People & Business: Don't mess with me...

IF YOU'RE thinking of picking a fight with Jamie Smith, a receiver with accountants Deloitte & Touche, think again; he's got enough tanks, missiles and military aircraft under his control to start a small war.

As well as the Sea Vixen at North Weald pictured above, Mr Smith can call upon two Chieftain tanks, a pair of Bloodhound anti-aircraft missiles ("the only ones in private hands") and a fleet of Second World War bombers, including a Lancaster, a Lincoln and a Mitchell. He also has "a load of old motorbikes".

This is because three months ago Mr Smith was appointed by the UK court to take control of the assets of the David Copley group of companies. Mr Copley, an entrepreneur from the North-east, is being investigated by Hull police over fraud allegations.

Mr Copley's ambition was to buy a Second World War airfield and return it to working order as a tourist attraction, complete with working aircraft.

And, according to Mr Smith, Mr Copley got quite close to fulfilling his dream. "He bought one World War Two airfield in Sandtoft, near Doncaster, and had put down the half million-pound deposit for another, North Cotes in Lincolnshire."

It all went pear- shaped this summer when a group of Mr Copley's American investors launched a legal action to retrieve $13m (pounds 8m) from him. The UK courts then appointed Mr Smith to secure Mr Copley's assets and hang on to them until the issue was settled.

Mr Smith says news of his new-found arsenal has caused quite a stir. "A lawyer friend of mine rang me up when he heard about the receivership and wanted to buy one of the tanks, because he used to be in the Tank Regiment," he says. "But I have no power to sell. I'm just making sure the assets are secure until the legal action is settled."

Until then, don't step on Mr Smith's toes...

WILLIAM HAGUE can huff and puff as much as he likes about how Britain should reject European monetary union. I wonder if the fervently Eurosceptic Tory Party leader realises that the new GCHQ, Britain's most important spy centre, is being funded by that bastion of old London town, Deutsche Bank.

The pounds 300m-plus contract to replace the spy centre in Cheltenham was awarded yesterday to a consortium including Tarmac, Group 4 and BT. Indeed, Tarmac proudly put out a press release to that effect.

The Tarmac announcement failed, however, to mention that private finance for the project will be provided by Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest bank.

As Basil Fawlty would say: "Don't mention the war."

At least it should give the Tory Eurosceptics something to chew on. Perhaps they could get Baroness Thatcher to open it.

LAST WEEK I reported how the global financial crisis had prompted Merrill Lynch to scrap their planned Christmas party at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. Now I hear that the investment bank has told its staff not to use mobile phones as they are too expensive.

But how can they phone for taxis? Hang on, they've just been banned from using taxis as well...

IN INVESTMENT, timing is everything. I can't help thinking that the authors of "Global Bargain Hunting: The Investor's Guide to Big Profits in Emerging Markets" could have picked a better moment to publish their book in the UK.

Burton Malkiel and JP Mei, the American authors, have just brought their tome out via Penguin at pounds 18.99. The book's blurb declares that "emerging markets have established themselves as some of the most exciting investment opportunities available".

Oh dear. The pair go on: "From Chile to China, Indonesia to India, developing countries around the world are experiencing significant economic expansions - often several times greater than the growth rates of the West."

To be fair, the authors do admit in the introduction to the UK edition: "In the year since the original edition... was written, emerging markets, especially those in Asia, have been affected by extraordinary turmoil." They add that investing in emerging markets needs "strong stomachs".

Pass the Setlers, please.

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Swimmer also charged with crossing double land lines and excessive speeding
News
people
News
i100
News
moneyForbes 400 list released
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style