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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Cumbrian company had to pay thousands for its 'own' vehicles - court

A businessman has told a court how he had to pay several thousand pounds to buy vehicles which he thought were already his.

Richard Dixon photo
Richard Dixon

Related: Cumbrian accountant David Allen caught in £4m car scam, court told

For more than four years Tony Giles, then owner of MIG Surveying and Construction in Penrith, had been a regular customer of Richard Dixon’s Just Vans company, run from Cocklakes, near Carlisle.

He had bought a variety of vehicles from the firm, paying in instalments after trade-in deals.

But after Just Vans went bust, he said, he discovered that the vans were in fact owned by a finance company because Dixon had himself taken out loans to buy them.

It was then that the finance companies told them that if he wanted to keep the vans he would have to pay them several thousand pounds.

Mr Giles said that his dealings with Just Vans had been “very convenient” and confirmed that if the firm had not gone into liquidation he would have been happy to go on paying the instalments.

Mr Giles was giving evidence on the fourth day of the trial at Carlisle Crown Court yesterday, where Dixon, 45, of Longthwaite Court Far, Warwick Bridge, has pleaded not guilty to four charges of fraudulent trading.

The jury has heard allegations that Dixon landed the banks which financed his business with losses of £4.5 million after he sold 290 vehicles he had not finished paying for.

Prosecuting barrister Jeremy Grout-Smith has told the jury that the 45-year-old businessman, the sole shareholder in Just Vans Self Drive Limited, effectively sold cars and vans even though they did not belong to him because he was still buying them through hire purchase agreements.

“It’s the prosecution case that they disposed of about 290 vehicles and kept the money and they kept the money for the company without telling the banks, which the Crown say was dishonest and fraudulent conduct; and when Just Vans went bust, the banks lost out, as did many of the people who bought those vehicles,” he said.

Dixon was also allegedly guilty of fraudulent trading because he continued to trade when he knew there was a risk that his creditors would not be paid.

The prosecution says that by February 2008, Dixon was carrying on the business of Just Vans even though he knew it was in a “truly hopeless” position and there was a risk that the company would not be able to pay its debts.

The trial continues.

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