A Coroner has been given high court permission to enter business premises to enforce a ruling over an £800,000-plus debt.

Nedbank Private Wealth had been awarded judgment in the sum of £828,451 against Portcullis Pensions (IoM) Ltd, although the amount owed is now much more.

Coroner of Middle, Kelly Sloane applied to the court for permission to enter 22 Athol Street, Douglas, by force to enforce the judgment.

She also sought an order for vacant possession to allow the property to be sold.

Portcullis, remaining trustee of the Clypse Estate Pension Scheme, is the freehold owner of the property.

Two of the tenants occupying the property, Ability Plus Ltd and QB Partners Ltd, did not object to the Coroner’s application, and neither did Portcullis.

But a third tenant, The Clypse Estate Ltd, claimed a right of occupation until 2027 by virtue of a purported leasehold interest.

Businessman Sam Alder, who was adjudicated bankrupt in 2018, bought 22 Athol Street sometime before 1996 through a company owned by various Alder family trusts.

The freehold was then transferred to the Athol Trust, for which Mr Alder was one of the trustees, and then let to accountancy firm Alder Dodsworth and Co (ADC), with a rent of £25,000 a year for a term of 15 years.

According to Mr Alder, the trust owned the building, and it was run and sublet by the accountancy firm, in which he was a partner.

Mr Alder claimed the original intention was for ADC to have a lease on the building for 30 years but he accepted no replacement lease was drawn up after 15 years.

Around 2006, the freehold was transferred for £285,000 to trustees of the Clypse Estate Pension Scheme, those trustees being Mr Alder and his wife and Portcullis.

Deemster John Needham accepted Mr Alder’s account that ADC paid rent to the Pension Scheme in one form or another until 2018.

Before resigning as trustee that year, Mr Alder said the tenancy was transferred from ADC to The Clypse Estate Ltd (TCEL), which he accepted had never paid rent.

Deemster Needham described the assignment of the tenancy to TCEL as a ‘rushed affair’ made only a week or so before Mr Alder was adjudicated bankrupt.

But he said he did not have the evidence to find that the assignment was a ‘sham’, as claimed by the lawyer acting for Nedbank and the Coroner.

The Deemster concluded it was appropriate for the Coroner to gain vacant possession, given the lack of consent of the lender to any annual tenancy or assignment and the complete absence of rent payments by TCEL in breach of tenancy since 2018.

Last month, Deemster Needham imposed a civil restraint order on Mr Alder and his wife who had refused to take no for an answer in their battle to retain their family home in Onchan.