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Directors jailed for £250,000 recycling scam

Two former directors of a recycling company have been jailed for fraud after obtaining a £250,000 loan under false pretences.

Frederick Arthur Bartlett, 68, and Clive Victor Tayton, 53, were sentenced to 18 and 20 months in prison, respectively.

The pair are former directors of Bionova Recycling, a Devon company that installed organic waste digesters to produce biomass fuel.

In 2013, Bartlett and Tayton successfully applied for a £250,000 loan from the South West Cleantech Co-investment Fund, on the basis that the same amount had been raised by their company.

But it transpired that they had cooked the books to give the impression the money had been raised.

The pair used £50,000 borrowed from an associate and passed it repeatedly through the company’s bank accounts. The lender was duped because it was shown bank statements of the receipts but not the repayments.

Bionova went into administration in April 2014, leaving £970,000 in claims from creditors.

A prosecution was brought at Exeter Crown Court by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (Beis), and sentencing took place on 11 May.

Bartlett and Tayton had admitted a charge of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation at an earlier hearing on 23 December 2016.

In November last year both were disqualified from being a director of a company for 10 years following an investigation by the Insolvency Service, which is run by Beis.

A third Bionova director, Aaron Custance, was disqualified for eight years. Frederick Bartlett’s wife, Marilyn Anne Bartlett, was also disqualified for three-and-a-half years.

Custance was originally indicted along with Bartlett and Tayon, but was found not guilty of fraudulent trading in connection with the company after no evidence was offered by the prosecution. No charges were brought against Mrs Bartlett.

Following the disqualification orders in November, chief investigator Sue MacLeod said: “These are serious cases in which the directors deliberately misled the lender into making loans that it would not have made if it had known the companies’ true positions.

“The directors made misrepresentations that they had introduced money into the companies when in fact they had not.”

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