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Fleetwood owner Andy Pilley loses civil court fight with council

A businessman and football club owner convicted of fraudulent trading has lost a civil court fight with a council involved in investigating allegations of mis-selling.

Andy Pilley, owner of League One side Fleetwood and chairman of BES Utilities, had been involved in High Court litigation with Cheshire West and Chester Council.

BES Utilities and a number of other utility firms based in the Fleetwood and Blackpool areas of Lancashire had sued the council.

They made a number of complaints – including an allegation of misfeasance and an allegation that search warrants were obtained unlawfully.

Council bosses denied all allegations and a High Court judge has ruled in their favour.

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Mr Justice Freedman has dismissed claims made against the council.

The judge said the case involved  “non-domestic energy suppliers based in Fleetwood/Blackpool, Lancashire” working in the “small to medium-sized enterprise business market”.

He said the litigation concerned “allegations about mis-selling” which had “brought about a criminal investigation”.

Pilley, 52, was found guilty last week of fraudulent trading, fraud by false representation and being involved in the acquisition, retention, use or control of the proceeds of fraudulently mis-sold energy contracts following a trial at Preston Crown Court and will be sentenced on July 3.

Three other people were also convicted.

Mr Justice Freedman had overseen High Court hearings in London in late 2021 but had ruled that his findings could not be revealed until the crown court trial concluded in case jurors were influenced.

The judge released his findings on late on Thursday following the conclusion of that trial.

Pilley has been the chairman and owner of Fleetwood for 20 years and has overseen their rise from non-league status to the English Football League.