THE Insolvency Service has this week had a starring role in a toy story with a difference. It was one that left many families in Yorkshire and the North East not smiling, but fuming – and out of pocket.

But youngsters in Yorkshire and the North East can now look forward to a more merry Christmas this year – after insolvency investigators brought those behind a major festive fraud to court.

The Insolvency Service was among the agencies who stepped in when Santa Claus failed to deliver presents – and Christmas cheer – to families across the UK.

The scam impacted on hundreds of people from Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate, York, Sheffield, Halifax, Huddersfield, Darlington, Middlesbrough, Durham, Newcastle and other towns across Yorkshire and the North East.

They were left with empty Christmas sacks after presents ordered from an online technology website called SavviBuy never arrived, despite payment being taken.

Many Yorkshire and North East families flocked to the website for must-have Christmas gadgets and toys, including PlayStation games consoles, Hatchimals and Apple watches – all at low prices.

They were lured by glowing reviews on online feedback websites, and a promise of delivery before December 23. But when orders failed to turn up, many were given the cold shoulder by online retailer – leading to widespread media coverage.

Investigators from the Insolvency Service revealed that the companies behind the website failed to supply over £3 million of popular toys and gadgets. Many families from Yorkshire and the North East are still out of pocket.

Both firms have now have been wound-up in the High Court by the Insolvency Service. The Official Receiver has been appointed as liquidator.

They were named by the Insolvency Service as Advance Tech (UK) Limited of Rochdale and Chorley; and Clever Technology Limited, of Bridgtown, Cannock.

And, according to insolvency analysts, the directors involved are now facing a sackful of other penalties for their behaviour.

After the liquidation ruling, Scott Crighton, Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “These companies ruined the merriest time of year for so many families, whose children and loved ones were left empty-handed on Christmas morning.

“Thankfully their actions have caught up with them and, through petitioning the court to shut the companies down, the Insolvency Service has prevented them from causing further misery to unsuspecting customers.”

The insolvency petitions were presented under s124A of the Insolvency Act 1986.

The Insolvency Service administers the Government’s insolvency regime, and delivers a range of investigation and enforcement activities, both civil and criminal.

For more information about the work of our licensed insolvency practitioners and businesses recovery teams in Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate and Darlington, please call us on 03300 244 660 or email confidential@walshtaylor.co.uk

Mary Taylor
Director

Mary began working in insolvency for a national accountancy practice in Glasgow thirty years ago and worked in most divisions of the insolvency department.

She then moved to a smaller firm so she could advance her knowledge on a more hands on basis. She moved back to Leeds in 1987 and commenced working with a small firm of accountants and subsequently made partner.

She left in 1999 to set up her own practice, McCann Taylor.
McCann Taylor became involved with the consumer market both in England and Scotland.

Mary sold McCann Taylor in March 2007 and formed Walsh Taylor to concentrate on helping businesses experiencing financial difficulties.

Kate Ellis (neé Breese)
Insolvency Practitioner

Kate has worked in insolvency since 2001 starting out at a firm of solicitors in Leeds and latterly gaining positions within two national accountancy firms.

During this time Kate gained extensive experience in all aspects of personal and corporate insolvency, for the first part of her career specializing in personal insolvency and latterly corporate.

Kate has been with Walsh Taylor since its incorporation in September 2008.

Kate is CPI and JIEB qualified, is experienced in a variety of industries and sectors and is the firm’s joint appointment taker.

Meg Heath
Director

Meg has a background in supporting SMEs, including the raising of finance and advising on organisational change. She is a non-executive director of companies in the private and third sector, including Walsh Taylor.

Previously she was Deputy Fund Director of one of the largest CDFIs in the UK, and has experience of the social enterprise, charity and private sectors. Her experience of assisting companies to survive and thrive has been gained across a broad range of sectors and in companies of all sizes.

In addition to her work at Walsh Taylor she works for other private companies, including non-executive and trustee positions.

Emma Mifsud
Insolvency Practitioner

After graduating from Leeds University in 2005 with a BA Hons degree in Criminology, Emma worked for a regional law firm in both the property department and insolvency and banking department. Whilst doing so Emma gained a Graduate Diploma in Law at BPP University.

Emma then joined a national accountancy firm in 2009 gaining experience in personal insolvency before moving to a Leeds based firm. At this firm Emma specialised in bankruptcies, IVA’s and negotiating informal agreements with creditors. In 2013 Emma gained her CPI qualification.

Since joining the firm in December 2013, Emma has taken on a portfolio of personal and corporate insolvency cases to extend her knowledge and expertise in all areas of insolvency.

In December 2017 Emma become a licensed appointment taker under the Insolvency Practitioners Association, she is JIEB qualified.

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