A RESTAURANT which closed with no warning owing more than £200,000 in business rates took in excess of £33,000 in its final week of trading, The Argus can reveal.

Brighton and Hove City Council yesterday accused Jimmy's World Kitchen owners of “actively and systematically” avoiding paying taxes and bailiffs have been seen at the restaurant.

The hunt is now on to track down the owners and managers of the company which has been run via a complex corporate structure over the past several years.

The restaurant, in Palm Drive, Brighton Marina, ceased trading without warning on Sunday night.

A notice on the website stated that it would be “closed for few days due to unforeseen urgent maintenance work”.

But diners with gift vouchers and bookings were nor informed as well as staff members who turned up for shifts to find the doors closed.

When The Argus visited the site on Thursday afternoon our photographer captured through the window a credit card terminal printout.

The receipt, which restaurant experts identified as showing a weekly summary of transactions, reveals the company took more than £33,000 on credit cards through that machine alone.

Total weekly turnover may have been much higher including cash payments and credit card payments processed by other machines.

However, the firm owes Brighton and Hove City Council more than £200,000.

The local authority revealed yesterday it is working with investigators to recover the money which represents business rate arrears dating back to the restaurant’s opening in 2014.

Enforcement officers removed goods earlier this week and the council has issued an appeal for information about the people or companies running Jimmy’s.

Councillor Les Hamilton, the local authority’s lead member for finance, said: “This is a very complex case. The proprietors of Jimmy’s restaurant have been actively and systematically avoiding payment of local taxation, and have ignored our efforts to reach a reasonable accommodation regarding payment.”

He said the council- appointed insolvency specialist Smith and Williamson is also working with other parties who have been affected by Jimmy’s trading activities.

He added that enforcement action had been taken as a last resort after other attempts to collect unpaid taxes, including court proceedings, had failed.

Meanwhile, at least two members of staff have said they are owed a total of almost £1,000 in back pay.

The Argus has made repeated requests for comment from Jimmy’s but at the time of going to press company bosses had not responded.

Those with information regarding Jimmy’s are encouraged to email enforcement@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

If you have worked for Jimmy’s or have information on Jimmy’s closure, please email joel.adams@theargus.co.uk.


STAFF are anxiously waiting to find out whether they will be paid for July.

The father of one 16-year-old employee contacted The Argus to say his son is still owed more than £145.

And 20-year-old Matt Heath, who took a summer job waiting tables to pay for his studies at Southampton University, said he is owed more than £800.

He said: “At my interview the manager said the employees get paid between the first and the 10th of the month. But when I called on Tuesday he said I would be paid next week.”

The first Matt knew of the restaurant’s closure was when he arrived for his shift at 3pm on Tuesday. He explained: “I arrived and there were three men shifting furniture to one end of the restaurant.

“One of them said ‘you’re not meant to be here it’s closed’ and I asked him when I would get paid and he said he had no idea.”

Matt texted the restaurant manager, Laxman Lawand.

He said that Mr Lawand told him he was “equally surprised” by the closure and was trying to “get to the bottom” of the situation.

The Argus has attempted to contact Mr Lawand but at the time of going to press he had not responded.

Earlier this year Jimmy’s staff picketed outside the restaurant in a dispute over pay.

Jimmy’s World Kitchen was unavailable for comment.