Witney bouncy castle boss disqualified for 5 years

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Hannah Louise Mears (35), of Witney, Oxfordshire, was the director of Darkfell Limited, a bouncy castles and inflatables hire company that had previously been known as Funtime Bounce Limited.

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

Darkfell had debts of almost £400,000 when Hannah Mears began acting as the 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.

Hannah Mears, however, adjourned the petition hearing until October before postponing proceedings a further five times. This afforded the company to continue trading while insolvent until 16 September 2016 – over a year after the original petition hearing date.

The constant delays also caused the tax authorities not to proceed with its petition as they were informed that the company would be entering into liquidation or making proposals to their creditors in support of a Creditors Voluntary Arrangement.

The bouncy castle boss finally appointed an administrator on 15 September 2016, who went onto determine that Hannah Mears also caused Darkfell Limited 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 Limited, 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. He was disqualified for three years in 2015.

On 1 August 2019, the Secretary of State accepted a 5-year disqualification undertaking from Hannah Mears after she did not dispute that she had traded with the knowledge of insolvency and to the detriment of the tax authorities.

Effective from 22 August, she is prohibited from being involved, directly or indirectly, in the formation, promotion or management of a limited liability company without leave of the court.

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.

Notes to Editors

Hannah Louise Mears (35), is of Witney, Oxfordshire, and her date of birth is February 1984.

Mark Dennis Mears (47), is of Witney, Oxfordshire, and his date of birth is February 1972.

Darkfell Limited (Company number 07859438), formerly known as Funtime Bounce Limited.

Funtime Entertainment Limited (Company number 06925512).

Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings. Persons subject to a disqualification order are bound by a range of restrictions.

Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct.

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