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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.

Saturday, 29 December 2012


We take this opportunity to express our hope that all our readers had a thoroughly satisfactory Christmas time. We look forward to the various improvements that we optimistically trust will manifest themselves for us all during the coming New Year. 

We eagerly await news from the authorities handling the CoBo case, once they have recovered, that is, from the after effects of all the festivities.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


Herewith, an extract from the Official Receiver's statement to creditors regarding David Bone Jr's assets and liabilities. Although the statement is dated 10th October 2012, we had not seen it until now and we think other creditors will find the figures of interest.

Readers will not fail to notice the huge discrepancy between David Bone Jr's declared assets and his debts. It is chilling to consider that without the work of this Blog, CoBo would in all likelihood have continued to take money from bona fide investors indefinitely, on the understanding that they were running a successful company on a completely legitimate basis. That had been their formula for several years and it was working until we started our investigation. We desire no credit for this; we simply point out how a patently crooked formula for moneymaking can continue if the perpetrators are clever and if the victims have no effective recourse.

Any creditor who has not received a copy of the OR's statement of 10th October regarding David Bone Jr's assets and liabilities may apply for one from the OR at the following email address:-

Any questions about CoBo's assets should be directed to the Public Trustee at:-

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


This message just came in as a comment to our post of 5th June 2012, so we are posting it here in order to give it some present relevance. We are at the moment unable to vouch for its authenticity, but if true, it is obviously a matter for some serious concern, because it is often difficult or nearly impossible for tenants to get assistance from overburdened authorities and legal redress is usually not an option. Perhaps 'Anonymous' will be in touch with us with further details.

Friday, 16 November 2012


The Official Receiver's Office has asked us to publish the following message:-

"Update to creditors concerning the bankruptcies of Liam James Collins (Newcastle Upon Tyne County Court No. 1517 of 2011) and David James Robert Bone (Wigan County Court No. 100 of 2012).
"Please be aware that enquiries in these matters are now being conducted by the Official Receiver’s Public Interest Unit (PIU) North, 2nd Floor, 3 Piccadilly Place, London Road, Manchester M1 3BN.


"Any previous correspondence forwarded by creditors to the Official Receiver’s in Liverpool has also been transferred to PIU.

"It is the Official Receiver’s intention to contact all creditors shortly requesting further information to assist the ongoing enquiries.

"The continuing assistance of creditors in these matters is greatly appreciated."

Thursday, 15 November 2012


This is a necessarily brief summary of what has been achieved so far. A year has now passed since we started this weblog and we are glad to note that real progress is at last being made in the official scrutiny of Coboco's financial affairs. 

Achieved: the bankruptcies of both Liam Collins and David Bone Jr - a difficult, time-consuming and expensive task. But done.

Achieved: CoBo are blocked from being able to draw further investment from unsuspecting people on the basis of the imaginary purchase and ownership of properties. 

Achieved: CoBo are blocked from receiving rent money from the houses on which they had mortgages

Achieved: CoBo's accounts and entire financial background are being thoroughly examined with a view to their complete public accountability.

Achieved: the winding up of Coboco's companies Castle & Gatehouse and Novocastria Developments.

Achieved: a way for students, investors and creditors of Coboco to be in touch with one another and to be able to see the way forward in obtaining justice.


Saturday, 13 October 2012


To spell it out: when we discuss the psychology of fraud here, we are examining the ways in which people who are unhampered by conscience have the ability to manipulate others and by means of a convincing show of confidence, to get them willingly to invest money in unsecured schemes.
Confidence tricksters such as the ones we are writing about count on people being so shocked and depressed by the sudden loss of their money that they are too weak to do much about it. It should be noted that before this Blog was started, Coboco's victims were all isolated and were battling the depression that arose from those losses. Depression can develop into a heavy stupor of self-concern: when we told one of Coboco's victims that this case needs to be followed through to a satisfactory conclusion, the reply was, "Well, good luck with that. For me it was always more about whether I'd get my money back and that's not going to happen."

If enough people were to think and act like that, we could count on a further worsening of the recession that is currently causing so much havoc in our society.
We wonder if readers have considered this: once confidence tricksters have won their victims' confidence and savings, they are in a position of power over them. (We have previously pointed out that an option of legal redress is often considered by victims too expensive for them to take up, and it may also be fruitless). In the case we are looking at, CoBo have frequently used their power as holders of their investors' funds to intimidate, threaten and insult them. CoBo have said to bona fide investors on occasion that they were stupid to trust them and to hand over large sums without insisting on proper guarantees.

The manipulation of others in this completely unprincipled way is done through rationalisation. The perpetrators simply rationalise whatever they do, without any ethical consideration, as being conducive to their own benefit and they take the position that whatever success they achieve might well eventually percolate to their investors as well.

Most people probably assume that everyone cheats to some extent, so what is the crucial factor that turns some kind of cheating into crime? Clearly it is the factor of HARM. As we have pointed out frequently in this Blog, Coboco have actually caused a great deal of harm, unhappiness and despair to a large number of people. Had it not been for this Blog, that number would likely be growing by the day!

Coboco's activities have also caused, and are still causing, a huge amount of trouble to the authorities, who are having to investigate their dealings at no small cost in money, time and effort. Their unscrupulous behaviour has meant that someone else now has the job of sorting out the chaotic mess they have been calling 'business.'

As far as we know, the CoBo street act called Faces of Disco—which basically trades on comic mockery of celebrities by using photographic face masks of them in energetic disco-type physical jerks—is still collecting money from audiences quite unaware of the background of these slippery characters. [See the recent comment added to our post of 28th July 2012 entitled LIAM COLLINS - OLYMPIC FRAUDSTER?

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


We understand that David Bone Jr is due to appear before the Public Examiner in Wigan County Court on 26th October at 3 pm. He has been summoned to answer for the delay in producing proper accounts for the Collins & Bone partnership. This court hearing is open to the public, but will probably be quite brief.

Liam Collins will also have to answer for the delay in producing his accounts; a time and place for the court hearing have yet to be decided upon.

The Public Examiner will send out a report to creditors in due course, but he feels that he still does not have to hand a complete list of CoBo's creditors, so if a reader thinks that the PE may not know about his/her own claim, we advise contacting him at once. His contact details  are:

Martin Faulkner  
Official Receiver's Office
2nd Floor 
Cunard Building
Pier Head
Liverpool L3 1DS

Wednesday, 26 September 2012


We assure readers that investigations into the business dealings of Collins & Bone, their associates and companies active and defunct are under way, but we are unable to post regular reports as any small news of progress is given to us on condition of confidentiality. 

There are of course blockages in the administrative and legal system due to work overload and problems concerning financing and personnel, so the present investigation is likely to be long drawn out. We are keen to try to ensure that a particular loophole in the law which apparently allows fraudsters to operate with impunity is discovered by the relevant authorities and closed. We are also keen to find out the extent of any assets that Coboco may have acquired with their investors' money.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


One of our readers has pointed out the similarities between the Hirst fraud case (see link below*) and Coboco’s activities. The newspapers have drawn attention to the Hirsts’ lavish lifestyle, funded by money from bona fide investors who were promised high interest rates.

CoBo’s investors should note that by the end of 2009:

1]  The CBS group of companies (directors: Mark Black, David Bone Snr, Liam Collins and David Bone Jr) had collapsed with £2 million of debt. This debt was transferred to the Collins & Bone Partnership.

2]  Nearly all CoBo’s houses were in Law of Property Act (LPA) Receivership, due to non-payment of mortgages.

3]  The partners were unable to repay promissory notes (PNs) as they became due in 2009 and were therefore technically insolvent.

However, early in 2010, CoBo campaigned vigorously to draw in new investment on the basis that they were running a hugely successful property company and that investors’ money would be secured against their ‘debt-free assets’ (as far as lenders were concerned, ‘non-existent assets’ would be more accurate!). They were so successful at raising new investment with their slick brochures and promises that houses would be bought for cash, that they were able to pay off the LPA receivers. At that time, too, Liam Collins, David Bone Jr and Mark Black flew off to Las Vegas to  party and congratulate themselves on their ability to persuade bona fide investors to hand over their cash. On their return, they continued to lease luxury cars.

Like John Hirst, Coboco seem to think that once they have been given  money, it is theirs to spend just as they please. They apparently feel no obligation at all to fulfill their side of the contract and engage in real business. They simply want to have the lifestyle and perks of wealthy businessmen without doing the work!


Monday, 13 August 2012


The business style of Coboco, in a nutshell: their habitual mode is to take money and services from bone fide investors, tradespeople and utility companies, without paying anything out. They have found, quite simply, that they can get away with it. In practice, obtaining a County Court Judgement (CCJ) against any member of the group is a totally worthless procedure since it is too expensive for victims to make legal claims for reimbursement through a court. As of this writing, the legal system allows for the existence of a loophole whereby certain slippery individuals can, so far with impunity, relieve honest people of their money, services or supplies. 

Readers will note that the following website bears a startling resemblance to the now-defunct Castle & Gatehouse website and the director is Mark Black: 

It will further be noted that extravagant percentages are offered to investors in joint ventures, which bears an uncomfortable resemblance to Coboco's tried-and-tested pattern of touting for investment—and getting the money— on the basis of unrealistic promises.

Also of interest is that the Zoopla entry for Novocastria Lettings now redirects to 'Adavo Property.' Apparently, they have 84 properties available for rent as of this post. Investors, students and contractors should beware of this setup.

Thursday, 9 August 2012


David Bone Jr has, for the moment, postponed arrest by turning up for his interview with the Public Examiner on 7th August. As expected, CoBo's accounts are in great disorder and it will take many people a lot of time to sort them out. Meanwhile, they have gigs: dancing in the streets as 'Faces of Disco', wearing paper masks depicting various celebrities and collecting money from stunned passers-by. Their audiences are presumably quite unaware of their crooked background and see them as decent, clean-cut young Olympic wannabes. More like Faces of Deceit, isn't it? Are readers of this Blog comfortable with that?

Saturday, 4 August 2012


Don't miss our updated website, which gives a synopsis of the fraud case against Coboco to date. 


Wednesday, 1 August 2012


What d'you know? This has been a long time coming, but, well, we are in a double-dip recession, aren't we? So a lot of important matters will have to trundle along at half cock. The FSA will have to be reminded that people need to be warned about Mark Black and David Bone Senior as well. Let's hope they get that together double quick.

Saturday, 28 July 2012


We have been informed by the British Bobsleigh Team Coach that Liam Collins is no longer on the team. We don't know if he is still collecting money from the public on the basis of being a member of the Olympic Bobsleigh Team, but if he is, he certainly shouldn't be, because anything the public gives him by way of cash only goes into his own pocket. He has always been disinterested in accounting for whatever income he gets and also how much money he has fraudulently taken from bona fide investors. The reckoning will come to him and he must be wondering—between shows—when that will be or how long he can keep running away from it.

Monday, 23 July 2012


David Bone Jr has managed to postpone his interview with the Public Examiner until the 7th August. This is the story of CoBo's life: their strategy is to wear down their opposite numbers—their creditors and those representing the law of the land—by endless procrastination and argument. Their behaviour simply asks to be called to account and we trust that the authorities are now hot on their trail. We know also that Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are very keen to find out about years of unpaid taxes. 

Monday, 16 July 2012


LPA Receivers have been appointed for twenty-three of CoBo’s houses. They are Zolfo Cooper ( and their agents, Winterhill Largo. The receivers have not yet decided on a strategy for the houses, but all tenancy agreements will be honoured.

But what are LPA Receivers?  Here’s the clearest definition we’ve found:

‘Law of Property Act (LPA) Receivers act for banks and private lenders who have secured their loans by a Legal Charge (mortgage) on a property. Under the terms of the Legal Charge the lender can appoint a Receiver to deal with a property when the terms of the mortgage are not being met – usually when repayments and interest are not being paid. LPA Receivers are experts who can manage the property, deal directly with occupants, outstanding problems, insurance and repairs. To repay the debt, Receivers collect in money from rents or sell the property.’

It is important to note this is not the first time LPA Receivers have taken control of CoBo’s properties. It has happened at least twice before—in July 2008 for two months and from May 2009 to April 2010. Which means that their mortgages were so far in arrears at those times that MX took drastic action. Also, those of us who invested during these periods were in all likelihood giving them money to pay off their mortgage arrears so that they could receive rental income from the houses again.

Just how financially incompetent, irresponsible and plain stupid does one have to be to receive the full market rental from a property and not bother to pay the mortgage? And how cynically deceitful it is then to persuade others to hand over their money on the basis that you are running a successful property company! CoBo and associates have made others pay dearly for their delusional business activities.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


We hear from the Public Examiner that David Bone Jr has postponed his interview once again, on account of work commitment, i.e., 'Faces of Disco' public performances. If he dodges the interview a third time, he will be legally required to attend—or face arrest.

Liam Collins did keep his appointment on 3rd July, but produced no proper accounts. His excuse was that CoBo's former accountant had not released them. However, we understand that the accounts have now been passed to the Public Examiner and to the Partners.

One noteworthy point is that Mark Black assumed responsibility for CoBo's accounts at the end of 2010. Has he provided the Public Examiner with the missing figures for 2011? If not, perhaps he will be good enough to assist the enquiry by doing so promptly?

It will be interesting to see just how long CoBo can get away with their dirty tricks by using the old postponement card. They can be sure of our unswerving attention until the whole swindle is satisfactorily resolved.

Saturday, 7 July 2012


Many of the People of Britain must by now have been lucky enough to get a sight of that desperate duo who call themselves Faces of Disco. These two have been strutting their stuff in the streets, especially in shopping centres, where unwitting shoppers are apparently only too happy to throw money at them. Those show-stopped shoppers: how could they guess that the apparently clean-cut characters camping it up behind those masks are actually crooks? That they have swindled more than one hundred people out of their life savings, pensions and retirement money, blandly telling them that their money has been spent and offering no explanation? We think the public at large needs to know.

These shameless show-offs* were bankrupted in May of this year; how can they now trouser the money of the unwitting public without accounting for it? Are those shoppers aware that these rascals owe people who trusted them some £4 million? (Yes, that’s four million pounds).

It’s clear that nowhere near enough people are informed about the background of these two, riddled as it is with acts of deceit and theft. The evidence is piling up. We would ask all readers of this Blog to help spread this knowledge wide and far and to call to account the rotten characters behind the masks.

* We refer here specifically to Liam Collins and David Bone Jr.  (Richard Edmonds should dissociate himself from these two on account of their dishonest dealings).

Wednesday, 27 June 2012


This is just a note to let all CoBo's investors know that David Bone Jr has obtained a postponement of his interview with the Public Examiner until 10th July on the grounds that he had a work contract which he did not want to break. Was this perchance a gig with Faces of Disco? 

Liam Collins's appointment is for 3rd July.

It is high time these two had to answer for all the trouble and misery they have caused, but their lifestyle to date has been based squarely upon postponement and evasion, so it shows every sign of being a rather long haul to get to the reckoning. In the meantime, they are raking in cash from their performances. It is highly unlikely—isn't it?—that they are keeping any account of the money that the public throws at them and as for tax, well they have never been too bothered about keeping up to date with that either. It's amazing that they are still being allowed to get away with all this; the chaotic state of modern Britain just might have something to do with it! 

Saturday, 23 June 2012


What most of all distinguishes a civilized society from the many societies that are in various stages of collapse and disorder? Top of the list must surely be the Rule of Law, happily married to Fair Play. British society is renowned for its exceptionally good justice system; criminal practices and all kinds of foul play meet their nemesis sooner or later in the courts and the subsequent dispensations. 

Coboco have consistently shown a hubristic contempt for the law of this Land: there are examples in earlier posts on this blog. As noted heretofore, many people have obtained County Court judgements against them, which  they have ignored—in the full knowledge that such judgements are expensive and time-consuming to enforce, so that most people will soon become exhausted with it all and will ultimately write off their loss as a bad debt. Which left Coboco free to continue obtaining money by various forms of deception.

Coboco have been quite cynically unscrupulous about whom they targeted for funds, whether it was people who'd saved money for their retirement or had redundancy payments, people who needed more money to live on and who thought the rate of interest offered by Coboco would provide it or whether it was students, sometimes from other countries, most of whom could ill afford to be robbed of the deposits they had handed over to secure somewhere to live for the duration of their courses.

When challenged by anyone whose money they have unfairly or illegally taken, a member of the Coboco group can turn nasty and they habitually pass an enquirer from one member to another, which can go on until the victim is tired out and fed up. We have numerous reports of this sort of thing and there are others published on Facebook.

So, who are these shady people? Who exactly are those we call Coboco? The names of the principals will be familiar to most of those concerned, so the following list entails repetition:-

Coboco are (so far): 

Liam Collins 
David Bone Jr 
Mark Black
David Bone Sr (father of David Jr and of Rachael, uncle of Liam Collins)
Rachael Bone (sister of David Bone Jr)
Patrick Collins (brother of Liam Collins)

No doubt other family members are involved; this Blog does not yet have full details. We do know that all of those mentioned have benefited from investors' money and the rent and deposits that students paid for the various properties Coboco were managing. They have declined to go to the trouble of accounting for it, but will be required to do so in due course. 

We remind readers that CoBo's total debt stands at somewhere around £4 million. They still seem to be living quite comfortably, thanks to investors' funds, though they may have had to cut back on some extravagances.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


The Official Receiver (OR) has appointed a Public Examiner (PE) for Liam Collins and David Bone Jr. (CoBo). His contact details are:

Martin Faulkner  
Official Receiver's Office
2nd Floor 
Cunard Building
Pier Head
Liverpool L3 1DS

Anyone who is owed money by Collins and  Bone (CoBo) or whose money was misused or misappropriated by them (including unreturned deposits) can send their details and a full report to the Public Examiner. He would like to receive reports before he interviews CoBo; the first interview is scheduled for 26th June.

NB  The OR should already have in his possession details of all Collins & Bone PN holders, so they do not have to send them to the PE; however, any reports they wish to make regarding misuse of their funds, misrepresentation and/or mis-selling by CoBo would be useful to him.

Sunday, 17 June 2012


To begin the week, Jasmine offers readers a little light diversion in the form of a dedicated Coboco crossword. A mystery prize goes to the first correct entry sent to


Entries must be in by midday on 27th June, after which the completed crossword will be published.

NB  The mystery prize is not available to members of the IFS Team nor to Coboco and Associates.


27th June 2012. Well, says Jasmine, here is my completed crossword, for those interested. I hope you enjoyed having a go.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


Here's a recent post on Facebook in the page on Getting Our Diggs Deposits Back:

The house on which Gem and her friends put a deposit is 41 Albert Street, Preston. Interestingly, in the CoBo property schedule issued to investors it is listed as belonging to Liam Collins and Iqbal Singh, not David Bone Jr. It seems that these names get shuffled about to suit whatever the Coboco group have in mind at the time. They have been doing this, and getting away with it for a number of years. Now at last they are coming under the spotlight.

The directors of Novocastria Lettings are listed as Mark Black and David Bone Senior. Rachael Bone managed the office. We want to know why Novocastria Lettings took a deposit in February 2012 for September of this year when they all knew that Liam Collins and David Bone Jr would almost certainly be bankrupt well before that month. The deposits were paid  into Novocastria Lettings bank account. We want to know what happened to that money.

In the Castle & Gatehouse brochure, it says of Mark Black "He holds a Law Degree, MBA and studied Real Estate at Harvard Business School.*" In view of which, he must surely know that according to the Law of this Land, tenants' deposits must be held in [1] a special government-registered account or [2] in an insured account, so that tenants' money is not at risk in the event of business failure.

There are serious irregularities here and it has been noted by many people that each named person of the group that we call Coboco characteristically evades responsibility towards those people whose money they have taken, whether they are investors or students.  


* Would that be the one in Penzance, perchance?

Thursday, 31 May 2012


David Bone Jr was made bankrupt today at the Wigan County Court. He did not appear, as you might have guessed.

The Official Receiver is appointing a trustee to manage CoBo's assets and sort out the tangle of their financial affairs. This promises to be a most difficult and protracted task and readers are advised to settle in patiently to await the eventual outcome.

We shall communicate on this blog any news that reaches us about the progress of the investigation and management decisions.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


One person who invested in Collins & Bone has written:

"Where does the blame lie? False promises and mishandling of funds by the partners certainly has happened but sadly we feel we have to accept some of this situation as our fault. We, like, I am sure, a lot of other people were lured by ‘greed’ and the possibility of 10% interest which was so much better than the banks were offering. Everyone also knows the banks can offer full security for a certain amount of investment not so private investment." 

Investors will probably note that this is how CoBo try to explain away their wrongdoing and evade responsibility for the consequences. The person who wrote the quotation has obviously either been completely taken in by CoBo's sales talk and explanations or is in some way connected with them or even related to them.

To say that investors are to blame, even if only partly, for having trusted the mendacious words of these thoroughly dishonest people (Coboco) and to call investors greedy for wanting to surpass the banks' paltry percentages is downright ridiculous. 

The property investment ideas that CoBo sold in their slick brochures could well have yielded a high return; the point is that they did not put these ideas into practice. Despite collecting more than a million pounds sterling in 2010, they bought no houses. They did not even pay off their existing mortgages. What did they do with the money??? That is, apart from buying a new BMW, etc., and spending freely.

Investors need not feel guilty or stupid for falling for CoBo's false promises. Note that Anthony Lyons, a noted property magnate and another equally astute businessman were considering investing £20 million in a joint venture with them, on the sole basis of CoBo's confidence in the ideas they had thought up. Unfortunately, CoBo have shown that they are not the least interested in the work involved in realizing such ideas; instead, they have shown that they are only interested in taking people's money.

Thursday, 10 May 2012


Liam Collins sent an email to all investors yesterday morning, claiming that this Blog was responsible for the failure of their attempt to set up an IVA. The Insolvency Practitoner concerned is in Northern Ireland; his name is Michael Peoples. Ewart Tempest (see his blog indexed at right) wrote to Mr Peoples to find out why the IVA process had stalled. Readers will take note of the fact that what Collins said to his investors was, once again, wholly untrue. Here is the exchange:
Dear Mr Peoples,

Liam Collins has posted an e-mail to investors in which he states the following:

"The IVA company we had engaged, pulled out last Wednesday due to 'extreme hostility' from the George's as well as the other handful of people we have going against us. Their concern was that there had been press threats and it was too much of a risk for their company."

McCambridge Duffy is 'The IVA company' mentioned above. Can you comment on the above statement and the nature of the 'extreme hostility' that your firm was subjected to by the Georges* and others?

(a major Collins & Bone Partnership investor)
* These are the famous Sally and Jasmine, of course, authors of the present Blog —Editor  

Dear Mr Ewart,

A number of people contacted ourselves and Mr Chris Jary —who helped Liam [Collins] get the first adjournment— making various accusations. While this may indeed be a factor in deciding whether to proceed with the IVA, there was also an issue with Mortgage Express who were the main lender to Collins & Bone. It is their policy to appoint LPA receivers if a landlord enters an IVA and this would have caused any IVAs to collapse. We spoke to them on a number of occasions and they would not say for definite that they would not appoint LPAs.

This was a huge factor in being unable to proceed as we could not draft proposals and recommend them to creditors knowing that Mortgage Express could pull the plug immediately afterwards. They did say they would refer the case to their risk team and hopefully it would be looked favourably upon, but that answer was not enough to justify the work and expense involved in drafting IVAs.

I hope this information is helpful but should you require anything further please give me a call.

Kind Regards,

Michael Peoples
Insolvency Practitioner

Wednesday, 9 May 2012


For the information of any investor who didn't receive it, here is our Circular #16, which went out this afternoon:-

Dear All—
Liam Collins was declared bankrupt this morning in Newcastle at 11:55 am. He didn't bother to turn up, of course. Instead, he asked for the hearing to be transferred to London. This was refused by the judge.

The Newcastle Evening Chronicle asked us for a comment and this is what we wrote to them:-

"The bankruptcy of Liam Collins is the first small step in clearing up the total shambles of his financial affairs, which have led to loss of invested funds for many people, several of whom are retired and some in financial difficulty. His associates will also have to answer for the years of mismanagement and downright deceit in which they have all been engaged. His partner, David Bone, Jr also faces a bankruptcy hearing, on the 31st May.

NB  The debts for which Collins and Bone are responsible amount not to £1m but to £4m (that's four million pounds).

We think that a comment from an investor, which was posted on our blog is worth repeating here:

"Dear Sir/Madam, I would personally like to wish Mr Liam Collins all the best with the Olympic bobsleigh attempt. He's a slippery customer so will be a great asset to the team. I thank you. Annoyed Of Newcastle."

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


For the interest of all serious Cobocowatchers, the following article appeared in the Newcastle Sunday Sun on 6th May ...

Home News North East News 

May 6 2012 by Coreena Ford, Sunday Sun 
An athlete sent threatening text messages to a grandfather amid a battle to recoup £8,000 in unpaid wages.

Grandfather Brian Forrest contacted us after spotting the Sunday Sun’s story about Liam Collins, who shot to fame with his Faces of Disco act on Britain’s Got Talent and is now battling a £1m bankruptcy action.  Mr Forrest worked as a joiner for Mr Collins – now raising funds to train with Team GB – and his business partner David Bone Jnr until 2009, working on properties that had been bought to convert into student houses. The grandfather-of-two, of High Heaton, Newcastle, worked for their firm Complete Building Solutions NE Ltd until it dissolved and he then worked for MTM North East Ltd, run by David Bone’s dad – David Bone Snr – and Mark Black, which is the company that owes him £8,000. Neither Liam Collins nor David Bone Jnr are directors of that company, however. When the property market crashed, the businesses struggled to cope and Mr Forrest claims he often went weeks without being paid, prompting him to take MTM North East Ltd to tribunal last December in a bid to claw back his cash. But MTM is now being dissolved too, meaning the only way Mr Forrest can possibly recoup his cash is through the civil courts – a costly option he can’t afford.

The Sunday Sun contacted Liam Collins – after which the latter sent Mr Forrest two threatening texts. The texts blasted:

“I have some information about you, Brian, which you might like to defend before I go public myself.”

“I’m not going to be made a mug of in public. I suggest you get in touch with me or Davey.”

The 62-year-old was shocked by the texts from Mr Collins, who was involved with Britain’s Olympic bobsleigh team. He said: “I just want what’s owed to me, it’s as simple as that. I first started work for them in 2008, but after the property market went down I often wouldn’t get paid.
“Last April David Bone Jnr was with me shopping for materials for kitchens and so on, and he said if I stayed off work for two months it will give them a chance to pay off the backlog.
“I told him that technically he was sacking me, but he said he wasn’t. He promised me a payment would go in soon after but when I checked online my wages hadn’t gone in.
“I sent him a text saying ‘another broken promise’ and he texted back to say I should consider myself finished from then.”

Despite the text, Mr Forrest hadn’t been given either written notice or his P45, so he personally resigned and took proceedings against MTM. He obtained a default judgement on liability, went back to the employment tribunal on December 7, 2011, and they ordered MTM to pay him a total of £8,060.59. A month later, however, he received a letter from the directors telling him MTM North East Ltd had applied to be struck off the register at Companies House. He added: “It’s too expensive. I don’t think I’ll ever get my money back.”

Liam Collins, 33, said he had sent an apologetic text to Mr Forrest. He said: “I have recently apologised to Brian. I was furious that I am the centre of an article which I have nothing to do with. My text was out of order. I have never been involved with MTM but if I owe Brian money then I will see he gets every penny.” 

Editor's note: That'll be the day!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Wednesday, 25 April 2012


Another post on the Diggs Facebook page:-
UPDATE  We are glad to be able to report that Dom Smith's daughter has finally got her deposit back! This letter from Dom explains ...

"Thanks very much for the support, and guess what? Within 24hrs of your posting the Facebook message on your blog, my daughter got the sweetest saccharine text asking for her bank details, and the money was promptly paid in last Friday. I suspect that the the two events are not unconnected! My worry now is that her three former housemates are worried that they will have the same problems getting their money back. I will keep you informed if they have difficulties.
Thanks again for your support.

Friday, 20 April 2012


It is welcome news that David Bone, Jr has been served with a bankruptcy petition. The date set for the court hearing is 31st May 2012 at 2.00 pm at Wigan County Court; Case Number 100 of 2012.

[The wheels of justice may turn slowly in Britain, but at least Justice wins in the end. This is not so in many parts of the world; one can be threatened with a long jail term or even death simply for misnaming a teddy bear or wind up in a cell just for asking directions from a policeman. In some places, there is no justice at all!—Ed.]

Tuesday, 27 March 2012


If anyone is in any doubt as to why the background of Coboco needs thorough, authoritative scrutiny, we refer them to the following posts on this Blog:


Coboco's former headquarters—as featured in an earlier post on this Blog—is up for sale. Just under half-a-million. Interested investors can check the details at

Monday, 26 March 2012


Readers may have noticed that what the chief salesman and masked dancer puts out is all about himself. The important thing is what he thinks, what he feels, what he plans, what he does. He continues to pretend that he has the investors' interests at heart. Just how he can profess that, after having inveigled bona fide investors to part with hundreds of thousands of pounds, which he has spent without saying how, is surely a measure of what a seriously swollen little ego the law is going to have to deal with.

He has admitted that he is incompetent and that—at least—has been amply demonstrated. But now he wants his victims to trust his hopeless business abilities for another 5 years. He 'offers' thus to repay investors all of their money. One hundred percent. Is there really anyone out there who believes that? Could this be a case of setting up what amounts to a Church of Fraud, which relies on blind belief for its running expenses? Surely not. However, there is seemingly no end to this man's brazenness. Also, anyone who disagrees with his preposterous 'offer' is apparently in dreamland! Charming.

"If anyone wants to carry out an investigation into what has happened, we have no issues with this." Oh, really! Is he not aware that an investigation is being carried out and that he most certainly does have issues with it, many issues? Those are precisely what are being investigated and what he is trying to protect and conceal.

We also point out that just because Ewart Tempest and 'the Georges' are keeping weblogs on Coboco, it should not be imagined that they are alone in this. There are daily increasing numbers of us who are determined to uncover this long-running series of deceptions and to unravel its tangled accounts. We are neither amused nor impressed by his bluster and threats of prosecution, which are no more than primitive means of defence.


Question: I agree that CoBo have been careless and incompetent. They may also have been dishonest. However, if they are bankrupted, won't I just lose all my money? Doesn't an IVA  (Individual Voluntary Agreement)  make more sense for investors?

Answer: Obviously, the outcome of either process cannot be known in advance. For investors  who hold unsecured promissory notes (PNs), there is no guarantee either way. It’s true that in an IVA, a promise is made to repay a proportion of the money owed over a long period of time, but promises can be broken - in fact, the PNs that investors hold amount to nothing more than broken promises. Furthermore, if investors agree to an IVA which offers to repay a percentage of their loan—for example 50%—and the IVA fails, resulting in bankruptcy for CoBo, the IVA agreement will have reduced the amount each investor can claim by 50%!

As CoBo have consistently refused to give any proper accounts, it is impossible to know the likely outcome of bankruptcy. The main advantage is that the assets would be taken out of their hands and the finances examined by experts. CoBo claim that investors would lose everything by bankrupting them, but the authorities are bound by law to manage a bankrupt’s estate to the maximum benefit of the creditors. And unlike CoBo, the authorities have to be transparent and fully accountable.

Sunday, 25 March 2012


The best exposition we have found as to what an IVA is and how it works is here:

The article points out that 

"An IVA is a contractual arrangement with creditors and can be as flexible as an individual's own circumstances; they can therefore be based on capital, income, third party payments or a combination of these."

So far, Collins & Bone (Coboco) have not produced any form of IVA plan to show investors. They are making emotional appeals via emails and personal phone calls for support, without producing any figures. 

With an IVA, agreed payments are made to creditors at specified intervals over a period of from 5 to 7 years. Anyone who has dealt with Coboco will know that the chances of their keeping any kind of agreement on repayment for that length of time are very slim indeed. Just look at the incredible build-up of their debts! (Around £4 million!) If the repayments to creditors are not made on time, on more than one occasion, the partners would be liable to bankruptcy. In the event of the failure of an IVA, creditors would have to endure a long drawn-out process of legal wrangling, involving yet more expense to them and leading inevitably to bankruptcy. So the most  efficient way of sorting out Coboco's complex tangle of debt is bankruptcy now.

The Wikipedia article also states:

"IVAs may be popular with people who have large amounts of assets which they wish to protect." 

We have no idea what Coboco have in the way of assets and even if they were to tell creditors about them, their track record shows that their word is not to be trusted, since they say whatever they think best suits their purpose at the time. This is another way of looking at the benefits of bankruptcy: the partners will be accountable to authority and creditors will be able to see what's behind all the pressure that Coboco are applying to them.

Here are some questions that Coboco need to answer effectively before any investor should even consider supporting an IVA.

[1] What proportion of the debt would the IVA cover? 100%, 50%, 30%?

[2] Would the partners be responsible for managing the properties with an Insolvency Practitioner (IP) supervising? If so, we warn investors that the partners' record in every aspect of property management has been abysmal. We don't see how an IP would be able to insist on the business discipline that would be needed for commercial viability.

[3] An IVA normally excludes the debtors' homes from the assets. Would this apply in the present case? If so, what about all the promises made by Coboco that investors' money was secured against all their properties, including their homes? (We have these statements in writing).

[4] The article in W'pedia warns that the IP's fees may absorb much of the possible benefit to creditors. Can Coboco state clearly what the IP's charges are likely to be in the present case? (Given the extreme tangle that the partners' finances are in, they could hardly be expected to come cheap).

NOTE: An IVA is considered to be the best solution to debt problems in a high proportion of cases. However, where serious mismanagement and deceit are involved and the debtors refuse moreover to clarify their accounts, it must be perfectly obvious that bankruptcy is the only way forward.