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Disqualified restaurant operator gets second ban

A previously disqualified restaurant director has received a second ban for illegally running a restaurant.

Jane Goodfellow, 56, from Yeovil, has received a second ban lasting 12 years and at the same time Clare Watts, 51, also from Yeovil, was banned for five years for allowing Goodfellow to run her cafe and act as a ‘stooge director’.

The company investigated by the Insolvency Service was The Yeovil Wine Vaults Limited, which traded as a licensed restaurant in Yeovil known as the Wine Vaults. The business was incorporated in October 2013 with Watts appointed the sole director, however, the restaurant entered into liquidation less than four years later in March 2017 after it could not pay debts.

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Liquidators appointed to wind-up Yeovil Wine Vaults after it was reported to the Insolvency Service with concerns about the company. Following further enquiries, investigators were able to establish that although Watts was the registered director, Goodfellow was the person running the operation.

Goodfellow, also known by various other names including James, Murphy and Goodchild, was the person dealing with regulators, the local authority, employees and suppliers.

Goodfellow should not have been running the restaurant as she was already subject to an 11-year disqualification order handed down by the courts in March 2006, this was in connection with her conduct as a director of Peaceflight Limited, a printing company.

Both Watts and Goodfellow worked together at Peaceflight Limited and by allowing Jane Goodfellow to run the restaurant, Watts acted as a ‘stooge director’, making her complicit in her former colleague’s breach of a disqualification order.

Further investigations also established that both Goodfellow and Watts failed to ensure Yeovil Wine Vaults filed annual returns, while also being remiss in paying tax or filing tax returns throughout the company’s entire trading period. On 22 February, the secretary of state accepted disqualification undertakings from both Goodfellow and Watts regarding conduct as directors of Yeovil Wine Vaults, with bans coming into effect from 15 March 2019.

Dave Elliott, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “When Jane Goodfellow appeared in court more than 10 years ago, she would have been made fully aware by the judge that she was explicitly banned from acting in the management of a company. But Jane Goodfellow thought she could get round her disqualification when she got her former colleague to act as a stooge director, leaving her to run the restaurant as she pleased.

“However, as the restaurant collapsed their misdemeanours came to light, resulting in significant bans for the both of them. This result should make it very clear to disqualified directors who ignore their bans and continue to act as directors, as well as those who assist them, that they will be vigorously pursued by the Insolvency Service.”

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