May 31, 2011
An email arrives from a friend I haven't laid eyes on for over a decade.
He's tracked me down because he's been Googling "Gentry IT".
His parents, it seems, are down by thousands of pounds thanks to the merry band of "interesting" financial advisors led by the delightful Morecambe suspect Terry Warrington, whose many business associations include the equally delightful and above board and not at all crooked Business Assistance NW in Wallasey, and what was Bridging Finance NW, but is now Bridging Finance Solutions (sic), both based curiously enough at exactly the same address in Wallasey.
I ask this old friend how he is.
A bit rubbish, comes the reply. During his years living in London he was hit by a car late one night, and among the catalogue of injuries he lost an eye.
Nasty, but, as ever, he remains a cheerful soul.
So now he's back up north living near his parents, who've become the latest people to find out that their investment into "Gentry Investment Trust" (also sic) seems to have disappeared, just like the money of so many other older people, like my mum, for instance.
(Not that Terry Warrington or his equally upstanding friends and associates at Business Assistance or Bridging Finance have explained any of this, however.)
So our talk twists and turns from old memories revisited: His bloody bad luck under the wheels of another person's car; his parents being completely ripped off by person or persons "unknown" (also sic) in an outrageous loan shark scam that will, eventually, be paid for - in whatever currency the indebted choose; and the lawyer who, after his accident, helped to arrange his compensation.
The lawyer's name is Dean Bartlett. Which is interesting. Because Dean is a former co-director of property companies with one Terry Warrington. How weird! That'll be Dean who was reprimanded and fined £17,500 for... Oh, you'll find it on the internet, won't you?
And here's something else weird: When my friend's parents didn't receive their annual interest cheque from Gentry IT two years ago, they rang Terry Warrington to ask why.
He told them that, daft old buggers that they are, they'd mistakenly ticked for a "five year interest option" and would therefore have to wait that long until they got either a payment or their investment back.
Meanwhile, Malcolm Barber of Business Assistance, established in 1976 and so very much his baby, still has a lovely new Audi on his drive and villas in Florida and Spain.
Sorry to be such a dreadful bore about this, Malcolm and Terry and Dean - but until we get the lot of you in a room and someone starts explaining something, this is not - NOT - going to stop.