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This Blog is dedicated to making public some of the business activities and methods of Liam Collins, David Bone Jr and their associates. In the spring of 2010, the present authors invested in Collins & Bone (C&B), who were offering an enticing 8-10% interest on the basis of buying houses for cash, renovating them and letting them out to students. We were assured that our money was secured against houses that they owned, including their own homes and the properties held by their associated company, Castle & Gatehouse (C&G). We have emails and brochures that confirm these details, as do others who invested on this same basis at around the same time. The idea worked for us for over a year, then in November 2011 they told us they were insolvent. They refused our every request for clear accounts, which led us to suspect wrongdoing. We began an investigation and then started this Blog. We found our suspicions confirmed: other investors had lost sometimes quite large amounts to C&B and its predecessor CBS, and all requests for repayment were adamantly refused. These people use and have used so many names that we found it necessary to compress them into CoBo (for Collins & Bone) and Coboco (for the whole bunch of them – there are quite a few!) Note that there is an index in the margin at the right hand side.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011


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We have so far failed to find any evidence of Liam Collins' success in business, though he has managed to extract considerable amounts of money from investors and that certainly shows aptitude. However, it is not business and is set to get him into trouble sooner or later.
*copied at, all information from Companies House


When Liam Collins contacted all the investors in Collins & Bone on 1st November 2011, he claimed that the Partnership faced insolvency due to the failure of a twenty million pound investment contract:

‘Dear Investors,

Please accept my apologies that this update has taken a while coming.

‘As many of you may know we have been working diligently for 2 years now to get a £20m property fund underway. The client paid £150k for the contracts to be written which demonstrated they were serious. They also asked us to complete a 3 house trial piece to demonstrate that the business model worked. The client provided the funds to purchase 3 houses. We renovated them, let them and sold them in the 6 month period as per the agreement. The project was completed on budget and delivered a 20% return over 6 months for the client. They confirmed in July in a meeting with us in France that the deal was going to begin in September. September came and it became evident that they were waiting for their bank (Investec) to secure the lending in order to progress the deal. In October we have now been told that they cannot get the lending at the rate they wished for and so want to put the deal on hold until they can.

‘...As a result we are now in a situation where a handful of PNs have now matured and the investors have asked for these to be returned. Our liquidity, not dissimilar from banks at present, does not allow us to do so. We have explained this to the investors, however we are expecting further defaults on our PNs this year and more investors expecting their capital to be returned. We have taken legal advice from a top practice and they have explained that we cannot now prioritise one investor over another due to the overdue PNs which have a negative effect on the solvency of the partnership. We must treat all investors (creditors) equally.’

Liam Collins told investors that the company with which he was arranging the loan was Matterhorn Capital. We therefore spoke to a responsible executive at Matterhorn and these facts emerged:

No-one at Matterhorn Capital remembers having any dealings with Collins & Bone. They certainly know Liam Collins but as far as they are concerned, he was negotiating on behalf of Castle and Gatehouse. The draft loan contract, of which we have a copy, was drawn up between  Matterhorn and Novocastria Developments Ltd. Companies House lists the Directors of Novocastria as David Bone Snr. and Mark Black (see post of 20th December below).

As the loan was intended for Castle and Gatehouse, how could its failure to materialize affect the financial viability of Collins & Bone—unless the two entities are so intertwined as to be really one and the same? This does seem to be the case. For example, in the Castle and Gatehouse Management Structure brochure, which was routinely sent to prospective investors in Collins & Bone, it states: 

‘Each partner has responsibility for one cornerstone which we find neccessary to maintain an effective  single point of contact for each major revenue stream. Mark Black oversees the premium aspect of the partnership, Castle & Gatehouse limited, our £100k plus property trading business. Liam Collins manages the Collins & Bone partnership which handles investment under £100k. David Bone Jnr runs our joint ventures while David Bone Snr is responsible for our various property funds.’  (p 4)

Note that in the above paragraph, Collins & Bone is neatly folded into the Castle and Gatehouse structure. Liam Collins and David Bone Jnr are no longer directors of Castle and Gatehouse. Could this be a ploy to confine debts to Collins & Bone while protecting assets in Castle and Gatehouse?

As we look further into the business ventures connected to Liam Collins and David Bone, we find a pattern of mismanagement and irresponsibility that spreads beyond the two partners to their close relatives and colleagues at Castle and Gatehouse, Diggs Lettings, Patrick Properties, etc.  The whole team has manifestly failed to run a profitable, efficient  company based on renovating houses and renting them to students. Both investors and students  are owed money and it is likely that there are other creditors.

All the Directors should realize that they will at some point have to reveal the true state of their assets and liabilities, so their best course of action is to fully cooperate with their investors without delay.

Saturday, 24 December 2011


We have been sent a link to a webpage which shows that this is not the first time that Liam Collins and David Bone have failed in the student accommodation business and caused multiple problems for their tenants:

These posts are from Loughborough University and dated November - December 2009.  The directors of CBS Lettings were Liam Collins and David Bone. CBS Lettings changed its name to Student HMO Lettings in December 2009 and is currently in liquidation  with debts of £1,680,520 (see below our post of 20th December).

It is interesting to contrast the students’ experience with a paragraph from the Collins & Bone Overview Brochure sent to us in March 2010:

‘The new approach comes from partners David Bone and Liam Collins whose own University years motivated them to improve student living conditions by providing high spec accommodation and new standards of care in order to build demand, minimize voids and guarantee profitable returns for investors. What followed has now become a multi-million pound portfolio centred on the North West, North East and Midlands.’ p 18

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


Page 28 of the Collins and Bone Overview (2010) states that:

"Every aspect of the Fund has been validated externally by third parties and it is FSA authorised through their partners Pointon Yorke and Fund Operators Chestermans. I think you will agree it is a most exciting opportunity into a growing market."

Today we phoned Collins and Bone's supposed partners, Pointon Yorke, to find out in what way the 'Fund' had been authorized by the FSA.  A responsible member of staff carefully checked their files, but found no trace of any dealings with Collins and Bone. The staff member became very concerned upon learning that Pointon Yorke were listed as a 'Fund Issuer' for Castle and Gatehouse.* Not only have they no records of  any dealings with C&G, they do not generally issue funds since Pointon Yorke is a SIPP administrator. The only company for which they had ever agreed to issue a fund, they said, was "something called CBS, two or three years ago—but it didn't go ahead." 

As shown below in our post of 20th December, CBS went into liquidation on 13th October 2010, leaving debts of £70,814 and another company Student HMO Lettings (previously CBS Lettings) on 22nd June 2011 leaving £1,680,520. Directors of both were Liam Collins and David Bone. 

We also contacted Chesterman Capital. They had never heard of Collins & Bone and had certainly not validated their fund. They were shocked to find that they had been listed as the Fund Operators for Castle and Gatehouse* because they are not associated  with that company.

*( This can be seen on page 10 of the Castle and Gatehouse Management Structure brochure)


We have just discovered that many of Liam Collins' and David Bone's student tenants have been badly let down and are struggling to get their deposits back:

This is very far from the idea of providing first-class accommodation for students—which is what we all invested in!

Here is a snapshot of a page from the Collins & Bone website, taken 15/09/11 while it was still online. In answer to the fourth question they confidently state: 'We own the management company Diggs Lettings so all management is in house.'

Tuesday, 20 December 2011


In this article, Intelligent Finance Services (IFS) is on a fact-finding mission, researching the background of C&B.

Here, for your interest and information, are two views of what appears to be the ‘nerve centre’ of various companies including Collins and Bone. It is the address of David Bone, Senior’s companies and the Collins & Bone Partnership. In the text below, marked with an asterisk, we give a list of the companies using this address. 

1 Eastern Villa, Springfield Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

We at IFS are wondering whether the loans we made to Collins & Bone have in fact been channelled into the larger property-dealing network being operated by Castle & Gatehouse and Novocastria Properties from the above address. 

So far, we have discovered that there have been many limited companies with David Bone, Sr., Liam Collins and David Bone, Jr., as directors, that have been formed and liquidated over the past few years. Here, from the records of Companies House, follows a list of those companies, with Liam Collins and David Bone, Jr., as directors of the first three. 

06805023 COMPLETE BUILDING SOLUTIONS (NORTH EAST) LTD in Liquidation 29/01/2009 - 13/10/2010 

06310795 STUDENT HMO PROPERTIES LTD   VCL–Liquidation 12/07/2007-18/12/2009 previously CBS Properties UK Ltd.

06310491  STUDENT HMO GROUP UK LIMITED  in Liquidation 12/07/2007 28/06/2011 previously CBS Group UK Ltd.

The following company is listed as having three directors: Mr D. Bone,  (presumably David Bone Sr.) Mr D.J. Bone and Mr. L.J. Collins ( see, leaving debts totalling £1,680,520.  (a copy of the Liquidator's Statement can be emailed by request)

05824659  STUDENT HMO LETTINGS LTD   in Liquidation 22 /05/ 2006 -17/06/2011 previously CBS Lettings Ltd. previously Living Large Ltd.

Under the name 'Student HMO' there are 3 other companies, which have David Bone Sr as director. See asterik  below to see other companies he is director of.

06930738  STUDENT HMO ADMINISTRATION LTD Dissolved 29/06/2009 - 09/08/2011 CBS Administration Ltd

06878414 STUDENT HMO SYNDICATES LTD   Dissolved 10/12/2009—26/07/2011 CBS Syndicate Ltd..

06832018 STUDENT HMO JV LTD , Active  27/02/2009- present, previously CBS (FRANKLYNN) LTD.

We, IFS,  have purchased  Liquidator's Statements concerning two companies of theirs in liquidation, Students HMO Lettings Ltd and Complete Building Solutions (North East) Ltd.; these show unsecured debts of £1,680,520 and £70, 814. 

*Here is a list of some of the companies whose business address is Eastern Villa, Station Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It is the same address as for the  Collins and Bone Partnership. 

 David Bone Sr is or has been a director of all the above named companies. See this link.

07365820 PATRICK PROPERTIES MANAGEMENT LTD      Patrick Collins Director

Companies House records show Novocastria Developments Limited,  07238747, with David Bone Sr and Mark Black as directors. It was incorporated 29 April 2010 and is still operating.
Novocastria began a loan arrangement with Matterhorn Capital in the sum of £20 million. (Copy available by request) Matterhorn Capital is also the company with which Collins and Bone said that they were negotiating a loan of £20,000,000 and which they claim let them down.


In a circular sent to investors on November 2011, Liam Collins wrote, 'The other areas of our family business include Castle & Gatehouse and formerly Diggs Lettings but this is now going into administration. Not an issue though as there are no investors in this simply because we are finding lettings to be a huge drain on the resources at present.'  Yet, when we put some information about Castle & Gatehouse and Diggs Lettings on the Collins & Bone Investors' Blog, Liam Collins objected saying:

1. 'Diggs Lets has nothing to do with myself or David, so for legal reasons please take down all references to Diggs.'

2. Liam Collins continued, 'Castle & Gatehouse is owned by Mark Black and David Bone, Sr. It has nothing at all to do with Collins & Bone or your investment from a legal standpoint.'  

The above seems to directly contradict the Castle & Gatehouse brochure we were sent in 2010 which shows both Liam Collins & David Bone as DIRECTORS, as well as a host of paid staff!  Here are three of the pages:

Further, Liam Collins wrote, on18th March 2011, the 'trading inside our sister company C&G (Castle & Gatehouse) also acts as security with future contracts worth in excess of £3m at present'. As noted above, we are wondering whether the investors' money has been swallowed up into Castle & Gatehouse, owned and run by David Bone, Senior.

There are two property companies  listed under Diggs at Companies House, namely, Diggs Limited and Diggs Maintanence Ltd, whose directors are David Bone Sr and Rachel Bone respectively.

Are we beginning to see a pattern here, that of soliciting investments for an enterprise that not long after fails and goes into liquidation? The invested money is unaccounted for, so far. Is all or some of it simply being used to support the lifestyles of the Collins family and the Bone family, or is it being siphoned into a web of property speculation?

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Our Latest Exchange with Collins & Bone

Liam Collins and David Bone have both been in touch with us about this blog. They want us to take it down. We want the blog to clarify and open up the situation regarding investments with Collins & Bone. Here are some exerpts from what we sent to them this morning:

Dear Liam and David—

1. Just for the record: no promissory note (PN) or 'five-year plan' has been delivered to either of our email addresses. Any other investors who 'understand the situation' and are working with you will now have an opportunity to say so on the Blog.

2. Re-read carefully: the Collins & Bone Investors' Blog contains absolutely no defamation of character; it is a first attempt to clarify what appears to be a web of murky and dubious business affairs. Questions are asked in the blog, but no accusations are made. We merely invite everyone involved to help clear up the mess. The blog will be updated as further items of accurate information come in. 

3. Diggs Lettings: it was only Liam's mention of this company that alerted us to its existence. On the 8th November 2011, he wrote us an email, from which we quote as follows:

"The other areas of our family business include Castle & Gateshouse and formerly Diggs lettings but this is now going into administration. Not an issue though as there are no investors in this so this is simply because we are finding lettings to be a huge drain on the resources at present."

This in itself is a rather strange admission from Collins & Bone, whose whole business has been based on the idea that student lettings are profitable and we quote from the Collins & Bone Investors' June 2011 Newsletter:

"The outlook for student and buy-to-let property.

"In the past decade this market has emerged from a niche, to a highly in-demand investment class as investors look to build wealth in a market now underserved ... According to Knight, Frank, student rentals have recorded growth of 5% over the last six years, compared to only 0.6% growth in commercial property. Now is a great time to start investing in this market."

4. Regarding Castle & Gatehouse, we quote from your newsletter to all investors of 18th March 2011:

"Your capital is safe and both David and I have our own homes as collateral to protect your assets as well as 27 other assets and the trading inside our sister company (Castle & Gatehouse) also acts as security with future contracts worth in excess of £3m at present."

"... our own homes ...": Do we surmise correctly that Liam's flat in Shelton Street, Covent Garden is an ex-Council property which was bought as a bargain by his family and is now worth a considerable amount?

5. In trying to explain where the investors' money has gone, you refer to "Queens council advise." Please note that Her Majesty does not have a Council, but there are Queen's Counsels. (She also has prisons of course, where guilty parties may be detained at her pleasure.)

In answer to the question, 'Where has the money gone,' Liam tells us in his email of 16th November:

"It has gone on salaries on overheads which we kept to long in the business, huge set up costs for all of the legal fees to set up 2 funds, one syndicate product, one collateral product, Queens council advise, top FSA advice to make sure what we are doing at all times it legal. Website costs, online maintenance, IT, business infrastructure, marketing, exhibitions, lead generation, Google advertising, PR and many other business costs."

However, please note that this is NOT what we invested in! We invested in a simple idea to buy cheap houses for cash, renovate them to a high standard and rent them out to students. Read that again.

7. If Liam is going to write to anyone at all, shouldn't he be sure to avoid useless bluster, to condense his thoughts and to have his writing checked by a responsible, more literate person? Here's one example as to why: in your latest email, of 16th November, your point 5, paragraph 2, we quote:

"So to conclude. if this blog is not changed with all the points I have made taken into consideration I will continue to take legal action against us and our solicitor says we have an excellent case."

We can hardly disagree with that!

So, as far as we are concerned, the case is quite simple. Pay us back without further delay or admit you can't run a business, go bankrupt, stop dreaming up high-flying schemes and get yourselves useful paid work. Liam should give up those mad ideas about bobsleighing. He could well injure his head, and that certainly would not improve his literary, commercial or intellectual skills.

With all best wishes for a speedy repayment of your debt to us!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

One Student's Experience With Diggs Letting - An Associated Company

The following  two questions were found on Yahoo Questions (the first from 6 months ago, the second from the same person 7 months ago) which can be seen at the link to the right. It is counter to all the propaganda we heard about Collins & Bone setting up and letting immaculate student housing. The money seems to have been spent on dreams and fantasies!

"Has anyone been with Diggs Letting Agency and had any bad experiences?

"I am in a student house with two other friends. And all we have had is bad experiences with them. We're sick of them. I would like to know if anyone has had any bad experiences too? Please help!

" 6 months ago

"Additional Details

"When we moved in in September last year, the sofa was broken and my bed frame too. The landlord was there to see it, and said he will get it sorted. As there are three of us living here, the sofa that was broken was only a two seat sofa. So there was only one chair! It took them 5 months to replace them. 

"We've had letters from central recoveries to send debt collectors round to take anything that will recover the cost of the gas and electric bill, that Diggs were supposed to pay since January. We have sent them emails and rang them about this and maintenance problems that still needs doing. 

"Cracks in the ceiling, walls. My wall has caved in, and the maintenance only glued a vent to the wall without filling it in; so now the hole has got bigger. My bedroom walls are soaked on the inside, and paint is dripping off; this is because it rained lightly for a day or two. I told them these problems, but they have not done anything about it."

"My letting agency isn't paying the British gas bill. What should I do?

"I'm a uni student. And from Christmas we have been getting letters from British gas, saying we haven't been paying our bills. Although it is our letting agency's responsibility to pay all bills. We told them in January, and they said they have sorted it and ignore any other letters we get. So we did.

"Until just recently our Internet and tv was cut off. We found out they haven't been paying that either! So we got paranoid, and decided to open the British gas letters that we had been getting. We were shocked to see they were final demands! Even though we gave one of the agency's staff a couple of the bills to take with her to sort out, it clearly hasn't because this morning we got a letter saying that they are going to take legal action.

"Debt collectors will come round if it is not paid!! We've told them so many times, but they haven't sorted it! There's three of us living here, and we always pay our rent in full. We're tired of chasing them about it. It's a lot of money, What should we do?"

Monday, 14 November 2011


We are in the position of finding that a (to us) significant part of our capital seems to have suddenly evaporated, together with the income it erratically generated. We understand that we are not alone in this and that many other people are similarly affected. 

We have received a welter of words from Liam Collins and David Bone this month about their business affairs and financial insolvency, but so far we have been unable to get any clarity at all as to what the facts actually are. For one thing, Liam Collins’s written English is so full of spelling mistakes, bad grammar, appalling punctuation and mind-numbing cliché that it is very hard to get any idea of what he is trying to convey.  

From what we can gather from their ramblings, Collins and Bone seem to be totally preoccupied with themselves and their apparent predicament; they expect to be freely funded for just about anything they decide to do, regardless of the misery and anxiety they may be causing others by their false promises and endless, wriggling arguments.


We are extremely puzzled by some of the 'facts' we have so far been able to extract from Liam Collins and David Bone. When pressed, they admitted that their debts amount to "about" £2,000,0000 (two million pounds). They say they have only 150 investors! Or was that 120 investors? There are other upset and angry people who have invested in Collins and Bone. Are you one of them? Please get in touch so we can exchange facts and suggestions. Some obvious questions are:-

1. Where has that £2 million gone?
2. Why are Collins & Bone so anxious to avoid bankruptcy? (Certainly not because they care about us, their investors!)

3. What is the status of Castle and Gatehouse, one of the companies that Liam described to us as offering further  security for invested capital and which he claimed to be one of their 'family businesses'?

4. When we invested, we understood that the loans were to be guaranteed against actual properties bought with cash, but now we are told that both Liam Collins' and David Bone's homes, and also all the student rentals they 'own,' are fully mortgaged. Were we sold an investment through misrepresentation? This is what we shall be looking at.


On the 4th November, Liam Collins promised he would send us a copy of their ‘Five-Year Plan’ without delay. The plan is supposed to explain how he and David Bone intend to recoup their losses and repay our capital. So far, we have not received it. Has it even been drafted? Have any investors received it? Liam Collins claimed that 80% of investors had signed up to this Plan - but how could they, if such a Plan doesn't exist?