One of the directors at Rotherham-based Earth Mortgages, the successful brokerage TV funny man Nick Hancock joined last month as marketing director, has faced firearm charges in his past while another is a discharged bankrupt.Earth Mortgages directors Darren Millington and Mike Worthington are well known in south Yorkshire for their strong support and sponsorship of local sports teams, including St Helens rugby team, Rotherham United, Doncaster Rovers and various other local football clubs, as well as charities. The local stadium has also been renamed the Earth Titans Rugby Union Stadium. There is no suggestion at all that either of the two directors are involved in any wrongdoing but both have come under the media spotlight following the appointment of Hancock last month ahead of a major publicity drive to raise the profile of Earth Mortgages. Hancock shot to fame in the 1990s as host of BBC quiz show They Think It’s All Over. Mortgage Strategy has learned that Darren Millington attended Tameside Magistrates Court on August 9 1999, charged with the alleged possession of a firearm, believed to be a black, gas-powered self-loading air pistol. He was bailed to October 4 1999 to committal proceedings with the normal bail condition that he should not contact prosecution witnesses. The charge was later dropped but he was convicted of affray and was sentenced to 200 hours’ community service which he served at the British Heart Foundation. Hugh McKenna, spokesman for Earth Mortgages, says: “Darren did face charges six years ago, he is very sorry for his mistake and it is all in the past.” Earth managing director Thomas Michael Worthington was declared bankrupt in Liverpool on July 19 1991. He was discharged in 1994. Another embarrassment uncovered by the media and confirmed by McKenna is that Worthington is currently in a legal dispute with former employer Norton Finance, which alleges that without its permission he used its marketing database, an allegation Worthington vigorously denies.
Paul Stringer, financial director at Norton Finance, was unable to comment on the proceedings.Hancock praises Earth Mortgages as being a great organisation. He says: “I”m delighted to become part of the team.” He also welcomes the move by the Financial Service Authority to regulate the mortgage industry and says it helps in ridding the industry of its roguish image. Speaking about Hancock’s entry into the company, Worthington says: “We couldn’t be more pleased to have Nick on board. He’s a well known figure and a person people trust.”