Couple locked out of veggie restaurant; Manager and chef to seek legal advice.
A COUPLE who ran a vegan restaurant are seeking legal advice after being locked out of the premises by their business partners.
Kerry Murphy and Chris Downey said they were told the locks were being changed at Bej in Hoylake.
And when they arrived at the Market Street restaurant they said they were told by their business partners, Paul Doughty - a Labour councillor for Prenton ward - and Andrew Speck, that Bej was being reopened under new management.
Mr Doughty today said he and Mr Speck felt that they had to take action as the business was not running solvently.
twitter Join us on @LIVECHONEWS But Miss Murphy, who was restaurant manager while partner Chris was chef, said: "We're shocked - we've put in so much hard work to build up the business since we opened last year and were recently nominated for a Wirral Tourism award.
"Paul and Andrew were the majority investors but we're all equal shareholders, so I don't know how they can do this legally.
"Over the last few months we've had meetings where they said the business wasn't solvent.
twitter "We had a quiet winter, but things were starting to pick up. We've kept on top of the important bills and the golf Open is just around the corner."
Mr Doughty, who holds the lease for the site, told the ECHO he and Mr Speck had taken the decision to close the business and reopen as a new company, which would retain the trading name Bej, with a new manager and staff.
He added: "We gave them a number of options as to the way we could go forward and they have not responded so we felt obliged legally to take action.
"Obviously they are not happy but we feel we have acted in the best interests of our investors and creditors."
LOCKED OUT: Kerry Murphy and Chris Downey, right, who ran Bej restaurant in Hoylake