Bailiffs emptied a Peterborough restaurant of its cooking equipment due to unpaid business rates by its former owners, according to the city council.
Cookers, fryers and fridges were all said to have been taken from Jimmy’s Restaurants in New Road on Tuesday with just tables and chairs left behind.
However, Jimmy’s categorically denied that it had been forced to shut, despite a sign on its front door on Wednesday saying it was closed “due to a technical fault.”
A statement from Team Jimmy’s Peterborough said: “We are not responsible for rumours that the council spreads but can confirm the contents of this particular one are untrue. We are open for business and would take the opportunity to let all our customers know we are continuing to take bookings for Christmas.”
The Peterborough Telegraph sent a picture of the closure sign to Jimmy’s asking for further clarification but had not received a response by the time we went to print.
Bailiffs were called after two former owners of the restaurant – Daylight Corporation and Grand Regency – were said by the council to owe it around £95,000 in business rates. Neither firm is currently running the business.
The removal of items on Tuesday was in relation to the £35,000 debt owed to the council by Grand Regency Ltd.
A council spokesman said: “Since the summer we have asked for proof that this equipment did not belong to Grand Regency – however this hasn’t been provided.
“The goods will be auctioned after 14 days unless proof is provided to show that equipment is owned by another company and not Grand Regency.”
Cllr David Seaton, council cabinet member for resources, said: “The council will always pursue unpaid debts in order to recover every pound we can. The vast majority of businesses pay their rates on time and we owe it to them to use all methods to recover outstanding debts.”
The Peterborough Telegraph, which revealed the unpaid £95,000 debt back in September, also disclosed last week that more than £5.5 million worth of council tax and business rates went uncollected in Peterborough last year.
A council spokesman said Daylight Corporation is going through the insolvency process, and that it is up to the insolvency practitioner to satisfy creditors.