A police enquiry is under way into Pinchbeck furniture manufacturer Lloyd Loom of Spalding Ltd.
The firm, which formerly operated from a factory in Wardentree Lane, is at the centre of allegations over unpaid salaries and at least one unfulfilled customer order, despite payment being made four weeks ago.
A report in the Spalding Guardian of December 31 revealed that production had stopped at Lloyd Loom of Spalding Ltd after plant, machinery and tools were stripped out of the factory earlier in the month.
At the time, the company’s managing director Anthony Draxler confirmed to BBC TV’s Look North programme that production had been moved to a site in Romania because of “equipment problems” at the Pinchbeck factory and a dispute with premises owner Mike Walker.
But Mr Walker denied that his relationship with Mr Draxler had any part to play in the move and said: “We were invited by Mr Draxler’s lawyer to attend the factory on Monday, December 21 when he would allow us to carry out a factory inspection for building insurance purposes.
“When we arrived to carry out the inspection, the doors were open and the employees were wandering around in a daze because all the equipment, tools and machinery had gone.
“All that was left was a van in the middle of the factory and employees who had seen the company’s future literally disappear before their eyes.”
One employee, who asked not to be named, said: “Apart from a payment of £100 a month ago, I’ve not been paid for two months and I had to go round to friends to see if they’d lend me any money.
“The extra income me and my wife need to live on is £300 a week and the only way we’ve got by is through friends lending us money.
“It’s worse than a nightmare to be short of money and have debts multiplying.”
The Guardian asked Mr Draxler to comment on the employee’s claims but he declined.
Meanwhile, a Lincolnshire Police spokesman said: “There is an enquiry under way in relation to this business and an individual involved with it.
“We are working to establish whether any criminal offences have been committed and one man has been voluntarily helping police with their enquiries.
“No arrests have been made.”
• The police enquiry into Lloyd Loom of Spalding Ltd, Pinchbeck, comes at the same time as a customer’s claim of an, as yet, unfulfilled order.
The customer, who asked not to be named, told the Spalding Guardian that he had ordered furniture from Lloyd Loom of Spalding Ltd on Christmas Eve, December 24, and paid for them on December 30.
Emails from the customer and seen by the Guardian stated that almost £750 was transferred from his bank account into that of Lloyd Loom of Spalding.
So far, no goods have been received, but the customer said: “I still have an open line of communication with Mr Anthony Draxler and I emailed him on Monday, January 18, to see if he was able to give me an indication of when the goods will be delivered.
“Mr Draxler phoned me back to say that he had moved his production to a site elsewhere after he found a more competitive rent.
“He also said that I would get my goods at the end of this month or early February, but I’m not holding out much hope of getting my goods.”
Meanwhile, a former export sales manager for Lloyd Loom of Spalding has set out on his own with a new and totally separate business making high-end furniture.
Steve Duncan set up Lloyd Loom Manufacturing Ltd in July 2014 after he was made redundant shortly after Mr Draxler took over Lloyd Loom of Spalding in September 2013.
Four staff who work at Lloyd Loom Manufacturing, based at Stumps Lane Business Park, Spalding, previously worked at Lloyd Loom of Spalding and Mr Duncan said: “We’re doing pretty well at the moment and things are developing nicely.”
End of the line for prestigious Pinchbeck firm