A FAILSWORTH businessman has been given a four-year ban after falling foul of the taxman.

Just over £77,000 was owed to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) when James Plant Ltd in Oldham went under.

The blame has been laid at the door of former director James Plant, 43, of Glenmore Drive, who now cannot form a company until June 2024.

When an investigation was undertaken by the Insolvency Service, it was found that while more than £184,000 went into the company's bank account between January 2016 and August 2018, this was not used to bring down its tax bill.

Mr Plant had confirmed he was aware of the requirement to submit VAT returns and make payments to HMRC following communication with officials while he was still trading.

An Insolvency Service official says: "The account was closed on 19 September 2018 with a nil balance. An analysis of the company bank statements and expenditure show Mr Plant transferred £109,990 to an associate, withdrew £6,124 in cash and gambled / played games with £13,221."

The same investigation showed the firm had been trading to the detriment of HMRC, in respect of VAT, since February 2014, owing £48,064.

Another obligation to the same agency, for corporation tax, totalled £29,223 by July 2018, when the outfit ceased trading.

Returns were only submitted from March 2013 to March 2016 so the outstanding amounts were calculated based on the firm's figures for those quarters.

HM Revenue was the sole creditor for the company when it eventually went bust, it was confirmed.