A LETTINGS agent from Manningtree has been banned from running a business for nine years.

Paul Smith, 47, lost £1.2 million belonging to more than 300 members of the armed forces.

An investigation by the Insolvency Service found there was inadequate ring-fencing of business accounts at Blue Force Property Limited, which Smith was a director of.

When the Hornchuch-based company, which helped military personnel buy homes and let them while serving overseas, went into liquidation in March 2011, the gap in the books was uncovered.

Smith has been disqualified from serving as a director of a limited company until February 11 2022.