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Lloydspharmacy liquidation: Jhoots branch third premises to be ‘repossessed’

A Jhoots branch has become the third premises to be repossessed by bailiffs in connection with Lloydspharmacy’s liquidation, just two months after another pharmacy repossession landed a patient in hospital.

A Jhoots branch in Rainham that was previously operated by Lloydspharmacy was forced to relocate to another premises after it was repossessed earlier this month (April 19), C+D has learned.

Chief executive of Kent local pharmaceutical committee (LPC) Mark Anyaegbuna told C+D last week (April 22) that the Rainham Shopping Centre branch had “been repossessed by bailiffs”.

A note left on the door by Commercial Rent Bailiffs Limited said that “with the authority” of the landlord, bailiffs had entered the “demised premises” and “taken possession” under the terms of Jhoots’ “rental agreement or lease”.

“No unauthorised persons are permitted entry into these premises and any attempt to do so will result in criminal proceedings being instigated against you”, the possession notice added.

C+D understands that the pharmacy was operating as a Lloydspharmacy until October 2023 when it was sold.

In November, C+D exclusively revealed that the entire Lloydspharmacy estate had been sold and in January, it was revealed that the multiple had been placed into liquidation with £293m owed to creditors.

Anyaegbuna told C+D last week (April 24) that the branch reopened in another premises previously owned by Boots on Wednesday, although it was “still trying to get back to some sort of normality”.

Lloydspharmacy’s liquidator Turpin Barker Armstrong (TBA) told C+D last week (April 25) that Jhoots did not engage with the liquidator so it had no option but to disclaim the lease.

C+D also approached Jhoots and Lloydspharmacy’s former parent company the Hallo Healthcare Group (HHG) for comment.


“Boom, you've changed the locks”


Meanwhile in February, staff at Rimmington’s Pharmacy in Bradford were left baffled when they arrived at work to find “a sticker on the door saying, ‘you've just been repossessed’”.

At the time, the pharmacy’s owner Sajid Mahmood told C+D that he believed the repossession was the result of Lloydspharmacy - which Rimmington’s had been subletting from - not “paying [its] rent” on the property.

He said that landlord Makan Investment Limited had come “directly” to Rimmington’s Pharmacy due to the multiple’s insolvency and they were “in discussion…about the new lease” prior to the repossession.

Despite this, on February 6, the landlord sent bailiffs to change the pharmacy’s locks in the night, he added.

“We were chatting to [Makan] before they closed us. It's bizarre, because we’re in communication working swiftly and suddenly, boom, you've changed the locks,” Mahmood told C+D last week (April 23).

C+D understands that Makan contacted Rimmington’s in January asking for it to agree to a new lease by the end of the month but at the time of the repossession in February, the companies were still in discussion and no lease had been agreed.


“We had a patient going into hospital”


While Mahmood told C+D last week that Rimmington’s was only closed for a day and has now “signed a new lease” with the landlord, the repossession caused serious problems for its patients.

He previously told C+D that the methadone due to be collected that day “caused a huge problem rattling patients” – adding that “this is no joke”.

“We had a patient going into hospital because they didn’t get their meds on time,” he added at the time.

Mahmood said the landlords have “got to answer for that” as well as “for the lack of service and the lack of communication”.

Makan Investment appears to be linked to Bolton-based chemist chain Gorgemead Limited, which trades under the name Cohens Chemist .

Companies House records show that the companies share a director/managing officer, Dr Aziz Anwer Ismail, and while Makan Investment is registered overseas in Jersey, its listed correspondence address is the same Bolton address where Cohens is registered.

Makan Investment stressed that Cohens does not receive any rent for the Rimmington’s property and said that it disputed the allegations but declined to comment or clarify.

And TBA told C+D that the landlord unilaterally took the decision to forfeit the lease and the liquidator was not contacted by Rimmington’s at any point.


“Shocking and stressful”


In the same month, C+D reported that pharmacy staff working at McKeevers Chemist in Ashton-under-Lyne were “caught up” in the liquidation of Lloydspharmacy when bailiffs broke in overnight and changed the locks – leaving it unable to open for four days.

At the time, managing director Paul McKeever told C+D that although the pharmacy had always paid its rent, Lloydspharmacy - which was subletting the property to McKeevers - wasn’t “fulfilling [its] obligations on the lease or paying the rent”.

McKeever said the situation was “very shocking and stressful” for his pharmacy team and resulted in “a lot of very distressed patients” and added that after the break-in the premise wasn’t properly alarmed, raising potential insurance issues over an already “very stressful weekend”.

C+D has since learned that Makan Investment is also the landlord of this property.

Last week, C+D revealed that the former landlord of Lloydspharmacy’s former holding company is also owed £450k by the company.

The landlord has raised a legal challenge, saying it has “concerns about conflicts of interest” with the company voluntary liquidation.

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