Military dealer who ships vehicles to Ukraine war effort fearing 'ruin' over run-in with bank

  • Nick Meads told ITV News Anglia's Sophie Wiggins he faced ruin

A man who has supplied 100 military vehicles to Ukraine's war effort says he faces financial ruin because his bank accounts have been closed.

Nick Meads runs a tank driving experience on his farm at Brackley in Northamptonshire and when the war broke out he focused on shipping military vehicles out.

But despite running a business that he insists is entirely above board, Barclays has told him it does not want him to be a customer any more.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Mr Meads has used his tank driving business to sell and ship refurbished military vehicles to help with the war effort.

But now Barclays, his bank, has closed his accounts because it says his business is too "high-risk".

Mr Meads in one of his armoured vehicles Credit: ITV Anglia

Mr Meads said the decision could ruin him.

He said: "I think I got half an hour of sleep last night. In five days' time I can no longer get paid for anything, and there's all these people screaming for the stuff.

"I can't pay my electricity bill, can't really pay any direct debits. It's a big, big problem."

The weapons dealer said he did not blame Barclays, however, as a businessman who has followed the law to supply the vehicles, he wants a solution.

"Government legislation in this country is extremely strict on terrorism and money laundering," he said.

"Anyone who's got a bank account that rises a little bit unusually large that will flag up, and then when they see the word Ukraine, that's when they start paying attention.

"They came out and checked everything and said, 'yeah, everything's good'. And then they just sent me a letter saying that they they no longer want to be our bank."

A spokesman for Barclays 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."

Military vehicles at Mr Meads' business in Brackley Credit: ITV Anglia

Mr Meads is struggling to find another bank which will take him, but wants to keep supplying the vehicles because he knows what a difference it makes.

He said he had sold around 25 vehicles already and had 50 more to out there imminently.

"We had a lovely email from a guy and he'd bought six and he sent me this email picture, one absolutely blown to bits and holes all over the front. And apparently everyone walked away."

With nine employees and a stock of 300 vehicles, Mr Meads is hoping the government will offer help to keep his business going.

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