Disgruntled horseboxowners are taking legal action against dealer and coachbuilder Wessex Horseboxes after it ceased trading in the face of mounting debts.
The company’s Clevedon premises, owned by North Somerset Council, are now boarded up and three lorries belonging to clients have been reported as stolen from the forecourt.
Bristol horse owner Ken Berry, who paid Wessex Horseboxes a £5,000 deposit to convert his lorry, has engaged a solicitor to try to get his money back.
“Alan Hardy, whoran Wessex, kept saying that he was going to collect the lorry to start work on it but it never happened. He now says that he is unable to do the conversion but has still got my money.
“I believe that he knew he wouldn’t be able to do the work and we’re hoping to prove this in court,” he says.
Judith Thorne is the unfortunate owner of one of the horseboxes, which have disappeared.
“I’m disgusted. I left my lorry with the company for plating, but now I discover that it wasn’t even booked in. The police are investigating the case as a straightforward theft.
“I have since discovered that other people have paid Wessex deposits for work which has not been done and that Trading Standards have investigated several complaints about the company,” she says.
Wessex Horseboxes, a trading name for Lasso Management Ltd, of which Hardy’s wife Linda is a director, has operated under several different names in the past.
Wessex RV Ltd, which traded from the same address as Wessex Horseboxes, was declared insolvent, with debts of more than £11,000 from County Court Judgements alone in 2002.
Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (17 July), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.