Pharmacy 'repossessed' after Lloydspharmacy lease fiasco
An Ashton-under-Lyne pharmacy was unable to open for four days when bailiffs broke in overnight and changed the locks.
Pharmacy staff working at McKeevers Chemist in Top Mossley were “caught up” in the liquidation of Lloydspharmacy when the property was temporarily repossessed last week.
According to managing director Paul McKeever an alarm activated “very unexpectedly” at the premises at “about 10pm” on February 1.
Police discovered the intruders were bailiffs who had “broken into the pharmacy, changed the locks and posted notices on our door to say that [staff] were unable to enter”.
Mr McKeever told C+D he found about this “first thing” the next morning, discovering that “this [was] all to do with the Lloydspharmacy liquidation”.
C+D reported last month that the multiple had entered liquidation with almost £300 million owed to creditors after announcing the sale of all Lloydspharmacy high street branches in November.
“Lloyds were in a lease with the property owner, and then they sublet the property to me,” Mr McKeever explained.
He added that he believed the multiple “weren't fulfilling their obligations on the lease or [weren’t] paying the rent…and we got caught up in all of that”.
“From my point of view, we've always paid our rent and we've been caught up in somebody else's business…it’s not been our fault in any way, and it’s created a very difficult situation for us,” he said.
“A very shocking and stressful situation”
Mr McKeever said the situation was “very shocking and stressful” for his pharmacy team and resulted in “a lot of very distressed patients”.
He added that the morning after the bailiffs came “our pharmacy team couldn't enter the pharmacy” and “most importantly” and patients couldn’t collect their medicines.
Mr McKeever stressed he had always paid Lloydspharmacy “on time” and that the repossession was “a shock” to the team, who “weren't aware of anything”.
He said that after the break in the premise wasn’t properly alarmed, raising potential insurance issues over an already “very stressful weekend”.
He added that just four days later the pharmacy’s solicitors “were able to secure a temporary injunction” which allowed the pharmacy to reopen the next day (February 6).
The community “rallied round to help us out”
Mr McKeevers told C+D he was grateful for his team, local GP surgeries and patients who “helped [the pharmacy] out”.
He said that after informing “the local surgeries about what had happened” they “were really good at helping us out” and advising “patients as very best they could” while the pharmacy was closed.
He added that one member of pharmacy staff stayed at the premises to “try to help patients” and “to direct them down to the other pharmacies” in the area.
“We did our very best that day and we're very thankful to the surgeries”, he said.
Mr McKeevers added that he is now hoping “to agree a new lease with our landlord”.