THE former owner of Rossendale United Football Club has been banned from acting as a company director for five years.

Andrew Connolly was found to have taken almost £81,000 from the funds of Connolly Demolition Limited, based in Accrington, of which he was a director. The money was meant for creditors.

Mr Connolly, 50, of Burnley, has given an undertaking to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills not to act as a company director for five years from January 4, 2013, following an investigation by The Insolvency Service.

Another director of the company, 41-year old Michael David Holland of Nelson, has also given an undertaking and is disqualified for three years from the same date, for allowing Mr Connolly to make the payments.

Connolly Demolition Limited, which provided demolition and salvage services, went into liquidation on 9 June 2010, owing creditors £1,293,974.

Mr Connolly admitted that between February 1, 2010 and June 9, 2010, he paid himself £80,740 from the company’s account, despite the company being insolvent.

In turn, Mr Holland accepted that he had allowed Mr Connolly to make the payments, even though both understood that this money should have been used to pay Demolition’s creditors.

Claire Entwistle, director of Company Investigations (North) at The Insolvency Service, said: “The Insolvency Service will rigorously pursue company directors who seek to benefit themselves ahead of their creditors, and those who stand aside and allow them to do so.

“Fair treatment of creditors is essential for business confidence, which is, in turn, essential for economic growth.

“The protection of limited liability should only be available to those who comply with their obligations as company directors. If those obligations are ignored, that protection will be withdrawn.”