Press release

Six-year restriction for former snooker star who gambled away £453,200

William Joseph Thorne was handed a 6 year restriction on 01 August 2016 after filing a petition for bankruptcy.


William Joseph Thorne has been handed a 6 year bankruptcy restriction from 01 August 2016 for borrowing £453,200 from friends and acquaintances that he had no reasonable expectation of repaying. He spent the money on gambling which has resulted in his bankruptcy which he filed on his own petition with a deficiency of £601,204.

This follows an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

A bankruptcy restrictions order (BRO) was made by the court, as directed by the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, on 01 August 2016 against Mr Thorne (62) ordering him to be bound for 6 years, by the restrictions set out in insolvency law that a bankrupt is subject to until they are discharged from bankruptcy – normally 12 months – until 2022.

Between March 2012 and March 2015, at a time when he was insolvency with existing debts of approximately £127,285, Mr Thorne borrowed at least £453,200 from a number of friends and acquaintances. All were meant to be short term loans to be repaid in a matter of weeks. Instead Mr Thorne used the money he borrowed to gamble with no realistic expectation that he would be able to honour his agreement to repay the sums borrowed as originally stated.

Commenting on the bankruptcy restriction, Gerard O’Hare, an Official Receiver at the Insolvency Service said:

Where a bankrupt has taken undue risks with creditors’ money, he should not expect to do so without repercussions, particularly when others suffer financial loss as a result.

A bankruptcy restriction in these circumstances will serve to provide creditors with a degree of protection, and it will also act as a deterrent to the bankrupt not to act in a similar manner in the future.

On 19 May 2015 Mr Thorne submitted a petition for his own bankruptcy with a deficiency of £601,204. In addition Mr Thorne states that he has other personal borrowing estimated to total £301,000. Mr Thorne has been unable to provide any contact details for these individuals therefore it has not been possible to include them within the list of identified creditors.

Mr Thorne was interviewed at the Official Receiver’s office at which time he stated that he had a serious gambling addiction for over 25 years and estimates he has borrowed approximately £1m from various friends over the last two years and spent all the money he borrowed to fund his gambling habit.

Mr Thorne told the individuals he was borrowing from that the loan was to ease short term cash flow problems and would be repaid within two months. All of the money was used to gamble and none of the people Mr Thorne borrowed money from received any money back.

Mr Thorne has no assets and as such there is unlikely to be any money for his creditors.

Notes to editors

Mr William Joseph Thorne is of Leicester and his date of birth is 4 March 1954. The Bankruptcy Order was made against him on 21 May 2015 on his own petition.

If the Official Receiver considers that the conduct of a bankrupt has been dishonest or blameworthy in some other way, he (or she) will report the facts to court and ask for a Bankruptcy Restrictions Order (BRO) to be made. The court will consider this report and any other evidence put before it, and will decide whether it should make a BRO. If it does, the bankrupt will be subject to certain restrictions for the period stated in the order. This can be from 2 to 15 years.

These are restrictions set out in insolvency law that the bankrupt is subject to until they are discharged from bankruptcy – normally 12 months and include that bankrupts:

  • must disclose their status to a credit provider if they wish to get credit of more than £500;
  • who carry on business in a different name from the name in which they were made bankrupt, they must disclose to those they wish to do business with the name (or trading style) under which they were made bankrupt;
  • may not act as the director of a company nor take part in its promotion, formation or management unless they have a court’s permission to do so;
  • may not act as an insolvency practitioner, or as the receiver or manager of the property of a company on behalf of debenture holders;
  • may not be a Member of Parliament in England or Wales.

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 from:

All public enquiries concerning the affairs of the bankrupt should be made to: The Official Receiver, Level One, Apex Court, Nottingham, NG2 4LA.

Media enquiries only should be directed to: Ade Daramy, Media Manager on 0207 596 6187.

You can now subscribe to get e-mail alerts from the Insolvency Service. To subscribe, go to our website: and you will see a button to “sign up for email alerts and newsletters”, or click on the following link:

The Insolvency Service is now on twitter, you can follow us at @insolvencygovuk.

Published 3 August 2016