A COMPANY that persuaded clients to invest more than £14million in parking spaces near Glasgow Airport has been wound up by the courts.

The legal action against Aston Darby Group Limited was completed "in the public interest" at the High Court in Manchester.

At the same hearing, a connected firm – Drake Estates Property Company Limited – was also wound up.

The court heard that Aston Darby Group sold parking spaces at a site in Harbour Road, Paisley.

It also sold spaces on behalf of Drake Estates at a car park near Manchester Airport.

However, complaints were made about both firms, which led to an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

Investigators from the government agency found that Aston Darby Group began trading in April 2017 and, by December 2019, had sold more than 630 parking spaces at the Harbour Road site for more than £14m.

The court also heard it helped Drake Estates sell around 450 spaces at the Manchester site for more than £11m.

Spaces were sold to investors for £25,000 each, with a guarantee they would make an 11% return over the first two years of their investment in the Harbour Road site.

However, investigators established that these guaranteed returns were paid to the investors from the original investments, rather than income generated by the car park.

The company also made misleading claims in its sales brochures and marketing materials.

Documents claimed the site was already generating yields of 8% and failed to make clear that Aston Darby Group did not own the Harbour Road site when initial sales were made.

Investors were also misled into believing their funds would be specifically used to buy a parking space, when half of their investment was used to fund commission and other charges by the company.

Around £2m raised from investments in the Manchester site was used to part-fund the acquisition of the Harbour Road site without the knowledge of those who invested the cash.

The court accepted that the two companies had operated with a lack of commercial probity and transparency, as well as failing to fully co-operate with the investigation.

David Hope, Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service, told The Gazette: “Aston Darby Group unscrupulously secured millions of pounds worth of investments from members of the public using misleading sales tactics.

“The court rightly recognised the potential damage done to investors by Aston Darby Group Limited selling a flawed business model and has acted swiftly to shut the company down.”

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