HMRC pursues bust scrap metal firm Eric France for £47m debts -luxury cars, houses and watches sold at auction

Stade France 'Sponsored by Eric France.
Stade France 'Sponsored by Eric France.

Luxury sports cars, property and watches have been sold off by the liquidators of a scrap metal firm which went bust last year.

Details of items sold off or auctioned to pay the debts of JKL Wakefield Ltd, which traded as Eric France Metal Recycling, are revealed in papers filed at Companies House.

The company was the main sponsor of Wakefield Wildcats when it called in the administrators in February 2013, leaving the club with a six-figure gap in its finances.

A liquidator’s progress report shows that HMRC is pursing the company, which was based in Ossett, for more than £47m.

Its debts to the tax authority were estimated to stand at £21m in unpaid VAT when the firm went into administration.

The report said £348,350 had been raised from the sale of motor vehicles previously owned by the shareholders.

The report said: “These included high-value vehicles including a Porsche Panamera and McLaren MP4-12C.”

Two watches and a mobile phone were sold for £7,500 via an online auction.

The company’s former premises at Embassy Works, on Church Street, was sold off for £445,000.

Scrap metal stock recovered from the site went for £118,342.

A residential property owned by the firm was sold for £90,000, and two others owned by shareholders Kathleen France and Jody Firth were being marketed for around £1.5m and £1.4m, the report says.

The report said: “It is anticipated that there will be sufficient funds to make a distribution to unsecured creditors.

“HMRC are the largest creditor in the liquidation by a significant margin with a submitted claim in excess of £47m.”

Rugby League Club Dewsbury Rams was also sponsored by Eric France and Ossett Town’s stadium was named Stade France under a deal with the company.

All of Eric France’s 18 employees were made redundant when it went bust with what the liquidators said at the time were “significant historic debts owed to HMRC.”