Store First assets sold by Official Receiver to Toby Whittaker’s wife

According to the Lancashire Telegraph, the Official Receiver has sold the freehold, associated assets and goodwill of Store First‘s 15 storage centres to Store First Freeholds Limited.

The assets of the service company, SFM Services, have been transferred to Pay Store Limited.

Both Store First Freeholds Limited and Pay Store Limited are wholly owned by Jennifer Whittaker, reportedly the wife of Store First CEO Toby Whittaker.

According to the Official Receiver, the sale of Store First’s assets to companies owned by Toby Whittaker’s wife “represented the best outcome for creditors”. The consideration has not been disclosed.

The deal does not appear to mean any recovery for Store First investors – instead, they get the opportunity to surrender their pod (and the ongoing liability for business rates) with Mrs Whittaker’s company covering their cost.

The deal would also see requests by investors to surrender their pods accepted, with Pay Store covering any of the associated costs but no payments being issued to the former owners.

If you ever needed a clearer illustration that when an unregulated investment stops paying out and winding up orders start flying, you should write it off and expect nothing, this is it.

In this case nothing is apparently “the best outcome for creditors”. A sub-optimal outcome would be for unfortunate store pod owners to get less than nothing by holding a pod that they were unable to generate income from but left them liable for business rates.

A winding up order against Store First was originally launched by the Business Secretary back in July 2017. Store First reached an out-of-court settlement in May 2019.

An investigation into the cause of the collapse of the Store First investment opportunity continues, according to the Insolvency Service. According to the Government’s lawyer in the winding up case, over £200m was invested in Store First from UK pension funds and elsewhere.

25 thoughts on “Store First assets sold by Official Receiver to Toby Whittaker’s wife

  1. The sub-optimal outcome here would also include being stuck with a bleeding wound of a SIPP that you still paid annual charges on, so at least investors can start winding those up too.

    I wonder if there are any pension scheme operators out there still valuing these units at anything above zero? I’d be genuinely interested to hear if there are.

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  2. Yet again another end where those who are involved either get away with it or family/friends appear to get something out of it but nothing- nothing comes of the top dogs to face their disgusting business dealings with those they owe – Make them face their investors!!

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  3. Since the Official Receiver has valued them at £0 and business rates are set based on the valuation presumably the business rate will now also be £0. if so his wife appears to have bagged herself a stonking deal.

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  4. What about all the lives this deplorable family have ruined? Many people have lost their life savings, including the elderly, infirm and war veterans.

    This article is callous to investors that were SCAMMED too citing “If you ever needed a clearer illustration that when an unregulated investment stops paying out and winding up orders start flying, you should write it off and expect nothing, this is it”. So investors are supposed to just suck it up? Be happy they have lost liability along with their life savings for the corrupt Whittaker family to have used to build up their business in the first place? May I remind people Toby Whittaker has been involved in similar scandles including park first amongst others. Why is this vile man not in prison yet? How many more lives is he going to ruin?

    I am going to make it my personal mission to expose this disgusting man to everyone on every social media platform so maybe at least I can spare others investing with this con artist. There is so much corruption in this case. The investors are real people with families and feelings and some have suffered severe ill health as a result of the stress.

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  5. Fucking fraud pure and simple. Why are there people not in prison? Someone will get what’s coming to them sooner or later.

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  6. This article is callous to investors that were SCAMMED too citing “If you ever needed a clearer illustration that when an unregulated investment stops paying out and winding up orders start flying, you should write it off and expect nothing, this is it”. So investors are supposed to just suck it up? Be happy they have lost liability along with their life savings for the corrupt Whittaker family to have used to build up their business in the first place?

    No-one’s suggested they should be happy and suck it up.

    When an unregulated investment goes into administration, recoveries are usually minimal if not nil. That is a simple fact. Facts cannot be callous.

    The exception is if investors were advised by an FCA-regulated adviser or used an FCA-regulated SIPP provider.

    May I remind people Toby Whittaker has been involved in similar scandles including park first amongst others. Why is this vile man not in prison yet?

    Fundamentally. because there is no capitalist country in which it is a crime to run a failed business.

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  7. Why the insolvency serice allowing whittaker wife to take over these storepods are they blind the goverment wound up these stores to protect investors us investors and get our money back from these crooks he has screwed milions of pounds out of people he ruined a lot of lifes some people mental health is not good over this have these people no shame bastards

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  8. We’re the Official Receiver already the biggest single holder of Store pods anyway after the winding up of the pension schemes? Does that mean they’ve given them back to them after seizing them in the public interest?

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  9. Adam Smith, Hartley Pensions, which has taken over from Berkeley Burke value them at £1!

    Significantly more than zero! 😉

    This was fraud and deception, pure and simple, and if deliberately misleading investors isn’t something you can go to jail for then it should be.

    Y

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  10. I’ve lost 60k, how is it legal to operate this way? I’m now trying to earn towards my last 10 years of employment!
    I genuinely feel sick

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  11. If the official receiver has received money from the “Whittakers” then surely it should be shared out between the poor sods like me that have been conned out of thousands by these malicious and callous bastards? My life has ben changed beyond belief and i cannot believe that an organisation representing our government should allow con artists to profit!!

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  12. Agree with the statements above they are conmen and time will come . One day hopefully sooner than later they will get turned over ,or put under as there is no place on earth for nasty corrupt bastards like these .

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  13. To surrender the pods you should contact Pay Store: customerservices@pay-store.co.uk.

    You receive in reply an email that contains:
    “Thank you for contacting us with regards to your request to surrender your storage pods.
    We will contact you shortly with the Deed of Surrender that will need to be completed and returned to ourselves in order to progress to completion.
    Important Facts
    • Surrender of your pods will be for 0 consideration, in other words no payment will be made to you for your pods.
    • You will be released from any outstanding service charge and ground rent.
    • You will not receive any further rental income.
    • You will still be responsible for any outstanding Business Rates up until the date of surrender is completed.
    The Deed of Surrender will shortly be sent to you automatically by email, if you do not have a printer or prefer a hard copy please let us know. ”

    But then you receive an email that says:
    They are currently being reviewed to ensure that they meet legal requirements in both England and Scotland and will be made available to the appropriate leaseholders shortly. ”
    So not released from “any outstanding service charges and ground rent” until? I enquired: “a few weeks”.

    I am thinking of using a standard deed of surrender (England) legal document to push this through and limit any further payments, maybe using a Land Agent? But a deed of surrender does need the signature of both parties, so Store First still have control? I doubt the Official Receiver will help in getting the terms of the winding up actually complied with either.

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  14. This man is a fraud., he has taken peoples money to better his lifestyle.. he’s had spent millions of pounds on his house (white hill) bought very expensive car ( Roll Royces, porches,Range Rovers to mention only a few) chateau in France Le Temple-sur-Lot also a ski lodge in France.. payed for all his 4 children’s school fees up front until they finish school not to mention a multi million pound equestrian centre for his wife..
    All of this with poor investor money disgusting vile man..

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  15. i dont understand why the business was sold to his wife, I wonder for how much i have been told £1 i dont know if this is true, TO ME NOTHING HAS CHANGED OTHER THAN THE NAME OF THE OWNER. All the investers are still in the same position where as store first or what ever you want to call it is now better off , people paid good money for for these pods now store first will get get meany of them back for nothing. I wonder if there reclaimed pods will be rented first so again people still holding pods will suffer further. I THINK THESE RECEIVERS NEED TO BE INVESTIGATED

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  16. i have got badly stuck in the park first mess, currently litigation going on for all park first owner, anyone got any update of what is being done in terms of personally suing the directors and any progress from that

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  17. Is there any possibility to bring a private prosection against the “Whittakers”? Have they been deemed to have done anything illegal (rather than immoral and unethical)? If so I would be interested to talk to anyone wanting to go down this route. I have 7 pods as an “investment” from 2011!!

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  18. has anyone else been told their investment wasn’t completed? Despite me having all the paper work and my advisor telling me that is was completed at the time? Storefirst have told.me I need to complete this uncompleted paperwork( it has not yet been supplied) before the 10th June or I will lose the pods. The rates bill I got from the council was for 0£. I’m not sure what the risk of liability going forward would be if I continued with the pod of if I would be better off keeping going with it.

    I’m really concerned that if I don’t continue I’ll lose everything. I have an appointment to take further advice this Friday.

    Are there any group prosecutions ongoing to recover money for investors?

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