DTI acts over organiser linked to holiday scandals

Click to follow
The Independent Online

An organiser of children's holidays who has been linked to a number of scandals - including the 1993 Lyme Bay canoeing tragedy - should be barred from acting as a company director, the Department of Trade and Industry said in a High Court case yesterday.

An organiser of children's holidays who has been linked to a number of scandals - including the 1993 Lyme Bay canoeing tragedy - should be barred from acting as a company director, the Department of Trade and Industry said in a High Court case yesterday.

Christopher Reynard, 59, was a main shareholder in the children's activity holiday company OLL Ltd, which was fined £60,000 over the Lyme Bay accident in which four teenagers drowned because of "gross negligence" of staff. The firm's managing director was jailed for manslaughter.

The DTI is seeking a disqualification order against Mr Reynard as the managing director of Howglen Ltd, which went into receivership in 1996.

Last October, The Independent revealed that Mr Reynard, from Wareham in Dorset, was still organising activity holidays using a new company and falsely claiming to hold ski-instructor qualifications. Teachers claimed the lives of schoolchildren on his ski trips to Switzerland were put at risk.

It was the most recent in a long history of complaints and legal actions over the safety and quality of holidays organised for youngsters by Mr Reynard.

Gregory Banner, acting for the DTI in the High Court case, said Mr Reynard was unfit to act as a director because of his misuse of company money, his failure to make income tax payments and national insurance contributions on time and his breaches of trading standards legislation. Howglen Ltd had traded while insolvent since 1995, said Mr Banner. The company, which traded as Devon and Dorset Adventure Holidays, and employed 35 people, went bust while owing £2m.

Mr Reynard - who claims he only owned shares in the Lyme Bay company and took no part in its operations - says the publicity adversely affected his turnover but he thought he could continue to trade successfully until the bank withdrew support.

The DTI says Mr Reynard continued to take £150,000 in deposits for holidays in the final year of trading although the company was insolvent, and then used the money as working capital. The department also claims that Mr Reynard paid his wife £1,000 a month, although she had left the company, and he received £100,000 from Howglen in its final year.

The hearing continues today.

Comments