EXCLUSIVE: Fenland micro-pig breeder made bankrupt after former employees’ court action
THE Fenland entrepreneur who became the country’s first micro-pig breeder has today been made bankrupt after action by two former employees.
Jane Croft exploded into the limelight when she set up Little Pig Farm in 2009 in Christchurch. The former investment banker initially enjoyed phenomenal success, selling pint-sized pigs across the globe for up to �1,200.
However, today at King’s Lynn County Court, former employees Peter Perriam and Nicholas Harding brought the bankruptcy action upon their former boss for unpaid wages totalling �2,830.
Ms Croft, who crosses Miniature Pot Bellied pigs with Tamworths, Kune Kunes and Gloucester Old Spots to create her colourful micro pigs, didn’t attend to court to hear her fate.
Solicitor David Fraser, of Dickinson-Dees, acting on behalf of the duo, produced e-mails to District Judge Rutland that confirmed Ms Croft had failed to pay money they claim they are owed.
Mr Fraser said: “There has been e-mails between us and as far as I can make out Jane is resigned to the fact she will be made bankrupt today.
“With regards to the hearing she said ‘I will not be able to make it as I’m in Harlow and my car is now not working. So regarding that I’m aware bankruptcy is imminent’.”
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Judge Rutland declared the bankruptcy order at 12.05pm for a total of �7,339.06 which includes legal costs. He told Mr Perriam and Mr Harding: “What this means is she has now been declared bankrupt and you will hear from the official receiver and creditors.”
Ms Croft - who has appeared on TV and radio and has produced a best-selling book This Little Piggy - dismissed claims she had told the solicitor she was in Harlow.
Speaking after the hearing from her Christchurch home she said: “I didn’t say I was in Harlow, I just thought there was no point going to court because I knew what was going to happen. There was no point in fighting it. I’m absolutely broke.
“When I first got going I couldn’t keep up with the demand so I bought extra pigs believing they were micro-pigs. They grew to be massive so I had to offer refunds.
“I’ve been ruined by that and hate campaigns on Facebook. I’ve been a victim of industrial espionage. I’ve had enough and the stress of it has made me ill.”
Ms Croft has enjoyed rubbing shoulders with celebrities over the past two years as A-listers snapped up the much-wanted pets.
Her website shows her with pop star Robbie Williams, TV stars Vanessa Feltz and Ricky Tomlinson and former sporting icons Andrew Flintoff and Jamie Redknapp.
She has sold franchises of Little Pig Farm to businesses across the country but said she no longer owns the company. She refused to name who the new owners are.
Mr Perriam, of Welney, worked for Ms Croft for six months until May last year. The 50-year-old said he is owed �1,600 by Ms Croft and has been on Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) for four months.
He said: “We can’t find a job and she owes us money. If it wasn’t for my wife having a decent job we’d be absolutely stuffed.”
Mr Harding, of March, said he is owed �1,230 and has been claiming JSA for five months. He stopped working for Ms Croft in October.
He said: “You don’t get much money when you’re on JSA.”