Press release

Decade-long director ban for bogus bobbies

Two directors of a publishing firm have been disqualified for 10 years each, following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

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Thomas Henry Harrison (“Mr Harrison”) an ex –policeman aged 69 and Ian Christopher Hughes (“Mr Hughes”) age 43, of Wrexham, North Wales, both gave undertakings to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills not to be a director of a limited company for 10 years.

Mr Harrison and Mr Hughes were directors of The Emergency Services (Media Department) Ltd (“ESMD”) which was wound up by the Court in the Public Interest on 16 October 2014, owing creditors at least £54,125. The company also had an unknown amount of contingent liabilities from customers who did not receive services or were misled.

In giving their undertakings, the directors did not dispute that they caused ESMD to trade in a manner lacking commercial probity in that:

  • ESMD made misleading marketing claims relating to it acting on behalf of or having an affiliation with the Police and/or the Emergency Services.

  • ESMD provided misleading information in respect of the benefit of placing an advertisement and / or the beneficiaries of money received from advertisements.

  • ESMD misled its customers into believing the Company was raising funds for Emergency Services and that by placing an advertisement the cost was going towards such funds.

  • ESMD misled its customers into believing that funds generated by their sponsorship of a magazine would be used to enable distribution of the magazine to local schools.

  • ESMD misled its customers into believing the Company was raising funds for charities and that by placing an advertisement the cost was going towards such funds.

  • ESMD misled its customers into believing the Company was raising funds against knife crime; drug abuse; alcohol abuse and anti-social behaviour and that by placing an advertisement the cost was going towards such funds.

  • ESMD’s turnover in the accounting periods ended 31st July 2012 and 31 July 2013 totalled £834,687 of which £36,739 was paid to the directors, £179,559 to the shareholders (which include the directors) and £297,097 was paid in sales commissions.

  • In the same period charitable donations totalled £14,630.

Commenting on the disqualification, Ken Beasley, Official Receiver of the Insolvency Service’s Public Interest Unit, said:

The Insolvency Service will not allow individuals who falsely hold themselves out to be public servants to go unchecked. The directors of this company have cynically deprived good causes from receiving generous donations from the public in order to enrich themselves.

Notes to editors

Thomas Henry Harrison’s date of birth is November 1946.

Ian Christopher Hughes’ date of birth is October 1972.

The Emergency Services (Media Department) Ltd “ESMD” (CRO No. 05879638) was incorporated on 18 July 2006. The registered office of ESMD Ltd is currently situated at 2nd Floor, 3 Piccadilly Place, Manchester, M1 3BN. The registered office of ESMD prior to the liquidation was situated c/o Taxassist Accountants, 38 Station Road, Ellesmere Port, England CH65 4BQ. The trading addresses were 30 Lord Street, Wrexham LL11 1LR and Refuge House, 33-37 Watergate Street, Chester CH1 2LB.

Thomas Harrison gave an undertaking in respect of his conduct in ESMD on 26 April 2016 to the Secretary of State not to be a director for 10 years. The undertaking has been accepted and the period of disqualification commenced on 20 May 2016.

Ian Hughes gave an undertaking in respect of his conduct in ESMD on 24 April 2016 to the Secretary of State not to be a director for 10 years. The undertaking has been accepted and the period of disqualification started on 20 May 2016.

A disqualification order has the effect that without specific permission of a court, a person with a disqualification cannot:

  • act as a director of a company
  • take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership
  • be a receiver of a company’s property

In addition that person cannot act as an insolvency practitioner and there are many other restrictions are placed on disqualified directors by other regulations.

Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings.

Further information on director disqualifications and restrictions can be found here.

The Insolvency Service administers the insolvency regime, investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver to establish why they became insolvent. It may also use powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK. 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.

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Published 28 July 2016