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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Charlotte Hadfield

Landlord banned from running pubs after using forbidden names

A pub landlord was banned from being a director after running 12 companies under prohibited names.

Christopher Hannon, from Formby, was the owner of two pubs under the name Coastal and Country Inns Limited and Coastal Old Mill Limited when they went into liquidation in March 2020. This meant he was banned from running any companies with the same or a similar name for the following five years.

Despite this, Hannon, 58, continued working as the director of 12 companies with the name 'Coastal' or 'Country'. The 58-year-old, of Freshfield Road in Formby, appeared before Liverpool Crown Court today (Monday) for sentencing, having previously pleaded guilty to 12 offences of breaching section 216 of the Insolvency Act.

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Andrew Jebb, prosecuting told the court, how Coastal and Country Inns Limited and Coastal Old Mill Limited were placed into a Creditors' Voluntary Liquidation on the 4th March 2020. This meant it was illegal for Hannon to be involved in another company with the same or a similar name until March 2025.

Despite this, Hannon continued to be the director of 12 companies called 'Coastal' or 'Country' - seven of which were set up after the Creditors' Voluntary Liquidation came into force.

The court heard Hannon was contacted by the Insolvency service on a number of occasions between August 2020 and March 2022 to notify him of the breach, but he failed to rectify this by changing the company names or withdrawing as a director.

Mr Jebb said: "On 18 August 2022 when the decision to prosecute Mr Hannon was made, he still remained a director of all 12 companies."

Nicola Daley, defending Hannon, said while her client had failed to address everything that he should have as a director, this was not a case of dishonesty to avoid financial obligations.

The court heard Hannon, who has no previous convictions, had to close a number of pubs he was running during this time and is now facing personal bankruptcy. He was forced to move from his Formby home to Yorkshire with his wife and son in order to keep his last remaining pub open and continue to employ his staff.

Ms Daley said Hannon will resign from being a company director but is determined to keep his last remaining pub open to make it a viable business. She added: "He is extremely self-critical, ashamed and apologetic.

"He knows he will now be prohibited from being a company director for a period of time. That doesn't mean that he is simply intent on perhaps going back and relying on benefits.

"He wants to continue to work but work also in the appropriate way."

Sentencing, Recorder Graham Wells told the court the offences were brought to Hannon's attention as long ago as August 2020, during which time he and his financial manager were told to "change the name of the company, stop being a director or just stop it."

Recorder Wells said: "You were clearly made aware of what you could do to avoid all of this but you didn't do a thing.

"I accept that this was, as I said, burying your head in the sand rather than dishonesty. I accept that you were in a situation for lack of staff, lack of available people to do the jobs, you had to close jobs and that was your business crumbling around you."

Recorder Wells added: "You're 58, you've got no previous convictions and you've worked extremely hard. You were running businesses and people rely on you for their livelihoods of supplying you or working for you and I consider that to be important."

Hannon was handed an eight month sentence suspended for 12 months. He was also disqualified from being a director of a business for five years.


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