A BUILDER from Bolton has been disqualified from company management after failing to pay nearly £600,000 in tax.

Darren McGaughey, who appeared in The Bolton News in 2011 after snapping up what was thought to be the cheapest house in Britain — 22 Pritchard Street in Burnley — cannot manage, control a company or be a director for five years.

His business partner, Paul Sterry, aged 44, of Bacup was disqualified for six years.

Mr McGaughey, aged 45, from Heaton, and Mr Sterry ran Blackburn-based BCP (NW) Limited, trading as suspended ceiling contractors and suppliers.

An investigation by the Insolvency Service’s company investigations team in Manchester found that between November, 2009, and November, 2010, Mr McGaughey and Mr Sterry failed to ensure the company paid £598,547 owed in tax to HM Revenue and Customs.

The directors were also found to have failed in their statutory duty to ensure the company maintained adequate accounting records and provided investigators with computerised records which were insufficient to verify the company’s financial dealings.

The company was placed into administration on November 5, 2010, with estimated debts of £1,295,572.

Mr McGaughey said he blamed himself for the demise of his company.

He added: “The person to blame for this is me. It was my company but I didn’t understand the paperwork side of things.”

The firm went from a thriving business to one struggling to get customers to pay their debts during the recession.

“I thought we would be able to trade through it,” he said.

Although all of Mr McGaughey’s former employees are understood to have found alternative work, Mr McGaughey said he had not.

“To be honest, I want to get out of the building trade. I don’t need the stress,” he said.

“Anyone who knows me knows I would not have done this intentionally.”