A Carlisle couple at the heart of a High Court battle over a tax debt say they have endured months of stress as officials sought to close one of their dormant companies.

A senior judge approved a compulsory winding up order against their firm, No 10 Catering Limited.

The ruling came after officials from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) told the court that the firm owed £307,000 in unpaid tax.

But the firm’s directors, Carlisle couple Paul and Sarah Minett say the decision has been based on inaccurate information - including a huge exaggeration of the tax the firm owed.

They say also there is confusion over what contracts the firm No 10 Catering currently had.

Until two years ago, the firm ran catering operations for Carlisle United Football Club - but that work has now been taken over by another company called abm Catering Solutions.

The football club confirmed that there were no issues with the No 10 Catering Ltd contract and the switch was a purely commercial decision.

Meanwhile, a separate company owned by Mr and Mrs Minett - called No 10 Restaurant Limited - continues to cater for the Sands Centre, a contract that bosses say is successful and without issues; and to operate the couple’s Stanwix restaurant No 10.

But in the High Court, insolvency judge Sally Barber granted a compulsory winding up order against No 10 Catering Limited following an application from HMRC.

Mr and Mrs Minett, 49, and 51, respectively, say they have battled with HMRC to sort out the tax dispute.

“We’re taking legal advice about this,” said Mr Minett. “The information that was put before the court is inaccurate.

“There was a tax debt for No 10 Catering Limited, but it’s around 10 per cent of the figure that they’re claiming - less than £40,000, certainly.”

He said the figure arose as a result of an honest mistake and it would be dealt with.

Mr Minett stressed that the work done by his and his wife’s active firm, No 10 Restaurant Limited, was unaffected. “It’s business as usual,” he said, including the restaurant and the Sands Centre contract.

He added: “We’re challenging the court order but we do have the funds to deal with the actual debt that’s owed. HMRC won’t listen to us. What they’ve told the court is just plain wrong.

“We don’t seem able to get past the starting gate with them. It’s been very stressful.”

A Sands Centre spokesman confirmed that there was no problem with the current No 10 Restaurant contract.

Also listed as a director for Number 10 Restaurant Limited is Laura Morgan, 55, of Crosby.

The Minetts live above the No 10 Restaurant in Stanwix which they also run.

A HMRC spokesman said he could not discuss an individual case. Customers who are unhappy with their treatment can complain to the HMRC Independent Adjudicator.