BUSINESS man Shahid Siddiq has admitted he owes a major charity tens of thousands of pounds but he has denied flouting health and safety rules at his recycling firm Devizes Textiles.

Mr Siddiq is preparing to move out of his premises on the Garden Trading Estate in Devizes but says he is looking for new premises and the business will continue to run.

He denied allegations made by former employee Jonathan Clark that he had allowed machinery to get into a dangerous condition and a number of orders from the Health And Safety Executive were in place.

But a spokesman for the HSE said this week: “We have had a number of recent visits to this site as part of routine proactive work and have taken enforcement action in respect of a number of health and safety concerns.”

Mr Clark, who was employed by Siddiq as a manager, said that Barnado’s were owed tens of thousands by Mr Siddiq as payment for unsaleable clothes collected from the charities shops.

Mr Siddiq admitted his firm owed the charity £58,000 but he now had an arrangement to pay the cash.

He said: “We are settling this. We have done nothing wrong. It is Mr Clark who has caused problems and he no longer works for me.

“The last time the HSE came here I saw them and there were no issues apart from one piece of machinery that we no longer use.”

Mr Clark’s nephew Kieran Clark, 22, who worked for the firm as a driver was also asked to leave. He said that when he went to collect textiles from charities shops and schools the pre-paid card he was given was often out of credit and he had to use his own money to pay.

Mr Siddiq admitted this sometimes happened but employees were always quickly reimbursed.

Matters came to a head two weeks ago when police were called to Devizes Textiles after Mr Clark says he was assaulted by a worker after he turned off the power to machinery which he believed dangerous.

A police spokesman said: “We were called to an allegation of common assault at a site at the Garden Trading Estate in Devizes shortly before 6.30am on May 9.

“Officers attended and a man in his 40s voluntarily attended Devizes Police Station to be interviewed. Nobody was injured. The matter was resolved and no further police action is required.”

But Mr Siddiq is moving off the Garden Trading Estate as land owner Ticknells, which once had a tractor business on the site where the Travel Lodge now stands, wants the land back.

Mr Siddiq said: “We are putting all of the clothing into storage and I am looking for a new place to open, hopefully in Devizes.”

Both Mr Siddiq and Mr Clark say before their fall out they had plans to move the business to a place on the Hopton Industrial Estate run by Mrs Clark’s wife.

The business pays for clothing by weight from a large number of organisations and then sends it to Africa where it can be bought cheaply by poor people.

A spokesman for Barnardo’s said: “Children’s charity Barnardo’s no longer has a trading relationship with this business and it would not be appropriate to make any further comment at this time."