Land firm wound up

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The Independent Online

A firm marketing plots of land as an investment has been wound up by the High Court in Manchester following investigations by both the Government's Insolvency Service and the Financial Services Authority.

From February 2005 to November 2006, Sinclair Deville Ltd (SDV), offered "investment opportunities" to individuals under a scheme in which fields purchased by the company were divided into plots of land and then sold off.

SDV claimed it identified prime undeveloped land before the granting of planning consent, and the plots were sold with a view to permission being obtained for the site as a whole. Investors were recruited with the promise that the value of a site would rise substantially if planning permission was obtained.

In total, SDV brought in £3.2m from investors but was not legally authorised to offer what constituted an investment product. During the hearing, the court heard that SDV's claims that it only bought land satisfying "stringent criteria" were false. The Insolvency Service and the FSA said there was no professional vetting of sites before they were acquired by the firm.

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