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Tribunal awards £19,000 to unpaid newspaper staff

Five former employees of a paid-for Lancashire weekly newspaper have been award over £19,000 by an employment tribunal.

The quintet, including the former editor, brought the action against The Darrener’s owner Ted Ward after not being paid for 12 weeks last summer, the Lancashire Telegraph reports.

A judge at Friday’s tribunal, in Manchester, awarded former editor Peter Holland £6,837.54, chief reporter Miranda Taylor £4,750, graphic designer Martyn Halliwell £3,266, reporter Simone Yates £2,100 and layout assistant Lisa Geogarty £2,484.50.

The Darrener, which launched in October 2007, has not been published since last July after it was prevented from operating out of Darwen FC, which is also owned by Mr Ward.

The ban came about after a separate legal action against the football club by its former owner Kevin Henry who claimed he had not been fully paid his share.

Doubts were also raised over the trading status of the newspaper during the tribunal. Letters from Mr Ward to staff, which were dated last August, said he had no option but to put the paper into liquidation.

But Judge Peter Russell told the hearing that The Darrener was still listed as actively trading with Companies House.

The five claimants also intend to submit a legal action to force The Darrener into liquidation, meaning the Secretary of State would pay their awarded claims to a maximum of £330 per week for a certain number of weeks.