Disqualification deflates bouncy castle boss

The director of a bouncy castle hire company has been banned for £240,000 of tax offences similar to those that resulted in her husband’s disqualification four years earlier

Hannah Mears, of Witney, Oxfordshire, was the director of Darkfell Ltd, a bouncy castles and inflatables hire company that had previously been known as Funtime Bounce Ltd.

She began acting as director of the company in March 2015 following her husband’s disqualification, and was also director of Mears Holdings Ltd, the sole shareholder of Darkfell.

Darkfell had debts of almost £400,000 when Hannah Mears became a director, and she arranged for a winding-up petition to be presented by a third party, which was due to be heard in August 2015.

In support of the petition she signed a witness statement stating that the company had ceased to trade, had no assets and was therefore not in a position to pay its debts.

However Hannah Mears adjourned the petition hearing until October before postponing proceedings a further five times. This enabled the company to continue trading while insolvent until  September 2016 – over a year after the original petition hearing date.

The constant delays also caused HMRC not to proceed with its petition as it was told that the company would be entering into liquidation or making proposals to their creditors in support of a creditors voluntary arrangement (CVA).

Hannah Mears finally appointed an administrator in September 2016, who determined that she also caused Darkfell Ltd to not pay £240,000 worth of tax, despite paying other creditors over the same period.

Her actions mirrored the conduct of her husband, Mark Mears, who caused Funtime Entertainment Ltd, the forerunner of Darkfell, to trade to the detriment of the tax authorities. Funtime Entertainment owed over £27,000 in tax when it was placed into liquidation. Mark Mears was disqualified for three years in 2015.

Hannah Mears has now been disqualified for five years after she did not dispute that she had traded with the knowledge of insolvency and to the detriment of the tax authorities.

Martin Gitner, deputy head of insolvent investigations for the Insolvency Service, said: ‘Even though Hannah Mears knew the inflatables business had debts, she not only caused the company to continuing trading, but also failed to pay taxes, causing further liabilities to HMRC to be incurred.

‘This disqualification will leave any corporate ambitions Hannah Mears had deflated for many years to come and serves as a warning to other directors that evidence of misconduct could lead to substantial bans.’

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