The boss of a security firm which pioneered a CCTV scheme that sees troublemakers shouted at through a loudspeaker has admitted acting as a director while bankrupt.
Heather Cameron Shepherd, who runs Shepherd Fire and Security in Preston with her husband Lance, pleaded guilty to two counts of acting as a director of a company while she was bankrupt and has been disqualified as acting as a director or receiver of a company without the leave of the court for two years.
The couple are well known in Deepdale, Preston, for their role in a revolutionary CCTV scheme in Meadow Street that has helped slash crime in the area and sees wrongdoers told off though a special speaker.
Today they said they wanted to move on from the case roll out the scheme elsewhere.
Michael Woosnam, prosecuting, said the first offence related to a period between August 2008 and October 2010 when Heather Shepherd was a director of alarm company Shepherd Security Ltd, which was based in the former Securicor depot off Stanley Street in Preston city centre, and went into liquidation in 2010.
The second relates to her appointment as a director of their current firm, Shepherd Fire and Security, which employs 22 staff at the same base, between April 2011 and October 2012.
The bench at Preston Magistrates’ Court fined Heather, of Harbour Lane, Warton, £600 and ordered her to pay £1,521 costs and a £15 surcharge.
Today Lance Shepherd, who was cleared of aiding and abetting his wife to commit the offences, said the situation had arisen due to a row over child tax credits dating back to 2007.
He said: “These cases only came about because a few years ago we tried to do the honest thing and notify the tax credit people we did not need child tax credit anymore.
“We had decided that although we were not earning a lot as we had just launched our business, we did not need to claim the credits and we informed the necessary people.
“But we got sent a really long form asking why we didn’t need them anymore, and we just did not fill it in.
“They said because we hadn’t filled in the form we had to pay back £4,000 of tax credits we had claimed the previous year, even though we had claimed them legitimately.
“But we could not afford to pay the £4,000 back at once so Heather was declared bankrupt. Since then it has cost us around £60,000 in legal fees to try and fight the case.
“Heather believed the professionals we employed had sorted out her bankruptcy and that she could be a director, but she stopped being a director as soon as we had a letter informing us she couldn’t. I am no longer a director.”
It is the second time this year Mrs Shepherd, of Windy Harbour Farm House, Harbour Lane, Warton, near Preston, has been in court.
In March, she, her husband and their son were banned from being company directors for failing to pay tax, and in her case for acting as a director while bankrupt following an investigation by the Insolvency Service into their former firm Shepherd Security Ltd.
The Insolvency Service had found the three had failed to pay £186,332 in tax.