A MAN from a Bournemouth kitchen firm has had a previous company wound up after customers paid £47,000 for kitchens that never appeared.

Philip Hill, 47, who has a string of dissolved companies behind him, was found by the Daily Echo at the headquarters of De Vinci Improvements in Norwich Avenue West.

His former company, In the Box, based in Bolton, was wound up at the High Court following a government investigation into its failure to deliver orders.

People across the north of England paid £47,000 for kitchens that never appeared.

Trading standards received 33 complaints in the seven months up to March this year.

An investigation by the Insolvency Service found the company appeared to be trading while insolvent, and was using customer deposits to finance its ongoing business operations.

Investigators also discovered that, although Mr Hill is a qualified accountant, his record-keeping was extremely poor and his own personal money intermingled with company revenues to such an extent that it was impossible to account properly for company receipts and expenditure.

Mr Hill is listed as the director of 10 kitchen and window companies that have either gone into liquidation or been dissolved since 1992.

He was until recently listed as the director of De Vinci Improvements and the Echo found him at the company last Thursday.

When asked about his previous firm, Mr Hill said “lots of people” got their kitchens and that he did keep records.

When asked why his company needed to be wound up, he said the Echo would need to ask the government.

Grandmother Patricia Thomas was left without kitchen units for three months as she waited for In the Box workmen.

She handed over a £2,000 deposit for a designer kitchen in February, then sold her washing machine and dishwasher.

Mrs Thomas, 59, said: “I wanted a dream kitchen and ended up with a nightmare.”

Mrs Thomas, a secretary from Wirral, Merseyside, went to a local company and had a brand new kitchen fitted within three weeks.

She said she was also able to get her deposit back from one of Mr Hill’s associates.