PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
After doing a bit of digging the old Jac whiskers are all a-quiver because I suspect something odd may be going on in Pembroke Dock.
FIELD MARSHAL MITTY
You may remember that last year I wrote about Admiral Wing Commander of the SAS Fabian Sean Lucien Faversham-Pullen VC, Croix de Guerre, Iron Cross (1st Class), Purple Heart and the Order of Lenin, who laid out his plans for Fort Hubberstone in Milford Haven. His new company Camp Valour CIC promised to turn the old base into a wonderland for ex-service personnel.
As my description of him might suggest, it was all bullshit from a fantasist named Sean Pullen. To catch up with the relevant pieces I wrote on the subject, scroll down to the section, ‘And finally, who am I?’. Then to, ‘Camp Valour CIC’. Finally, to, ‘Camp Valour’.
But Hubberstone is not the only fort in the area. The Milford Haven Waterway has a number of old fortifications because they defend one of the finest deep-water anchorages on earth. All redundant because Johnny Frog is not going to be sailing with hostile intent up the Haven, and neither is anybody else.
Unlike medieval castles these fortifications from a later era don’t draw tourists, so they just sit there, attracting dreamers and schemers.
UPDATE 10.02.2020: Here’s fresh news received today from the Pembrokeshire Herald.
The problem often is that those responsible for these structures are so desperate to get shot of them that they succumb to the wiles of wide boys and worse. Which is what happened at Milford Haven.
The title document and plan I downloaded last week from the Land Registry website tells us the site is owned by a local couple. So if VR 1844 Ltd has bought the Old Defensible Barracks it hasn’t been registered.
Returning to the Milford Mercury, we are told that, “New owner, VR 1844 LTD, is a mix of history lovers, town planners and property developers who specialize in restoring historic buildings.” On reading that my first thought was, ‘That’s a strange mix’.
The report continued, “VR 1844 Ltd office manager Tanya McDermott said: ‘VR 1844 believe people never truly own a building but are the buildings guardians for a period of time'”. Which also struck me as odd, because in my experience property developers are pretty hot on things like ownership, and profit. They’re certainly not renowned for getting sentimental over buildings.
But there you go, maybe I’m getting old and cynical.
The Mercury describes Tanya McDermott as ‘office manager’, and she’s presumably the wife of one of VR 1844’s directors, Jonathan McDermott. Another director is Emma Jane Morby. McDermott and Morby are also directors of Raglan Gatehouse Developments Ltd, and Raglan 1857 Ltd. Raglan Gatehouse being a similar project to the Old Defensible Barracks in Plymouth.
With Raglan 1857 we find Tanya McDermott listed as secretary.
Jonathan McDermott seems to be respected in his field and I can’t find any other companies where he’s served as a director.
Turning to Emma Morby though we find seven companies in addition to the two Raglan companies and VR 1844 Ltd. These are:
- Thames Valley Property Solutions Ltd, formed 05.09.2007. Since 07.03.2019 all shares held by Joan James who did not become a director.
- Goa Group Ltd, formed 16.07.2015. Looks inactive if not dormant.
- The Inventory Group Ltd, formed 20.07.2015. Application made for voluntary strike-off 23.12.2019.
- Harrison-Homes PD Ltd, formed 25.05.2017. Compulsory strike-off 09.07.2019.
- EV Investments Ltd, formed 11.08.2017. Voluntary strike-off 05.02.2019.
- Eva Estates Ltd, formed 11.08.2017. Voluntary strike-off 05.02.2019.
- Let’s Shield Ltd, formed 24.10.2018. Since o7.03.2019 majority shareholder has been Joan James who did not become a director.
Which means that of those seven companies the only one still breathing with which Emma Morby is involved is Goa Group Ltd, but as I suggest, it’s near the door. I don’t wish to be harsh on Ms Morby, but that’s not a record that fills me with confidence.
THE RICHES OF THE ORIENT
If we go back to the Companies House entry for VR 1844 Ltd and check under the ‘People’ tab, we find, in addition to McDermott and Morby, Lai Heng Seto and Trevor Iain Walker listed as directors. Both are residents of Singapore.
VR 1844 Ltd started life on 14 August 2018 as Muniment Yorkshire Ltd, before becoming Walker Property Developments Ltd in July 2019, and adopting the current name on 2 October. The final change coinciding with the arrival of McDermott and Morby on 23 October last year.
And if you think that Emma Morby has been involved in a few companies in recent years, then Trev’s record will make you see how a real property hot-shot operates.
For after doing some digging I have found no fewer than 28 companies with which Trevor Iain Walker has been involved, and from what I can see, they’re all property companies. Here’s a list of them in PDF format, so click on the links to get the details.
What I find surprising about Trevor Walker’s business record is that the earliest entry I can find for him with Companies House is April 2014, when he was approaching his 52nd birthday.
What had he been doing before April 2014?
You’ll see that his early companies all carried the ‘Muniment’ name. (Muniment being a document or title deed proving claim to land or privilege.) Then there’s a two-year gap from December 2014 to December 2016, before Trev comes roaring back with two companies launched on the same day.
Also note that he was not in at the start with the first company, Muniment Ltd. This was Incorporated 12 September 2013, but as we’ve seen, Walker didn’t join until 8 April 2014. His seat was kept warm for him by Lai Heng Seto, who left on the day he arrived.
Ms Seto, you will remember, is also a director of the Pembroke Dock company.
The companies listed on the PDF document I’ve linked to are all companies of which Walker is or has been a director, with one exception, and that exception is Brigstock Campsite Ltd, a company registered in Northern Ireland. It is included because even though Walker was never a director he did control the company through Muniment Ltd owning most of the shares.
In the absence of Trevor Walker and Lai Heng Seto, Singapore was represented by Jody Cheoy Tho Eu and Lee Hung Lim. But it’s the other director I’d like to introduce, Alfred William Buller.
Buller is the son of William Alfred Buller who died in 2007. In the piece I’ve linked to you read of the ‘Sham Fight’ at Scarva – between King Billy and King James, an annual event that attracts as many as 100,000 people. Alfred Buller is, like his father, a prominent member of the Royal Black Institution who hob-nobs with the Unionist elite. (The ‘Blacks’ are an upmarket version of the Orange Order.)
When he’s not fighting popery and a united Ireland, Alfie (as he is known) is a horse breeder and a businessman. In fact, he’s been a director of almost 200 companies. But he may also be bankrupt, which might put a question mark over his involvement in any company.
Going back to Trevor Walker and looking through his companies’ accounts a few things struck me. Let’s go to the oldest company in the portfolio, Muniment Ltd (current directors: Trevor Iain Walker and Lai Heng Seto), and open the latest accounts.
There you’ll see ‘Fixed assets’ and ‘Current assets’ totalling £9,652,355, which looks impressive, until you work out that 87% of that figure is accounted for by ‘Debtors’ (that is, money owed to the company).
Then, under ‘Creditors’ (money owed by the company), we see the figure £9,409,539.
Take one from the other and we arrive at the ‘Net assets’ figure of £242,816.
Page 7 tells us that Walker has been ‘advanced’ £5,197,757! This of course will be re-classified and appear under Debtors, and therefore Assets.
Go to the accounts for the previous year, 2017, where we learn that more than six million pounds has been taken out by Walker and Seto. Ms Seto is not mentioned by name in the 2018 accounts, so is the £3,578,457 she owes included in the Debtors column?
Will Ms Seto the director be asking Ms Seto the loanee to return the money she so generously granted herself? The same question could be posed to Trevor Walker. But then, when it’s your company, with no other shareholders, you can do what you like. Though to see amounts like that being taken out is unusual.
It makes me wonder where the money originates. Does it come from Singapore, go through the system, and then back to Singapore via Walker and Seto?
It’s worth mentioning that although I’m referring to ‘accounts’, none of these documents are audited, they’re just unverified ‘financial statements’ submitted to Companies House by the directors. In other words, those who are giving themselves millions of pounds.
One of the many failings of the regulatory system in the UK is that a company handling millions of pounds can submit back-of-an-envelope accounts. Or it can be done online. This may, as claimed, ‘remove red tape’, but it also makes it easier for those so inclined to be naughty.
(N.B. I’m not suggesting criminal behaviour by any of those discussed here.)
A WORD TO THE WISE
As with the case I dealt with last week, Anglesey County Council and the Shire Hall in Llangefni, I’m sure Pembrokeshire County Council would like to see the Old Defensible Barracks taken over and developed into an asset for the town.
But Wales sees rather too many ‘developers’ with over-ambitious or downright dishonest schemes. So before Pembrokeshire County Council, the ‘Welsh Government’, or Cadw goes overboard with red carpets and grant funding, I suggest they make a few enquiries.
- Establish who actually owns the Old Defensible Barracks.
- Investigate the business credentials of whoever you deal with and be sure where their money comes from. (Also, where it goes.)
- Only if these enquiries return satisfactory results should you proceed with any project for the Old Defensible Barracks.
♦ end ♦