South Northants business man providing Ukraine with vital equipment told by bank he is 'too high risk' for business account

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Nick says he wanted to help the effort in Ukraine and is keen to continue despite the set back with the bank account

The owner of a south Northamptonshire business has been given notice that his business account with a well-known bank is to be closed after he supplied Ukraine with tanks and armoured vehicles.

Tanks A Lot, based in Brackley, has been running for nearly 20 years and Nick Mead is considered the best in the business when it comes to tank engineering.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But Nick has been told by Barclays that his business account will be closed as he is “too high risk”. Nick suspects that this is due to his “trade with Ukraine” and his “increase in turnover”. The business owner has found the bank's action deeply frustrating.

Tanks A Lot have been supplying Ukraine with armoured vehicles.Tanks A Lot have been supplying Ukraine with armoured vehicles.
Tanks A Lot have been supplying Ukraine with armoured vehicles.

Nick said: “I have banked with Barclays for over 40 years and have never bounced a cheque or been overdrawn so I cannot understand why they wouldn’t want to support a business that is helping the war effort in the Ukraine.

“I run corporate experience days, funerals, weddings and huge events where it has been essential for the vehicles to run reliably, and we get these working for far longer than their usual expected lifespan.

“I have used the same military shipping company for 25 years and it’s all above board using a Department of Trade fast track initiative to get the help the Ukraine needs in only four weeks. This is usually something that takes around 15 weeks. We have been working around the clock here to get tanks, ambulances and armoured vehicles to where they will be so much help.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Without a UK business account, Nick cannot trade and will no longer be able to supply Ukraine with help. He is currently trying to find alternative ways to keep within Government regulations with business accounts so he can continue to work as he feels really passionate about the support he has been able to offer so far.

One of the tanks heading for the Ukraine front line this weekOne of the tanks heading for the Ukraine front line this week
One of the tanks heading for the Ukraine front line this week

Tanks a Lot has sent out a fleet of more than 100 vehicles so far, including 35 Spartan armoured personnel carriers, 25 armoured Land Rovers and Pinzgauer Vector six-wheeled utility vehicles. His team of nine have been working on night and day shifts to get the orders ready and in the past week, they have sent out more than 27 vehicles alone.

A team representative said: “We all want to support Ukraine to get these orders ready to a really high standard but it has meant working really long hours. Just the loading of these vehicles onto the transporters can take a long time.”

Chronicle & Echo contacted Barclays to ask why the account has been shut down.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In response, a Barclays spokesperson said: “Decisions to close customer accounts are only made after very careful consideration and based on all the facts available to us at the time. We apply higher levels of due diligence in order to manage and mitigate risk, especially where third parties are involved.”

When this newspaper visited, Nick was busy loading two 432 armoured personnel carriers onto a transporter, which would be heading straight for the front line.

Nick said: “This is not the usual work we do here and this is not about profit. These tanks increase in price the longer they are here, and with 100 acres I have no issues about storing them until they make money. This is about turning them around quickly though as there is such a demand.”

Nick explained that his plans to turn part of his land into a jet ski area to provide more entertainment and fun for visitors is on hold. He has a longstanding reputation for this tank experience days and has an abundance of passion and energy for fun. With visitors like Bill Bailey, Simon Pegg, Josh Widdicombe and Nick Frost, Nick has rubbed shoulders with the celebrities.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Some of his visitors travel from across the world, just to play with his tanks. Nick explained how he has customers from Australia who arrive for only a few days to drive the tanks and then return straight home again. He also travels with his tanks and has spent time in Saudi Arabia entertaining in the desert.

Nick and his tanks were in the news previously in 2017 after he made an amazing discovery of five gold bars inside one of the Russian-made tanks that he had purchased on eBay. The haul was found in one of the reserve fuel tanks, sometimes used to store extra ammunition and was thought to be worth £2 million.

The tank had been from Iraq and once deemed free of munitions by the Ministry of Defence, it would have been open to the highest bidder. After Nick called his find in, the gold bars were taken away in a ‘tooled up’ unmarked car by the authorities and formal enquiries were made.

Even before this claim to fame, Nick’s Tanks A Lot services and vehicles have been used for films such as Fast and Furious and James Bond and Nick provides the most unique way to set off a wedding or even a funeral. A tank with glass front and sides can be hired as a hearse from Nick, or a stretch tank to provide a crazy lift to a venue on a night out.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Nick added: “This business has been all about fun in the past, but when I was watching the news about what was going on in Ukraine I had already predicted I would be getting a call. Within one week of the war starting I was contacted about armoured vehicles and I just wanted to help.”

Even with the frustration of the bank closing his account, Nick is battling away to find alternative ways to run his accounts to keep supplying tanks and to keep his team of nine in employment.