Phoenix companies used to defraud

A gas repairman’s crimes have caught up with him after he used phoenix companies to continue trading after his firm went bust leaving tens of thousands of pounds of unpaid debt.

Nigel Anthony Baxter, 44, of Greenhill Cottages, Mossley, Lancashire, was disqualified as a director for three years, handed 200 hours community service and ordered to pay £4000 prosecution costs at Tameside Magistrates’ Court.

Business minister Ian Lucas said: “We are determined to crack down on rogue traders who flout the law and cheat honest businesses. This prosecution sends a clear warning to would-be fraudsters that they won’t be allowed to get away with their crimes.”

Baxter’s Stalybridge-based firm Baxters Gas Service Engineers went into liquidation in March 2005, facing unpaid debts of more than £42,000.

But just three weeks beforehand he had set up the similarly-named Baxters Gas UK, also in Stalybridge, and continued trading. This firm was wound up in December 2006 leaving another £24,000 in unpaid debts.

Despite repeated warnings he was breaking the law by using similar trading names as his defunct first company, he set up a second “phoenix” company – Baxters Gas – in 2006, which was finally dissolved in January last year.

Baxter was prosecuted by the Department for Business under section 216 of the Insolvency Act on two charges of using a prohibited company name.