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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.

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!