Councillor’s luxury car stolen from outside Party HQ

Screenshot 2021-10-03 at 09.47.29

A newly elected, highly controversial Oldham Metropolitan Borough councillor has reported his car stolen from outside the Failsworth Independent Party HQ in Lord Lane, Failsworth.

In a statement broadcast on Facebook on 30th September, 2021, Cllr Mark Wilkinson and his wife, Kathleen Wilkinson, the Party Chairwoman, said:

“To any of our friends that live in Manchester, please will you keep your eyes open for our car, which was stolen off the drive at 8.20pm this evening.

“It’s a silver Range Rover Evoke (sic) – reg no 3920 MW. 

“The thieving little rat was wearing a grey hooded track suit

“No keys involved, they were safely in the house, but these scum bags have it all worked out

“Any help would be gratefully appreciated”

Curiously, there is no mention of reporting the matter to the police and an even more inexplicable assumption is that the perpetrators went West towards Manchester, rather than East towards Oldham and the motorway network.

What will be embarrassing for them is that they are currently refusing to co-operate with Greater Manchester Police over an investigation into election expenses, following the local polls in May, 2021.

Mark Wilkinson served as an officer in the same force.

The Wilkinsons and their Party, who are presently mired in a number of controversies, very much of their own making (read here), are also refusing to co-operate with their own lawyer in providing clarity over an alleged ‘long firm fraud’ that was, at one point, connected to the same Party HQ address.

A company called Bride To Be (Manchester) Ltd was run by Ryan Wilkinson and his partner, Holly Cuthbert, and collapsed with debts reported on Companies House to be £279,000, including interest. Many requests have been made for a definitive statement, including via their solicitors Harold Stock and Co, as recently as 8th September, 2021, but none has been provided.

Kathleen Wilkinson has previously stated on Twitter that ‘all monies have been repaid by the Directors’. That is not reflected in the liquidators final statement filed at Companies House in June, 2021. Ryan Wilkinson is her step-son:

 

Screenshot 2021-10-03 at 10.36.52

 

This is the Facebook post of one customer, Claire Alexandra from Prestwich:

“Can Ryan Wilkinson and Holly Cuthbert owners or soon to be ex owners of Bride to Be in Prestwich please provide me with my wedding dress? This is paid for in full. I still do not have this in my hands less than 8 weeks before my wedding. I believe RYAN posted on here on the 2nd of April with information that was incorrect advising customers will get their dresses? Well, I’m a customer and have not got my dress yet and you’ve had £3,500 off me? Especially when you’ve had the opportunity to hand my dress over to me when I visited around two weeks ago but you kept quiet during alterations. I ask that you both get some courage quick and tell me why you took my money and have not provided me with my wedding dress. This is NOT at the designers. It was last in your company’s hands at YOUR premises. Irresponsible company ownership. I feel sorry for any bride who has also experienced this. That. is. all”.

According to records at Companies House, Bride To Be went into liquidation just over two weeks later. The accounts prepared by the insolvency practitioners showed that £45,000 was owed to customers at the time. It is not known, at present, if Claire’s payment was included in that sum. Enquiries are ongoing.

Despite that, the Wilkinsons have sought to silence commentary or questions on the Bride To Be debacle by issuing a ‘cease and desist’ letter to the author of this article, Neil Wilby.

It was poorly drafted, riddled with factual inaccuracies and legally inept. It received an appropriate response and the Failsworth Independent Party are now left facing even more searching questions. Not least, another Standards complaint to Oldham Council.

The Failsworth Independent Party and Mark Wilkinson were again offered right of reply. They have ignored every previous invitation. Likewise, Darren McGuinness the Owner/Director of Harold Stock and Co. The latest emails did not receive even the courtesy of acknowledgement. 

On reading the article, Sean Fielding, the former Leader of Oldham Council, who lost his seat to Mark Wilkinson at the May elections, following a bitter smear campaign mounted against him by the FIPs (read more here), posted on Twitter:

“Tragic. Couldn’t happen to nicer people”. 

A serving councillor, who prefers not be named, said: 

“Politics is replete with Walter Mittys and Oldham doesn’t disappoint with its roster. Social media provides ample opportunity to hoist them on their own petards’.

Mark Wilkinson posted on Twitter on 1st October, 2021: 

“No wonder Greater Manchester Police is in Special Measures! 3 Range Rover evoques stolen last night between 5.30pm and 8.20pm within 300 metres of each other.

“Suspects caught on cctv with offending vehicle and registration obtained. Not one victim contacted yet by GMP despite the evidence being passed.

“I was a Police officer for 32yrs, I’m embarrassed”.

But not embarrassed enough to set the record straight over the ‘missing’ £279,000 (or more) in the Bride To Be accounts. The company run by his own son and, about which, it is now proved that his wife, the Failsworth Independent Party Chairwoman, has lied.

Page last updated at 2035hrs on Monday 4th October, 2021

Corrections: Please let me know if there is a mistake in this article. I will endeavour to correct it as soon as possible.

Right of reply: If you are mentioned in this article and disagree with it, please let me have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory it will be added to the article.

Photo credit: Facebook – Failsworth Matters

© Neil Wilby 2015-2021. Unauthorised use, or reproduction, of the material contained in this article, without permission from the author, is strictly prohibited. Extracts from, and links to, the article (or blog) may be used, provided that credit is given to Neil Wilby, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

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