Husband and wife team Heather and Lance Shepherd and their son James Shepherd, who ran Shepherd Security Ltd, an alarm company in Preston, have been banned from being company directors for a total of 15 and a half years for failing to pay tax and in Heather Shepherds case only for acting as a director while bankrupt.

The disqualifications, which follow an investigation by the Insolvency Service, were as follows:
* Heather Shepherd banned for nine years
* Lance Shepherd banned for four years
* James Shepherd banned for two and a half years

The longer term of Heather Shepherds ban reflects the fact that, as well as her part in the companys failure to pay tax, she also acted as a director, although not formally appointed, whilst not discharged from bankruptcy. Her bankruptcy was on the petition of HMRC.

Shepherd Security was incorporated on 17 April 2008 and commenced trading in May 2008 as a 24-hour alarm security centre. The investigation by the Insolvency Service found that the members of the Shepherd family failed to pay tax totalling 186,332.

Specifically, Heather and James Shepherd failed to pay tax from September 2008, just a few months after the company commenced trading. Lance Shepherd was appointed as a director of the company from 15 October 2009 and failed to pay tax from that date.

Commenting on the disqualification, Robert Clarke, Head of Company Investigations Birmingham said:

A bankrupt who continues to act as a director when explicitly restricted from doing so, shows a total disregard for the insolvency regime, creditors and the business community. Whats more those directors who fail to pay their taxes are gaining an unfair advantage over other businesses and cheating the government.

The disqualifications of this family for a total of 15 and a half years sends a clear message to others that if they act as directors when not allowed to do so or fail to pay their taxes, then they will be investigated by the Insolvency Service and removed from the business environment.