Mystery surrounds the future of the Les Routiers in Britain guidebook, after a Caterer investigation revealed that the owners had not filed accounts from last year and are now completely out of contact with their business partners.
Suspicion was raised when the Les Routiers website went down two weeks ago. Web hosting company Kehorne Internet said it had had no success in contacting the company since then.
Les Routiers distributor Portfolio Books revealed that the latest edition of the guide was now overdue, and it had also been unable to contact the owners.
Patrick Brougham, special sales manager at Portfolio, said the company had taken 2,000 pre-orders of the new guide, which was due to hit bookshops in the first week of October, but had been unable to contact any one from the company for the past four to five weeks.
Companies House shows Les Routiers' accounts as overdue from 30/01/2005.
However, A9 Partnership, the company's registered accountants, based at Abercorn School, Newton, Broxburn in West Lothian, were unable to comment.
Mark Vaughan, chef-patron of Vaughan's Bistro in Weymouth, Dorset, was told by Les Routiers that he had been nominated for one of its annual awards, but has not been able to contact them.
Edmund Inkin, co-owner of the Felin Fach Griffin Inn in Brecon, Powys, has not heard anything from Les Routiers since it visited his company's new property, the Gurnard's Head in Zennor, Cornwall, in June. "I e-mailed my contact there recently but got an automatic redirect saying they no longer worked there," Inkin said.
Paul Clevehaugh, owner of the Crooked Billet pub in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, and the London Street Brasserie in Reading, Berkshire, confirmed the regular contact he had had with Les Routiers had ceased "a few months ago".
Les Routiers in Britain, which has not returned any messages left at its London head office by Caterer, is operated under franchise. The France and Ireland operations are unaffected.
By Chris Druce
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