The year 2019 has closed on a sorry chapter of dishonest trading by the business man Neill Stuart Malcolm John whose firms were wound up by the Insolvency Service.

John, along with his then partner Clair Hunnisett, became known as the Bonnie and Clyde of the print industry as they took online orders in cash from self-publishers but failed to deliver any printed books. They used the names of Printed Books Ltd, Book Printer UK, The Printing Press and UK, Litho Printing Limited and similar sounding firms.

Despite being banned in May in court in Manchester John continued to set up new websites offering discounts to aspiring publishers with near identical websites trading under the names of Book World Ltd and Hardback Printer Limited. The court wound them up in September in the public interest.

Writing on Print Week’s website in October Jo Francis said: “The court heard a familiar tale regarding the mode of operation of Book World, which attracted customers – often self-publishers – by offering cheap prices and then outsourced the printing, mainly to printers based in Eastern Europe. The registered addresses of the two firms were in London, but the Insolvency Service found they were in reality virtual office providers and the companies actually operated from Barry, in South Wales.”

In a statement, Insolvency Service chief investigator Helen Cosgrove said: “Many of the companies’ victims were everyday consumers looking for a good price to get their work published as they didn’t have the support of a big publishing house behind them. However, investigations clearly proved Book World had no interest in serving their clients and provided shoddy levels of output, while Hardback Printer was all set-up to do exactly the same. We are pleased the courts recognised this and have shut down their activities to prevent further people from becoming victims.”

Although the duo fleeced hundreds of people of their cash with a promise of printed books they also ordered print from some UK firms but others from Europe including Turkey, Ukraine and the Baltic nations. Some of their customers received their books – although usually in an unsatisfactory condition – but the print firms rarely if ever got paid with some left with large unpaid invoices to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds.

At this point the story one would hope would come to an end and John would hopefully return to his original vocation that of a high pressure salesman. However a tip-off from one of his victims this week has noted he’s changed his name again to Neill St John and has apparently got married in a lavish ceremony – not to his long term partner Clair Hunnisett – but to events company manager Krystal St John.

ICSM Credit’s Ian Carrotte said: “We have been warning members of this man for more than two years as he has left print companies in this country with unpaid invoices. He has also taken hundreds of thousands of pounds off members of the public. My fear is under a new name he will again begin trading and targetting the unknowing public and trusting businesses.”

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Picture: Ian Malcolm Stuart John’s new Facebook profile image although he now calls himelf Ian St John – not to be confused with the Scottish footballer