DEBT collector Nigel Marsh of March promised to turn over a new leaf as he pledged to return £15,000 to firms across the country. Marsh was subject to an investigation by the Daily Mirror last year.
Leon Livermore of Cambridgeshire County Council who pursued the case against him said: “This is a fantastic result, especially in terms of getting the money back for the people who had lost out.
“The outcome is a tribute to the work of trading standards to support and protect the small businesses that otherwise would have had to write off significant amounts of money.”
Marsh – who also runs a High Street pub called Georges in March – promised he would change his business practices.
Marsh, a director of Armitage Credit Control Ltd, narrowly avoided legal action by the county council when he appeared before Peterborough magistrates. Marsh agreed to sign an Enterprise Act undertaking regarding his future conduct in relation to his debt collection business.
Marsh also agreed to pay back £14,620 to six businesses and meet the council’s investigation costs of £5,000.
Mr Livermore explained that complaints came in from businesses that had employed Armitage Credit Control to collect commercial debts. The debts were collected but then not passed on to the clients.
Mr Livermore said: “This was a particularly tricky investigation as we had to obtain statements not only from those people who had lost money but also the individuals and companies that owed the debts and paid Armitage Credit Control.
“Nigel Marsh had to agree to sign the undertaking before a judge in open court.”
One case spotlighted last year was of a DJ who approached Armitage to collect outstanding fees following the collapse of a commercial radio station. Mick Brown claimed the 15 per cent fee agreed was then upped to 33 per cent plus nearly £1,000 in “miscellaneous” costs plus an extra £25 each time he asked Marsh for an email update.
Last year Marsh blamed Armitage Credit Control’s insolvency and failure to pay creditors on losses at Georges. “Regrettably financial losses in acquiring and refitting Georges resulted in financial difficulties for my commercial debt collection company,” he said.
“Any losses I have made are directly accountable to the unlawful trespassers that occupy it.”
Mr Marsh had a well publicised split with former managers at the town centre pub resulting in him being barred and the police charging him with assault.