A CONVEYANCING firm which acted for scores of south Essex home buyers is at the centre of a £3million probe into unpaid stamp duty.

Reeve Fisher and Sands is being investigated by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Council for Licensed Conveyancers after it emerged stamp duty paid by about 80 house buyers was never passed on to the tax man.

The firm, which had offices in High Street, Billericay, Crown Street, Brentwood and Coronation Drive, Hornchurch, could be dissolved before the investigation ends if one of its partners get his way.

Graham Sands, 66, applied at Southend County Court to wind up the partnership over an alleged unpaid debt of more than £3,000 he is owed by the business.

District judge Ronald Dudley adjourned the case because of confusion over whether Mr Sands’s petition should be advertised in the London Gazette which puts on record certain insolvency cases.

Neither Mr Sands, executive of the Billericay branch, or partners Keith Reeve, 68, from Courtlands, Billericay, and Alan Fisher, 67, from Ashvale Drive, Cranham, near Romford, were in court.

If Mr Sands’s petition is successful the partnership could be wound up, with himself paid off as a creditor, before the investigation ends.

Stephen Ward, a spokesman for Council for Licensed Conveyancers, said: “The investigation continues.

“Our intervention has resulted in the firm no longer trading and all clients have had their files passed to other companies. But it still remains as a partnership and we are aware of this petition.

“HMRC is still involved and we believe there are a number of other creditors.

“Fortunately, the issues of unpaid stamp duty is being resolved.”

HMRC said it would not comment on individual cases.