8% of these amounts. In contrast, payments to the company’s directors and telesales staff amounted to £308,301 in 2013 and £205,094 in 2012.

Notes to editors

The Emergency Services (Media Dept) Limited - CRO No. 05879638 - was incorporated on 18 July 2006. Its registered office is at c/o Taxassist Accountants, 38 Station Road, Ellesmere Port, England CH65 4BQ.

The petition to wind-up The Emergency Services (Media Dept) Limited was presented under s124A of the Insolvency Act 1986 on 26 August 2014. The Official Receiver was appointed as provisional liquidator of the company on 3 September 2014. The company was wound up on 16 October 2014.

Company Investigations, part of the Insolvency Service, uses powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS). Further information about live company investigations can be found on our website.

The Insolvency Service also administers the insolvency regime, investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver to establish why they became insolvent. In addition, the agency authorises and regulates the insolvency profession, deals with disqualification of directors in corporate failures, assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees, provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice. Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available.

All public enquiries concerning the affairs of the company should be made to: The Official Receiver, Public Interest Unit, 2nd Floor, 3 Piccadilly Place, London Road, Manchester, M1 3BN. Tel: 0161 234 8531 Email: piu.north@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk.

Published 5 November 2014