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Energy firms run by Fleetwood Town chairman Andy Pilley sue for £8.6m over trading standards raids

BES Utilities founder and managing director Andy Pilley, pictured at the firm's head office at Fleetwood Town's Highbury stadium, said legal action has been taken against Cheshire West and Chester Tranding Standards over a 2016 raid at the company's offices
BES Utilities founder and managing director Andy Pilley, pictured at the firm's head office at Fleetwood Town's Highbury stadium, said legal action has been taken against Cheshire West and Chester Tranding Standards over a 2016 raid at the company's offices

Two companies run by Fleetwood Town FC chairman Andy Pilley are suing a Trading Standards team for more than £8.6m.

Mr Pilley today announced legal action had been launched against Cheshire West and Chester Trading Standards after a 2016 raid at the offices of BES Utilites and Commercial Power.

READ MORE: Police and Trading Standards raid BES Utilities offices at Fleetwood Town

It follows a High Court battle that saw BES take on two men accused of waging a three-year hate campaign against the company.

BES founder and managing director Mr Pilley said he believed false information posted online by the pair had triggered the Trading Standards probe, which is blamed for causing reputational damage to the businesses.

He said: “We are delighted our company and our people have been totally vindicated and that this long running online hate campaign is finally at an end.

“Not only was the activity of these two individuals designed to harm the business, but also humiliate loyal staff and colleagues in the most disgusting and hateful way.

“We have no doubt that action taken by Trading Standards in July 2016, in respect of BES and other companies, was informed in no small part by the false information provided by
these individuals.

"We have now lodged a claim for damages against Cheshire West and Chester Trading Standards in the High Court.”

The two men agreed to take down online postings about the company and face being forced to pay £250,000 if they breach a court order banning them from interfering in the companies' business in future.

They also signed a statement saying: “We withdraw any allegation of fraud or dishonesty against Business Energy Solutions Limited and BES Commercial Electricity Limited, their directors, officers, agents, legal advisers and other professional representatives.”

Trading Standards officials and police visited the premises of BES and energy aggregator company Commercial Power Ltd, both founded by Mr Pilley, in July 2016. This included offices in Bispham and BES' head office at Fleetwood Town's Highbury stadium.

The statement from BES added that 18 months on from the raids, no director or employee of BES or Commercial Power, has been interviewed by investigating officers.

A claim for damages in excess of £8.6m in relation to 'significant reputational and financial loss' has been lodged with the High Court by BES and Commercial Power.

A Cheshire West and Chester Council spokesperson, said: “There is an ongoing investigation in to the alleged mis-selling of energy and it would be inappropriate to comment at this stage.”