Two directors of a haulage firm with depots in Bristol, Swindon and Abingdon have been disqualified for seven years for failing to submit accurate VAT returns, leading to its subsequent insolvency.

Andrew Emmett and Richard Grimes are both banned from being directors until 2026 following their involvement in D&A Media Bristol, a firm that described itself as a “family run business” delivering full and part loads, as well as offering warehouse space.

It also trunked newspapers such as The Daily Mail, Mirror and The Echo.

The haulier entered administration in June 2018 and insolvency practitioners at Begbies Traynor then began investigating how the £10m business with 90 staff and a fleet of around 100 HGVs came to an abrupt end.

Both Emmett and Grimes were chased for outstanding amounts the administrator believed they had taken from the business and this cumulated in the Secretary of State accepting a disqualification undertaking from both men.

Case details from the Insolvency Service show that both Grimes and Emmett failed to submit the correct VAT returns between March 2014 and August 2017.

Investigations found that the turnover during the years ending March 2013, 2014 and 2015 was a combined £1,239,768 greater than in the corresponding VAT returns.

It also showed that D&A failed to account for output tax on asset disposals during the quarters 11/14 to 11/15, which resulted in HMRC raising assessments of £81,914.

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The report added: “On 5 September 2017, D&A submitted a VAT return for the quarter ending 08/17, for a repayment due from HMRC to D&A of £372,633.

“Following a visit by HMRC to check the return, D&A was unable to evidence input tax or that a supply was received, causing HMRC to disregard the return and issue penalties totalling £274,648.”

It added that following its administration, unsecured creditors were owed £2,147,413, of which £1,096,104 was owed in VAT, including penalties totalling £456,619.

In its most recent report to creditors, Begbies Traynor said it had made attempts to recover sums due to the company and that Emmett’s recent bankruptcy could yield “sufficient realisations…to enable a small dividend to the company”.

It added: “We continue to pursue payment from the shareholder Richard John Grimes and generally undertake investigations to identify any additional realisable assets.”