Ban for former fuel boss

No fuel for sale at Alnwick Motorway Services Garage at Cawledge, Alnwick.
No fuel for sale at Alnwick Motorway Services Garage at Cawledge, Alnwick.

The former boss of an Alnwick petrol station, which was often out of fuel, has been banned from working in business for six years.

Paul Kenneth Abbott began running Alnwick Motorway Services, at Cawledge, in June 2012, but the garage closed towards the end of that year.

Now he has been disqualified from running a business until 2020 by the Government’s Insolvency Service (GIS) after he was found to have paid himself £160,000 from the accounts of Northumberland Fuel Services (NFS) Limited, of which he was a director, despite knowing it couldn’t pay the creditors.

The GIS states that as of December 31, 2011, NFS’s balance sheet records that the balance owed to Abbott was £70,890.

Between January 2012 and September 2012, he invoiced NFS for consultancy fees of £10,000 per month, and in October 2012, invoiced for consultancy fees of £5,000.

On July 18, 2012, NFS paid him £75,000, meaning he was owed a maximum of £90,890 by NFS in October 2012.

At the start of September 2012, Abbott signed NFS’s accounts for the period March 1, 2011, to December 31, 2011. The accounts recorded net losses of £73,198, and net liabilities of £73,196.

The accounts included a statement that since December 31, 2011, NFS had incurred unanticipated additional setup costs, and had experienced ‘cash flow issues in July/August 2012 which resulted in a further cash injection from the landlord which was charged against the lease’.

On September 29, 2012, NFS’s first repayment to its landlord – the Northumberland Estates – fell due. NFS did not make this payment, or any further payments. Between October 12, 2012, and October 19, 2012, Mr Abbott took £165,000 from NFS. He paid £11,000 to NFS between October 30, 2012, and November 30, 2012, leaving a net payment received of £154,000.

On January 14, 2013 – the date of the winding up order – NFS had total liabilities of £987,137. He took £6,450 from NFS after this date.

The site, now operated by Rontec, reopened in February.