OFFICAL receivers have been called in to trouble-hit call centre Elev8 Solutions in Ammanford.

The move on Tuesday, when staff were also sent home, followed legal action started by Carmarthenshire Council just days before.

Bailiffs were sent in to the offices at Parc Amanwy, New Road, Ammanford, by Carm-arthenshire Council on Wednesday last week.

They were sent in by the local authority as part of action to recover tens of thousands of pounds in rent and rates from the Irish-owned telephone call centre.

It is understood that Elev8 have not paid a penny since moving into the local authority-owned centre in New Road, Ammanford 17 months ago.

The action against the company, which promised to create 260 jobs when it set up, follows months of talks between Elev8 management and the firm's creditors.

Carmarthenshire Council and Office Vision, an office furniture leasing company based in Cardiff, are among the creditors owed thousands of pounds.

Council Director of Resources Roger Jones told the Guardian: "We have worked very closely with managers from the company for a number of months and we appreciate that there have been difficulties in making payments.

"There are now substantial arrears in rent and rates which leaves us in an untenable position. We have explored all avenues and delayed taking action on a number of occasions to allow the company more time.

"Reluctantly we have been left with no alternative than to seek recovery of amounts due.

"It is a regrettable but we have no other option. We have to think about the public purse."

The call centre was a joint venture between the authority and the WDA.

It received Regional Selective Assistance, with a drawdown of up to £1.8million available.

Mr Jones added: "We have done all we can to work with the company over the past year or so and very much regret this unavoidable course of action that we are now forced to take."

It is believed the council sent bailiffs to Elev8 last Wednesday when the firm was given five days to provide evidence of ownership of the furniture, computers, phones and other equipment in the offices.

Elev8 had until Tuesday this week to produce evidence, it is understood.

Meanwhile this week staff continued to work inside and the well-known trademark Elev8 company cars, emblazened with the company logo, were parked outside.

It is not known how the council will recoup its losses, although legal action is a strong possibility.

Now local MP Adam Price is demanding that the Assembly reveals exactly how much public money has been given to the firm.

He said: "A substantial amount of public money has been allocated to the company, some £1.8m in Regional Selective Assistance.

"The question now is what mechanisms the Government have got in place to reclaim this money from the company," added the Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP.

"This Government is more than quick enough to claw back compensation from former miners with debilitating illnesses, the question is what will they be doing to recuperate the vast amount of public money allocated in this case."

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas, said: "This is disastrous news for Ammanford town and the Amman Valley as a whole.

"As elected members, myself, Mr Price as well as Carmarthenshire Council have been making overtures to the Assembly that there were problems at the Elev 8 call centre.

"When I recently challenged Rhodri Morgan on what his Government had done for the Amman Valley, he pointed out that the Elev 8 call centre was Labour's main achievement.

"This news sadly proves the vacuum that exists in Labours economic programme as far as areas such as the Amman Valley are concerned."

A spokeswoman for the Assembly said: "I can confirm that Elev8 have received one payment

A phone message and email were left with the company on Tuesday morning by the Guardian - but they were not returned.

When a repeat call was made as we went to press of Tuesday afternoon a recorded message said: "Thank-you for your call to Elev8 Solutions. Please be advised the offices are temporarily closed. If you would like to leave a message press'1'."

A reporter who went to the empty Parc Amanwy offices was told by a security guard that staff had been sent home.

Nobody was available to comment.

ELEV8 BOSS: Brian Leahy.