'We want our money back after Prospect Auction Rooms closure'

Daily Echo: AWAITING PAYMENT: Barbara Plant, who is owed more than £800, outside Prospect Auction Rooms. AWAITING PAYMENT: Barbara Plant, who is owed more than £800, outside Prospect Auction Rooms.

TO some they were heirlooms that would have helped provide a needed financial legacy for grandchildren.

But now Hampshire families who handed over goods to sell at an auction house fear they will not get any of their money back.

Among those who lost out after the business collapsed are families who say they are owed thousands of pounds.

Now they are calling for an investigation after a Daily Echo inquiry revealed that the boss of the auction house is planning to start up a similar business ten miles away.

It comes after the Prospect Auction Rooms in Alresford closed with the manager Charlie Evans saying he was not to blame and that the receivers are due soon to work out the debts.

But when approached by the Echo yesterday the Southampton-based Official Receiver said it had no knowledge of the firm.

It has also emerged that Mr Evans has submitted plans to Winchester City Council for a change of use of the Furniture Warehouse in Easton Lane, Winnall, to expand the firm.

In his application Mr Evans said: “I started the auction house in Prospect Road three years ago and I have outgrown the premises.”

He added that he intends to employ 15 people, an increase on the ten at Alresford and take on a ten-year lease.

The building was being marketed for an annual rent of some £60,000. The Alresford base is believed to have cost £8,500 a year.

News that Mr Evans plans to start a new business while owing thousands has angered creditors.

Susanna Lyle, of Canon Street, Winchester, said she is owed £20,000.

Mr Evans sold belongings from her mother’s home after her death, including a set of Waterford glass worth about £12,000.

She said: “He cleared the house and said ‘don’t worry’.

This is part of the grandchildren’s inheritance. It is monstrous that people can do this.

I’m really upset.

“My father was Maurice Jones, chairman of Hampshire County Council, who in the Second World War was a Japanese prisoner of war.

“These possessions were from someone who did good for Hampshire.”

Another, owed around £700- 800, who asked not to be named, added: “It is going to be very difficult for him to start another auction business if he still owes a lot of money. We will do whatever we can to stop that.”

Meanwhile, Barbara Plant, of Sarum Road, Winchester, said: “An awful lot of my things have been sold and I have no money to show for it.”

And Patrick Edworthy, 74, of Ropley, said he was owed around £300 for china that had been sold.

He said: “Looking back I should have taken my things to a charity shop.”

Also angry is Joan Davis, of Fleming Road, Weeke, who handed over a 75-piece Royal Worcester china collection.

It sold for £190 but she has not seen her money.

The warehouse in Prospect Road, Alresford, was reopened last Friday to allow people to retrieve unsold goods.

Mr Evans was not present – he told the Daily Echo last month that he was “too unwell”.

He said it will be opened again between noon and 2pm tomorrow.

Prospect Auction Rooms also ran a house clearance business, called C&G Clearance.

The latter is run by Mr Evans with Gemma Sharp, who according to Mr Evans is the owner of the auction house. Mr Evans describes himself only as the “manager”.

Ms Sharp has been unavailable for comment.

Neither Companies House nor the Official Receiver has any record of Prospect as it is not a limited company.

A Companies House spokeswoman said issues with “sole traders” were handled by Trading Standards.

City council records show that he first discussed the plans for Winnall with Simon Finch, head of planning, in late September.

Hampshire Trading Standards has received complaints but would not confirm if it is investigating.

Police said that at the moment it is a Trading Standards matter.

Since the planning application was submitted two weeks ago Mr Evans has been unavailable for comment.

But when news of the closure of the auction house was revealed he said: “I am so sorry it has not worked out, but it is not my fault that receivers will have to come in.”

He said he was unaware of how much he owed: “I will have to sit down with my accountant.

I am trying to pay people off. If I had the money I would do.

“I feel absolutely sick about it.”

Are you owed money from the auction house? If so, let us know. Contact Andrew Napier at the Daily Echo on 01962 860836 or email andrew.napier@dailyecho.co.uk

Comments (10)

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10:55am Thu 13 Dec 12

Big Mac says...

The Prospect of any return really doesn't look too promising.
The Prospect of any return really doesn't look too promising. Big Mac
  • Score: 0

10:55am Thu 13 Dec 12

MGRA says...

since auction houses never actually own the assetts they are auctioning, this is a simple and clear case of theft.... and should result in a speedy prosecution. Possibly one of the easiest cases the Police will ever have.
since auction houses never actually own the assetts they are auctioning, this is a simple and clear case of theft.... and should result in a speedy prosecution. Possibly one of the easiest cases the Police will ever have. MGRA
  • Score: 0

11:45am Thu 13 Dec 12

userds5050 says...

MGRA wrote:
since auction houses never actually own the assetts they are auctioning, this is a simple and clear case of theft.... and should result in a speedy prosecution. Possibly one of the easiest cases the Police will ever have.
I'm not sure about that. They haven't stolen the goods have they? They've sold them on their behalf and then the company's gone bust. Bit naughty setting up down the road though.
[quote][p][bold]MGRA[/bold] wrote: since auction houses never actually own the assetts they are auctioning, this is a simple and clear case of theft.... and should result in a speedy prosecution. Possibly one of the easiest cases the Police will ever have.[/p][/quote]I'm not sure about that. They haven't stolen the goods have they? They've sold them on their behalf and then the company's gone bust. Bit naughty setting up down the road though. userds5050
  • Score: 0

12:22pm Thu 13 Dec 12

Inform Al says...

userds5050 wrote:
MGRA wrote:
since auction houses never actually own the assetts they are auctioning, this is a simple and clear case of theft.... and should result in a speedy prosecution. Possibly one of the easiest cases the Police will ever have.
I'm not sure about that. They haven't stolen the goods have they? They've sold them on their behalf and then the company's gone bust. Bit naughty setting up down the road though.
'Sold on their behalf' which means that at some time they were in possession of their clients money. I don't think I would have great difficulty proving theft.
[quote][p][bold]userds5050[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]MGRA[/bold] wrote: since auction houses never actually own the assetts they are auctioning, this is a simple and clear case of theft.... and should result in a speedy prosecution. Possibly one of the easiest cases the Police will ever have.[/p][/quote]I'm not sure about that. They haven't stolen the goods have they? They've sold them on their behalf and then the company's gone bust. Bit naughty setting up down the road though.[/p][/quote]'Sold on their behalf' which means that at some time they were in possession of their clients money. I don't think I would have great difficulty proving theft. Inform Al
  • Score: 0

1:09pm Thu 13 Dec 12

userds5050 says...

I'm pretty sure you sign some sort of contract when you sell your items at auction. If they then sold the goods in good faith it's not theft. You'd have to prove the auction house knew they were going bust and still continued to sell the goods.
I'm pretty sure you sign some sort of contract when you sell your items at auction. If they then sold the goods in good faith it's not theft. You'd have to prove the auction house knew they were going bust and still continued to sell the goods. userds5050
  • Score: 0

2:20pm Thu 13 Dec 12

acid drop says...

If that was to happen to me,I'm afraid Mr Evans would be introduced to my mate, his name is Baseball Bat.
If that was to happen to me,I'm afraid Mr Evans would be introduced to my mate, his name is Baseball Bat. acid drop
  • Score: 0

3:08pm Thu 13 Dec 12

bazzeroz says...

Oh dear. Going, going, GONE!!
Oh dear. Going, going, GONE!! bazzeroz
  • Score: 0

4:59pm Thu 13 Dec 12

Inform Al says...

userds5050 wrote:
I'm pretty sure you sign some sort of contract when you sell your items at auction. If they then sold the goods in good faith it's not theft. You'd have to prove the auction house knew they were going bust and still continued to sell the goods.
That could apply to a few customers, the numbers apparently involved would point towards an offence under the theft act
[quote][p][bold]userds5050[/bold] wrote: I'm pretty sure you sign some sort of contract when you sell your items at auction. If they then sold the goods in good faith it's not theft. You'd have to prove the auction house knew they were going bust and still continued to sell the goods.[/p][/quote]That could apply to a few customers, the numbers apparently involved would point towards an offence under the theft act Inform Al
  • Score: 0

9:18am Fri 14 Dec 12

The Wickham Man says...

I think you'll find a quiet chat with Mr Evans somewhere private will be more productive than complainng to the paper. He's submitted some plans to WInchester so he won't be hard to trace. Off you go, and don't forget to report back.
I think you'll find a quiet chat with Mr Evans somewhere private will be more productive than complainng to the paper. He's submitted some plans to WInchester so he won't be hard to trace. Off you go, and don't forget to report back. The Wickham Man
  • Score: 0

4:49pm Sat 15 Dec 12

winchester based says...

Businesses go bust evey week, Do you think they all just give up working! No they try and re-set and learn from their mistakes.
Does any one know why they have gone bust? Mr Evans is the manager, it is the owners who owes the money, I bet he is owed money in wages too!
Businesses go bust evey week, Do you think they all just give up working! No they try and re-set and learn from their mistakes. Does any one know why they have gone bust? Mr Evans is the manager, it is the owners who owes the money, I bet he is owed money in wages too! winchester based
  • Score: 0

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