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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


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.

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