End of the road for Padarn Bus

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A Padarn Bus Optare Solo
A Padarn Bus Optare Solo

Police investigate fraud allegation at independent Llanberis-based operator

North Wales has lost one of its independent operators after Padarn Bus shut its doors at midnight on Friday (May 30) when it ceased trading. 80 people lost their jobs that day.

The news comes after insolvency specialists from Baker Tilly assisted the directors in exploring all other possible options, including the sale of the business by way of an Accelerated Merger & Acquisition process. Despite their best efforts, which involved working closely with all stakeholders, including the councils, Finance Wales and the Welsh Government to try and find a way to preserve the business, it ultimately, not possible – meaning the firm was placed into liquidation. A creditors’ meeting is due to take place within the next 21 days, at which point the liquidators are expected to be appointed.

More worrying however, is the news of a police investigation. Detective Inspector Stephen Williams, of North Wales, confirmed officers were investigating an allegation of fraud at the firm.

He told The Daily Post: “Two local people have been arrested as part of the investigation. One, a 28-yearold woman, was arrested and interviewed on May 24. Following questioning she was bailed to allow police time to complete the investigation.

“The second, a 44-year-old man, was arrested on Thursday (May 29).”

“As this is an on-going investigation, it would be inappropriate to add anything further at this time.”

A spokesman for the familyrun firm told BBC Wales that the closure was as a result of losing contracts following the announcement of the police inquiry.

A council spokesman said: “The council and the Welsh Government have been aware the company has been facing difficulties for some weeks and we have been working together in an attempt to address the serious problems that could occur for passengers should the company bring their service to an end at short-notice.

The company was founded as a taxi firm in 1979 by Dafydd and Darren Price, moving into coach hire in 1984.

It continued to be a small scale operation until 2009 when Padarn Bus directors concluded a deal to buy KMP Coaches of Llanberis. Padarn ran a 40-vehicle fleet, comprising both commercial and tendered local bus services and private hire coaches. The company’s 40 routes included most of the Snowdon Sherpa services, popular with visitors to the Snowdonia National Park. It also ran services onto the Isle of Anglesey.

Operators which stepped in to cover Padarn’s work include Arriva Buses Wales, Express Motors, Gwynfor Coaches, O R Jones of Llanfaethlu and GHA Coaches.