Irish independent chain Maxworth Supermarkets has failed in its application for court protection and is heading for receivership.

The Irish High Court refused to approve the appoint­ment of an examiner after hearing that one of its directors has a criminal record. The appointment would have given the chain protection against its creditors while efforts were made to save the business.

But two of the main creditors, ACC Bank and ADM Londis, objected to this in court last week.

Counsel for the bank, Brian Kennedy, told the judge that Maxworth ­director Hugh Ferguson had been convicted four years ago of stealing £140,000 from a post office he then managed in ­Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. However, he said, when the company applied for a loan, the bank was not told of Ferguson's conviction.