Lancashire

Two Burnley fuel firms wound down amid fraud claims

Two Burnley-based businesses have gone into administration with the loss of 86 jobs, amid allegations of fraud.

Administrators were called in to fuel distributor Samuel Cooke & Co, founded in 1845, and sister firm Company Fuel Cards following "unexpected losses".

Staffordshire Police is investigating allegations of fraud made by the company against a group of customers.

The firms have 98 employees in total and 12 have been kept on to help administrators KPMG.

Samuel Cooke recorded a turnover of more than £106m in 2010.

'Cash strain'

Administrator Paul Flint said: "The business suffered an unexpected loss in relation to a specific group of customers that impaired asset value and, as a result, placed the business under a significant cash strain.

"The directors reported this position to the police and it remains under investigation.

"This unfortunately had a knock-on effect on its sister company, Company Fuel Cards.

"Despite the best attempts of the directors, they have been unable to find a solvent solution."

Company Fuel Cards customers will continue to receive fuel supplies with no disruption to normal service after the customer list was sold to Direct Fuels, an unconnected company based in Crewe, KPMG said.

They are now seeking buyers for the remaining company assets during the formal wind-down process.

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