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Former TV chef flouts trade ban

Paul Heathcote

Paul Heathcote

A former TV chef from Lancashire, who received an MBE in 2009 for services to catering, has been ordered to pay £10,052 for ignoring a trading ban.

Paul Heathcote had been warned by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that unless he put up a cash security to safeguard payment of VAT, he could no longer supply taxable goods or services at his PH restaurants.

Heathcote came to the attention of HMRC when his previous company, The Longridge Restaurant, de-registered for VAT in 2011 owing almost £100,000 in unpaid taxes.

On the same day he registered two new companies, PH Restaurants (Longridge) Ltd and PH Restaurants (Preston) Ltd.

As the new companies posed a potential risk, Heathcote was told to pay a VAT security of £72,190 or stop trading.

Despite written notices telling him the terms of the security requirement, both restaurants continued to trade illegally.

Heathcote faced 30 charges under the VAT Act, and was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £7,052 in compensation to HMRC.

He subsequently paid the £25,018 security required for the Preston restaurant.

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