High flying stories: Thomas Sinclair

The dissolved businesses of  the editor of the Llanelli Herald, Thomas Sinclair owe unpaid county court judgements totalling nearly £120,000 it has been claimed in an article published by Gareth Davies of Journalism Matters. In the article Gareth Davies claims that Sinclair, the editor of the Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion Herald is linked to a number of businesses that were the subject of large, unpaid CCJs when they were struck off the register by Companies House.

An investigation by Journalism Matters claims that Sinclair, 37, of Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, was in the printing business before he went into newspapers four years ago and that he owned Megaprinter.co.uk Limited, based in Milford Haven (but registered to an address in Reading, Berkshire) which was dissolved in October 2013 with 13 unpaid CCJs amounting to £76,973.

Davies claims that two days later, Sinclair set up an almost identically named company, Megaprinter.co.uk Ltd, which itself was struck off in June 2015 with £13,667 of outstanding CCJs. Other companies including Pembrokeshire’s Best Limited was struck off in September 2014 owing more than £15,000 in unsatisfied CCJs, while Pembrokeshire TV Ltd had an outstanding CCJ of £482 when it was dissolved.

Davies claims to have uncovered a series of companies for which Sinclair was a majority owner, Sinclair Megaprinter PLC and Sintec Milford Haven Limited, which were also dissolved with unpaid CCJs totalling £8,090 and £2,800.

As Davies points out in his article, the process of transferring a business, but not its debts, to a new and similar company – known as phoenixing – is not illegal, although insolvency law restricts who can reuse the companies registered and trading names.

What is most concerning is that former employees have told Journalism Matters a different story to the public image of success Sinclair portrays which they have claimed hides financial problems which meant they were rarely paid on time or in the correct amounts.

In the article Davies goes on to include the testimonies of former employees where they claim that as well as being unpaid and being owed substantial amounts of money, when they messaged Sinclair to query why they had not been paid he  posted photos of himself enjoying a beer in return. Sinclair denies that he posted the images other than as a friendly gesture.

The full article can be found here Gareth Davies Journalism Matters 

 

Do you have information that could help develop this or any other story? Contact garethdavies@tbij.com.

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