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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.

Monday, 16 January 2012


Many who invested in Collins & Bone did so not only because they were offered high interest rates but also because it was promoted as an ethical undertaking which aimed to provide high quality accommodation for students. Here is a quotation from the 2010 C&B Overview Brochure:

“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, minimise 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.”

The Diggs Lettings webpages develop this theme:

But the reality the students experienced was quite different. Maintenance was poor - in one instance it took three weeks to mend a leak in the bathroom when water was cascading through to the kitchen below -  and service was often slow and patchy. The students paid a rent that included utilities, phone and internet connection. In many cases, they found themselves receiving letters threatening to disconnect the gas, electricity or phone because the bills had not been paid.

The most serious charge, however, is that in many cases, particularly from June 2011, the tenants deposits were not paid back at the end of their tenancies. For further details, we refer you to   

It is illegal to withhold tenants’ deposits without due cause. Since 2007, it has been a criminal offence not to put tenants’ deposits into a special holding account or to have a recognised insurance-based scheme operating. At various times, both letting agents and students confronted the partners and their associates about the absence of a proper deposit scheme. However, their protestations were ignored and now the students are forced to pursue legal action. The offenders will find that they are liable to repay the deposits in full, plus three times the amount of the deposit per offence.

Liam Collins and David Bone Jr are not the only ones responsible for the careless mismanagement of the lettings side of their business. Mark Black, David Bone Snr and Rachael Bone are all directors of one or more of the Diggs companies.

Here is what some of the students write:

“Hello! I moved out of a diggs house on 1st was perfect when i left it...was there when the guys came to check it and they said everything was fine which suggests im entitled to all of my deposit back. I rang patrick properties who passed my email onto diggs. I was emailed straight away by Rachael who said it would be 2-3 weeks til i got it back. After 3 weeks i asked her where it was and she said she's still working through i said to her if i don't get it back in a week I'll be seeking legal I'm being ignored by her :( Anyone had luck getting deposits back yet?? What do I do now????”

“I have also been conned by Diggs Lettings. Is there anything we can do? This is not right that our money has literally been stolen from us. Please could you contact me?”

“I moved out of a property in Liverpool on 30th June 2011 which I was sharing with 2 other girls. We have still not received our deposits of £200 each and have recently sought out help and advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau”.

On  November 25th 2011, Liam Collins wrote:

“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.” 

(Italics and underlining ours).

So, for whom is it ‘not an issue’? Liam Collins, David Bone and their associates evidently do not care, but we’re here to help the students get justice. And to stop these ruthless  people from abusing the trust of honest, hardworking citizens.

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