A pub boss who owned a Lake District pub where you could pay for your pint with vegetables or labour in the garden has been banned from being a director after running companies under TWELVE barred names.
Christopher Hannon faces bankruptcy after two of his businesses went into liquidation. The 58-year-old 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, a court heard how Hannon continued working as the director of 12 companies with the name ‘Coastal’ or ‘Country’.
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The 58-year-old, of Freshfield Road in Formby, appeared before Liverpool Crown Court on Monday (May 15) for sentencing, having pleaded guilty to 12 offences of breaching section 216 of the Insolvency Act, the ECHO reports.
Business Live previously reported how Hannon and his firm Coastal and Country Inns took over the Hare and Hounds pub in the Lake District in early 2020. The pub featured a barter board on the wall showing the price of a pint – that could be bought in return for labour in the garden or local produce such as winter greens, potatoes or carrots.
In an interview at the time, Hannon said: “We want local people to feel the pub is theirs, for food, drink and jobs. Food will be measured in yards rather than miles with as much produce sourced as locally as possible including lamb, beef, damsons, gin and cider.”
Liverpool Crown Court heard yesterday (May 15) how Coastal and Country Inns Limited and Coastal Old Mill Limited were placed into a Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation on March 4, 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.
Andrew Jebb, prosecuting, said 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 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.”
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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