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More than 1,500 visitors to summer shows last year are £20 out of pocket after buying tickets for a Salford horsebox company’s prize draw.

ABI Horseboxes set up the draw offering participants the chance to win a brand new 7.5tonne, six-berth horsebox worth £100,000.

But the company has gone bust and was put into liquidation on Thursday (20 May).

“We’re a family company and it’s devastating,” said Rebecca Gaskell of ABI Horseboxes.

“But we haven’t sold a horsebox since November and can’t keep supporting the business with personal loans.”

The draw was scheduled for Olympia last December, but had to be postponed as only 1,300 of 6,000 tickets had been sold.

Notices were sent to creditors on 28 April and the Salford-based company is now in the hands of Cowgill Holloway accountants in Manchester.

A spokesman for Cowgill Holloway said the horsebox had been sold by ABI with the intention of building a replacement to use for the raffle prize, but the company ceased trading before this could happen.

“It looks like the 1,300 creditors from the prize draw are unlikely to receive a dividend,” said liquidator Jason Elliot of Cowgills.

“However, all those who bought tickets are welcome to lodge their claim with us.”

Ticket-holder Tracy Mutton said: “It’s very disappointing but that’s the risk you take with a competition. It’s really sad for a genuine family business to be in this situation.”

But H&H reader Judy Behl said she had been concerned about the prize draw.

“I had a sneaking feeling that it was a scam. I suspect that unless we make a fuss, these people will get away scot-free with our cash.”

H&H spoke to Manchester police and Salford Trading Standards but no formal complaints had been lodged against ABI.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (20 May, 10)