A CANVEY firm is one of five shut down following a truffles scam which saw pensioners cheated out of almost £9million.

According to the Insolvency Service more than 100 investors were conned with Viceroy Jones New Tech Ltd, Viceroy Jones Overseas PCC Limited, Westcountrytruffles Limited, Truffle Sales Ltd and Credit Free Limited all wound up.

The High Court heard Viceroy Jones New Tech Ltd used a network of unregulated financial advisory firms and targeted people that had access to their pension savings.

George Frost, based at London Road, Benfleet, was registered as a director of the firm with Pauline Frost, of Hardy’s Way, Canvey, listed as a former secretary.

Mr Frost was also registered as a director of all the other firms, bar Truffle Sales Ltd.

Credit Free Ltd was based in Lionel Road, Canvey with the directors also registered to Canvey.

According to the Insolvency Service investors were told their savings were funding saplings inoculated with truffle spores planted and managed for 15 years at dedicated plantations worldwide.

The truffles would then be cultivated on a commercial scale.

However no harvesting or cultivation has ever taken place to date at any of the plantations, including those in Spain and South Africa, despite the scheme first being sold to the public in 2012.

The High Court, in October, heard investors paid between £750 to £995 for saplings available to the public at £7.95 to £9.95.

Credit Free Ltd had not actively participated in the truffle scam but received funds raised in the scheme.

Using these funds, the company paid more than £1.8 million over a five-year period to George Frost and to another director.

Cheryl Lambert, Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “The companies and those behind them have showed no remorse in their calculated plan to scam investors of their pension pots.

“Although the Insolvency Service investigation was hampered by a lack of cooperation, the investigation pieced together the numerous layers in which the scam was wrapped. We take the matter of unregulated pension liberation investment schemes very seriously and will take action to stop any such schemes who have acted unscrupulously.”

The action taken was against the companies themselves rather than individuals following the hearing on October 12.