Portsmouth pub The Admiral Drake wound up due to five-figure debt to the taxman

THE Admiral Drake pub in North End has been compulsorily wound up by a judge over a debt of more than £26,000 to HM Revenue and Customs.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 4:55 am

It follows seven court hearings against the Kingston Crescent pub’s landlords, Simon and Karen Hughes, beginning with an initial debt of £32,928 in 2019.

The business partners were able to reduce this figure to £26,410 before the judge’s ruling earlier today.

At the last court session in April, the pair were given final chance to settle or pay – but since then ‘there has been no contact’ from the couple, the tax authority's barrister Jessica Powers told the the Insolvency and Companies Court in London.

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Karen Hughes, landlady of the Admiral Drake in Portsmouth, pictured in April Picture: Habibur Rahman

The barrister added: ‘There are significant extra petition debts and in the absence of any communication I am instructed to seek a compulsory order.’

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No-one was present to represent the business.

At an earlier hearing, a legal representative for the Hughes told the court that the December to April lockdown prevented the partnership from settling the tax bill, although ‘there are very good hopes again of obtaining finance in the future to pursue settlement’.

The Admiral Drake, North End, Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Speaking to The News in April, landlady Karen said the previous 12 months had been ‘awful’, with the business throwing away more than £10,000 worth of spoiled stock and shelling out tens of thousands of pounds in overheads just to stay closed during the various Covid-19 lockdowns.

The pub’s landlady of 24 years said then: ‘This (lockdown) we have thrown away £4,000 worth of stock when we closed before Christmas – and we have only been able to claim back about £400 through a government scheme.

‘I know a lot of small business couldn't take another lockdown - and we're one of them.

‘If we go through another lockdown, we won’t open again – we’ll go bust.’

The publicans were contacted today but declined to comment.

The business has now been wound up, meaning its affairs will effectively handed over to an official receiver.

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