A property developer from Plymouth has been banned from running companies for eight years after he failed to keep adequate records of his business.

David John Trathen was the director of Rocco Primrose Limited (RPL) which developed housing on an old school site formerly owned by Plymouth City Council.

Formerly known as Trathen Lewis Limited, RPL was first incorporated in August 2013 and traded for around three and a half years before entering into creditors? voluntary liquidation in April 2017 with an estimated deficiency of ?416,353.

Independent insolvency practitioners were appointed to wind up the company but their job was made difficult by the fact that David Trathen failed to deliver adequate accounting records showing the true nature of the company?s business.

Further investigations by the Insolvency Service found that from at least June 2016 to the end of the business in February 2017, David Trathen failed to ensure that RPL maintained adequate accounting records.

This meant it was impossible to account for various payments out of the business, explain the source of credits to RPL?s bank account, what RPL owed to HMRC in taxes, as well as determining the amount of remuneration, if any, received by David Trathen.

In one example, investigators were unable to account for at least ?141,000 of RPL?s income, generated from the sale of 20 building plots of land now known as Lilford Gardens ? the former site of West Park Primary School in Wanstead Grove.

In another example, investigators could not explain why there had been more than ?407,000 worth of expenditure from RPL?s bank account and whether this related to genuine company expenses.

And because of the lack adequate accounting records, investigators could not determine whether David Trathen?s statement of affairs in the liquidation was accurate and the real reason why RPL failed as a business.

As a result, the Secretary of State accepted a disqualification undertaking from David Trathen, and from 1 May 2018, he is banned from running companies, both directly and indirectly, for 8 years.

Dave Elliott, Head of Insolvent Investigations (Midlands & West) for the Insolvency Service said:

Directors have a duty to ensure that companies maintain proper accounting records, and, following insolvency, deliver them to the office-holder.

Without such records, it is not possible to determine whether or not a director has discharged his duties properly, or is using a lack of documentation as a cloak for other wrongdoing.