AN award-winning businesswoman who was welded inside an industrial unit in Sunderland is now refusing to leave in a row with the site’s owners.
Police are at Thompson Waste Centre in Hendon where former leading light Anne Ganley OBE has been sealed inside.
Northumbria Police has said the incident relates to a civil dispute with landlords, but officers are at the scene in case there is a breach of the peace.
The Echo understands Ms Ganley is free to leave, but is refusing to budge. Discussions are taking place to food to her inside the unit.
A famous face in Sunderland, Ms Ganley is the former managing director of collapsed builders’ merchants A Thompson & Sons.
The businesswoman was declared bankrupt last year after her Wearside-based firm and its sister business TAPS (Thompson Associated Plumbing Supplies) plumbers merchants went into administration.
Ms Ganley then launched a new waste-handling business on a different site nearby in Hendon in early 2014.
But agents ACT, representing the landwoners, took possession of the building yesterday.
Trouble flared as they arrived to lock up the site today while Ms Ganley was still inside the property.
Agents are demanding she vacate the site, but she is refusing to leave until the firm produces a court order.
Ms Ganley is the daughter of the firm’s founder Albert Thompson. The company grew from a rag-and-bone round to a £12million-a-year business.
Ms Ganley received the OBE in 2013 in recognition of her services to employment, industry, her local community and for her decades of charity work, which includes support for the armed forces group Brothers in Arms.
She was also given the Outstanding Contribution to the City honour at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Business Awards in the same year.