A DISQUALIFIED director from Somerset illegally ran a wine firm in the county

Jane Goodfellow, 58, and Clare Watts, 54, were both handed suspended sentences at Taunton Crown Court after pleading guilty to running a company while the former was banned.

Goodfellow admitted acting as a director while disqualified and carrying on a business under a prohibited name at an earlier hearing.

She has now been sentenced to four months' imprisonment suspended for 18 months, and ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work. She also saw her disqualification from being a director extended by a further 10 years.

Clare Watts pleaded guilty to carrying on a business under a prohibited name. She was sentenced to 12 weeks' imprisonment suspended for 12 months and fined £200. In addition, she signed an undertaking disqualifying her from being a director for seven years.

Jane Goodfellow was the director of Peaceflight Ltd when it went into liquidation in August 2003. An investigation found she was trading at the detriment of creditors and the tax authorities. She was consequently disqualified from being a company director for 11 years from March 2006.

In October 2013, The Yeovil Wine Vaults Ltd was incorporated with Watts acting as sole director.

Following the company’s winding up in March 2017, the Insolvency Service started confidential enquiries into the conduct of the directors.

The court heard that Goodfellow was acting as an unofficial director of the company. She was described as the "main decision maker" by employees, signing company cheques, dealing with wages and taking responsibility for the day-to-day administration of the business.

Both Goodfellow and Watts were asked to attend an interview to explain their roles in the business but neither agreed.

Glenn Wicks, chief investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: "Jane Goodfellow was well aware of the restrictions she faced as a disqualified director.

"Despite this, she played an important part in the running of The Yeovil Wine Vaults Ltd.

"While Clare Watts was listed as director, she let Jane Goodfellow act as one in all but name despite knowing of her lengthy ban.

"This sentence shows that we will not hesitate to take action against directors who do not follow the rules when it is appropriate to do so and both defendants have been removed from the business environment for a lengthy period."