Andrew Stansfield, the director of Classic Benz Limited (Classic Benz), based in Westby, Lancashire, which traded as a dealer in classic cars has been disqualified for 12 years for selling cars without the owners knowledge or consent.

The disqualification, which started on 19 September, follows an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

Mr Stansfield (53) of Poulton-Le-Fylde, Lancashire, gave an undertaking to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills that he will not manage or in any way control a company or be a director until 2025.

Classic Benz was placed into liquidation on 28 April 2011 with an estimated debt of 194,023.

The investigation found that between 12 March 2010 and the date of liquidation, Classic Benz sold or transferred at least seven vehicles belonging to customers under brokerage sale agreements without the customers knowledge or consent, and failed to pass on proceeds from the sales of at least 129,250. It was also found that Mr Stansfield benefited from at least one of the transactions. Proceeds from sale of the remaining six vehicles could not be traced as the transactions occurred during the period that the company had been struck off the Companies Register.

In addition, Mr Stansfield failed to maintain, preserve or deliver up adequate accounting records of Classic to the Liquidator. As a result it has not been possible to ascertain and verify certain aspects of Classic Benz trading. In particular there were no details of the companys continued trading between 27 July 2010 and 08 February 2011 when it had been struck off the Register of Companies between. It was also impossible to establish its assets and liabilities at the date of liquidation.

Claire Entwistle, lead investigator for the Insolvency Service, said,

The Insolvency Service will rigorously pursue company directors who deliberately breach the trust of customers and seek to personally gain from such action. Fair treatment of customers and creditors is essential for business confidence which is, in turn, essential for economic growth.

Failure to keep proper records, particularly when a company is entering financial difficulty, is a serious matter and the law rightly treats it as such.

Company directors tempted to neglect their duties in this area should take heed that the Insolvency Service will investigate them and they may be disqualified and be unable to act as directors of a limited liability company.