Police called in after wine site goes under

Police are investigating after the parent company of a Leeds-based online

wine-retailing business went into administration.

Administrator Armstrong Watson was appointed by Denis Lefrancq – a 34-year-old Belgian national living in Wakefield and the director of Mardenis – which had run the surpluswine.co.uk operation.

Mardenis’ main business was the No 3 York Place restaurant in Leeds, which has also closed.

The company had advertised savings of up to 70% on wine and Champagne – from a European supplier left with unwanted stocks due to the failure of restaurants and pubs during the recession.

The telephone order lines closed at the end of March, with dozens of customers reporting they had not received wines they had paid for.

The website – which wasn’t used to capture orders – is still live, but a link to the price list brings up a message saying: “We are currently updating our inventory, and with new stock arriving soon, we will shortly be updating our price list.”

West Yorkshire Trading Standards said it had received more than 30 complaints from customers who had paid for wine.

West Yorkshire Police says it is now investigating complaints. A spokeswoman said: “West Yorkshire Police is looking into reports that a suspected fraud may have been committed.”

A spokesman for Armstrong Watson said: “We are still trying to collate all the details and assess the asset situation of the company. It is too early to say whether creditors will get anything back.”