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Trading Standards probe as Norfolk Hamper Company closes

PUBLISHED: 09:55 01 February 2013 | UPDATED: 09:55 01 February 2013

The Norfolk Hamper Company based in Caister.

Picture: James Bass

The Norfolk Hamper Company based in Caister. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

The director of the former Norfolk Hamper Company is under the spotlight as Trading Standards bosses focus on a new venture - Suffolk Hampers.

Neil Alvey faced criticism in December 2012 when his online gift hamper business failed to fulfil orders on time, and complaints were made over quality.

He said he was progressing refunds, but on January 21 announced that the Norfolk Hamper Company Limited had ceased trading.

Weeks earlier he had said the company was “110 pc committed” to carry on trading.

The premises in Caister High Street have since been stripped bare, the company’s website has been closed and Trading Standards bosses say they are powerless to ensure refunds are issued or that the company stays open.

Among those owed money is Belton community magazine Lothingland Village Voice, in which the Norfolk Hamper Company had advertised.

Editor Brian Swan said the publication is around £80 out of pocket for adverts late in 2012.

“We had telephone promises of payment and that was it,” he said. “I’m holding out absolutely no hope of getting the money back.

“I don’t think anyone will get anything to be honest.

“I’m just annoyed at him [Mr Alvey].”

No liquidator had been appointed by Norfolk Hamper Company at the time of going to press, and the business status is still listed as active by Companies House.

And in a new twist, a website first registered by Mr Alvey in 2011 has come to the attention of Trading Standards.

Alice Barnes, Norfolk County Council Trading Standards team manager, said: “We are aware there is a domain in the name of Suffolk Hamper Company.

“Norfolk Hamper Company have ceased trading however we continue to investigate potential criminal offences and are taking steps to prevent similar future breaches of consumer legislation in any business conducted by the trader.”

The domain name www.suffolk-hampers.com is registered to an address in St Margaret’s Way, Fleggburgh.

Mr Alvey was previously director of a hamper company called Gift Baskets Galore Limited that was registered to an address in Coxswain Read Way, Caister.

A service address in Stalham was given and Caroline Alvey was listed as company secretary.

The business was dissolved around 2007.

Mr Alvey did not respond to requests for comment.

For Trading Standards advice, see www.norfolk.gov.uk/view/NCC116386

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