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Storage pod investors will soon find out if their cash is lost forever

Sam Barker
Quentin Willson, formerly of Top Gear, invested in and promoted the scheme - Getty Images
Quentin Willson, formerly of Top Gear, invested in and promoted the scheme - Getty Images

Investors who have sunk money into a storage pod scheme will edge closer to knowing the future of their cash as a High Court hearing begins today.

Lancashire-based Store First offered investors a "guaranteed" 8pc return in the first two years, rising to 10pc in years three and four.

Investors could purchase the self-storage containers and then rent them out or sell them on.

Thousands of people spent all or part of their pension savings on the investments, but are unsure if they will get any of their money back.

Store First was promoted in videos by former Top Gear presenter Quentin Willson.

He put his own money into the scheme but now thinks his investment could be worthless.

In June 2017 the Insolvency Service applied to have Store First Limited and four sister companies wound up in the public interest.

Today the Manchester District Registry of the High Court will hear the winding-up petitions as part of a three-week session.

Normally such a petition is brought against a firm by someone it owes money to.

If the petitions are successful, an official receiver will wind up the firms.

Then any investors who believe they are owed money can register as creditors and hope to get their cash back.

Separately, Store First’s sister company has doubled the cash it has set aside to help customers who bought into airport parking scheme investments from £62m to £124m.

The Financial Conduct Authority, the City watchdog said in December 2017 that Park First was running collective investment schemes without permission.

Park First has stopped running the original schemes and has been offering two options to investors in its Gatwick, Luton and Glasgow airport car parks.

They can either get their initial investment back or can move to a lifetime leaseback scheme paying 2pc a year and an annual dividend.

Park First and Store First's parent firm, Group First Global, put £62m towards these schemes in 2017 and another £62m in 2018, according to recently-filed accounts.

A spokesman for Group First Global declined to comment.

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