Land in Burnley was part of a multi-million-pound nationwide scam for which six men have been disqualified from being company directors.
The land, described as the “Hollinsfield Development” to the east of Red Lees Road, was one of six sites across the country.
An investigation by the Official Receiver revealed two sales agents used misleading marketing to sell land to people wanting to invest. They let them believe the land would obtain planning permission and increase in value in the future. In truth, there was no likelihood of any of the green belt land being turned over for development.
Six directors were disqualified for a total of 74 years for their part in the land bank scam. As well as the land at Cliviger, customers bought plots at Newton on Ouse, Burscough, Bromsgrove, Cheshunt and Mattishall in Norfolk,paying anything between £7,500 and £20,000 per plot. The investigation revealed scam companies set up to the supply the same land had paid as little as £180 for a plot.
The three supplying firms were run by Mark John Tull and Carl Anthony Bellard, who were banned for 14 years, and, in name only, by Tull’s father Michael Rodney Tull, banned for seven years. The companies supplied land to sales agents who were provided with the marketing material, including ‘white label’ brochures where the sales agents would simply insert their own name and logo.
Sales agent Stephen John Wheeler ran his operation from an office in a well-known London skyscraper and received more than £12m. from unsuspecting customers. He was banned for 14 years.
Two other firms received £1.2m. from customers. Director Christopher Farhat Gill was banned for 14 years and Imran Rasool, a director in name only, was banned for 11 years.
Insolvency Service senior examiner Matthew Stone said: “All the land banking companies brought misery and in some instances, tragedy, to unsuspecting members of the public, who were persuaded to part with their savings in exchange for virtually worthless plots of land. Every single customer has lost their money in what was a horrendous investment.”