A Wirral-based magazine publisher that falsely claimed to produce magazines supporting the emergency services has been wound up in court.
The Hannay Partnership, which was incorporated in March 2013 and based in Birkenhead, claimed to publish three quarterly magazines in support of the emergency services; To the Rescue, Survivor and On Call.
At the hearing to consider the petition to wind up the business, the High Court in Manchester heard that from February 2015 it had cold-called local companies, societies and schools to sell advertising space in its magazines which, on average, generated around £7,500 per week.
However, sales staff were found to have made a variety of false and misleading claims to prospective advertisers in order to secure their business.
These included staff pretending to be members of the emergency services, misrepresenting the print runs and circulations of the magazines, and claiming that the proceeds from the publications were used for the benefit of the emergency services.
Insolvency Service investigators were told that the company produced 6,000 magazines per year across all editions, which were then distributed to emergency service premises for free.
The investigation found, however, that the company only printed 450 magazines in total in 2017 and 200 during 2018.
Investigators also found no evidence that these copies were distributed to emergency service personnel, or that any financial contribution had been made by the company to the services or associated charities.
The Hannay Partnership had initially been placed into provisional liquidation on 15 May following a hearing at the High Court in Manchester after an application was issued by the Insolvency Service on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
The business was wound up on Friday (2 August) by District Judge Matharu at the High Court in Manchester, following the Insolvency Service’s investigation. The Official Receiver has been appointed as liquidator of the company.
Insolvency Service chief investigator Scott Crighton said: “The Hannay Partnership manipulated the national goodwill towards our emergency services, using deliberately misleading practices to secure revenue that was then not used for the advertised purposes.
"We welcome the court’s decision to wind up the Hannay Partnership in the public interest, stopping this unscrupulous behaviour in its tracks and ensuring that businesses and individuals that choose to contribute financially to our emergency services can do so in confidence that their donations will be passed on.”