A WITNEY woman who ran a bouncy castle hire business has been banned from being a company director for tax offences, four years after her husband was disqualified for similar reasons.

Hannah Mears, 35, was the director of inflatables firm Darkfell Limited – previously known as Funtime Bounce Ltd.

She first became a director of the company in March 2015 after her husband, Mark Mears, 47, was disqualified.

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Bouncy castle boss Mrs Mears was also the director of Mears Holdings Limited, which owned Darkfell.

When she was appointed a director of Darkfell, the firm had debts of almost £400,000 and she arranged for a winding-up petition to be presented by a third party, due to be heard in August 2015.

She signed a witness statement that claimed the company was not trading, had no assets and could not pay its debts.

However Mrs Mears adjourned the hearing until October 2015 and then another five times after that.

These long delays meant the company could continue to trade – while it was insolvent – until September 2016.

The delays also meant the tax authorities did not continue with the petition because they had been told the company would be entering liquidation or proposing a Creditors Voluntary Arrangement.

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Eventually, the company appointed an administrator on September 15, 2016.

It found Mrs Mears’ actions had meant Darkfell did not pay £240,000 in tax – even though it had paid other creditors over that same time.

Mr Mears had caused Funtime Entertainment Limited, a forerunner of Darkfell, to owe £27,000 in tax when that was put into liquidation.

He was disqualified for three years in 2015.

At the start of this month, on August 1, the Secretary of State accepted a five-year disqualification undertaking from Mrs Mears.

She did not dispute she had traded with the knowledge of insolvency and to the detriment of the tax authorities.

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Martin Gitner, the deputy head of insolvent investigations for the Insolvency Service, said: “Even though Hannah Mears knew the inflatables business had debts, she not only caused the company to continue trading, but also failed to pay taxes, causing further liabilities to HMRC to be incurred.

“This disqualification will leave any corporate ambitions Hannah Mears had deflated for many years to come and serves as a warning to other directors that evidence of misconduct could lead to substantial bans.”

A disqualification undertaking is equivalent to a disqualification order but it does not require court proceedings.

People subject to a disqualification order are bound by a number of restrictions.

They include not being able to act as a director of a company or forming a company.