Cash has started flowing in from collapsed contractor Lancsville, after an auction was completed this month that saw nearly 500 items of plant sold

Several tower cranes and JCBs were among 460 pieces sold, totalling “many hundreds of thousands of pounds”, according to auctioneer Edward Symmons.

But the 990 creditors, which are owed a total of £23m, may face a long wait yet, administrator Vantis warned.

Administrator Nick O’Reilly said most of the money would be used to pay the administrator’s fees, before the largest creditor, Agilo – which is owed £8.5m – was paid back.

A report released by Vantis in February revealed that former employees of the failed firm could face investigation if missing assets, including tower cranes and plant equipment, were not found.

O’Reilly said it was still unclear which plant remained unaccounted for, as some sites could still legally use Lancsville’s plant and machinery until the projects were complete. “This makes it harder to ascertain what plant we have and what is missing.”

O’Reilly added that creditors could be forced to wait for at least another year, until the projects were completed, before finding out whether they would receive any money.

Lancsville, which had a turnover of £139m in 2009, was put into administration in December.