Suspended jail sentence for banned building boss

Grant Prior 2 years ago

A joinery boss has been given a suspended jail sentence after breaching his disqualification order and illegitimately managing three building companies in Staffordshire.

Michael Ashton,63, of Staffordshire, appeared at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court before HHJ Fletcher where he was sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.

The court heard that in October 2013, Ashton was disqualified from acting as a director for five years.

This ban was in relation to his conduct while a director of CNT Ancillaries Ltd after he failed to ensure the company maintained adequate accounting records.

But Ashton continued to act as a director in breach of his ban and run building companies.

The offences were uncovered when a different company – MA Partitioning, Ceilings & Joinery Limited – entered into liquidation in May 2015.

Investigations by the Insolvency Service found that during various periods from October 2013 until June 2015,  Ashton acted as director of several companies: MA Partitioning, Ceilings & Joinery Limited, Ceilings and Joinery Limited, CNT Joinery Limited and MA Joinery Limited.

Ashton received an additional 10-year disqualification in May 2017 for acting as a director when banned from doing so.

The second disqualification triggered a criminal investigation by the Insolvency Service, which led to him appearing at Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates’ Court at an earlier hearing on 3 December 2020 where he pleaded guilty to three charges of running companies while being a banned director.

At Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court Ashton was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, as well as being, ordered to carry out 60 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £2,500.

Julie Barnes, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: “Michael Ashton knew the restrictions he faced when he was banned in 2013.

“However, he paid scant regard to his restrictions, continuing to work as a director and play an important role in the activities of his companies in direct contravention of his disqualification.

“We take offences such as these very seriously and where appropriate, will not hesitate to bring before the courts those who continue to act in the management of companies whilst banned from doing so.”

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