Crane hirer attacks MP over death fine claim

Grant Prior 12 years ago

Welsh hirer Bryn Thomas Cranes is calling on an MP to stop using its name in her campaign against phoenix firms which fold to avoid paying health and safety fines.

Liverpool MP Luciana Berger has tabled a bill to change the law to stop companies dodging safety fines after an accident by going into administration.

Berger has cited the case of Mark Thornton who died in her constituency after being crushed by a mobile crane supplied by Bryn Thomas Crane Hire in 2007.

The company went into a pre-pack administration in January 2011 and a court case into the tragedy was heard in April 2011.

The company was bought out by its directors after the administration and now trades as Bryn Thomas Cranes.

Bryn Thomas Finance Director Derek Hook said the administration was “legitimate and unavoidable”.

He said the company secretary and its administrator detailed the financial pressures the firm was under at Liverpool Crown Court and these were accepted as genuine by both the HSE and the Judge.

Speaking at the conclusion of the case Judge Gilmour said: “The prosecution accepts that this administration is genuine and the financial position is as described.”

Hook is now calling on the MP to drop the Bryn Thomas name from her campaign which is “endangering more than 40 jobs at the business which generates more than £2.5m for the local economy each year.”

Hook said: “Bryn Thomas Cranes Limited wishes to clarify the position regarding the previous company, Bryn Thomas Crane Hire Limited, following a series of misleading reports generated by Ms Berger’s campaign.

“We have written to Ms Berger to ensure she has the full facts and can see our administration was genuine.

“We have included a letter from our administrator BDO explaining the background to the company’s finances which resulted in a pre pack administration in January 2011. This independent letter shows the financial pressures the company was under at the time.

“These pressures had built up from 2008 when the credit crisis began. Between 2008 and 2010 the company was hit by a perfect storm of reduced bank lending, bad debts and a massive slow down in the construction industry.

“These are the reasons for the administration – not as a means of avoiding punishment that was due to be given in the court case following the tragic death of Richard Mark Thornton in 2007.

“As stated the Judge and HSE accepted this at the court case.”

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