DEMANDS were being made yesterday for a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the sudden closure of a Falmouth company with the loss of about 200 jobs.

Staff at the offices of Baltic Pine Conservatories on the Bickland Industrial Estate were told last Wednesday that the company was going into administration and none of them would be paid the month's wages they were due to receive the next day.

Staff at the company's manufacturing unit in Longrock, Penzance, were told at the same time that the company had ceased trading with the loss of over 50 jobs. Up to 200 jobs overall are thought to have gone. The announcement came two days before company director Anthony Murtagh's 46th birthday.

Multi-millionaire Mr Murtagh, who also owns the loans company The Money Group, said he could not afford to keep Baltic Pine Conservatories going.

Shocked workers in Falmouth, many in tears, were ordered to collect their belongings and leave immediately by administrators Grant Thornton.

Hundreds of people up and down the country have been left with half finished conservatories costing anything up to £25,000. Many will now have to get the work finished themselves. Some customers paid the full balance up-front after being sent letters by Baltic Pine Conservatories offering them a large discount if they paid by October 4 - the day the company went into administration.

Falmouth MP Julia Goldsworthy joined Helston MP Andrew George in demanding a full investigation by the Department of Trade and Industry into the circumstances surrounding the closure.

"This is a shocking loss for the staff and their families," said Ms Goldsworthy. "I will work to ensure that they receive all available support in finding new jobs.

"Concerns have been raised about the manner in which this company has ceased trading. The fact that former employees will not receive their wages and may have difficulties in accessing redundancy support is a real cause for concern to myself and individuals affected.

"I am contacting administrator Grant Thornton, as a matter of urgency, to raise these issues and take this matter forward."

Mr George has written to the Department of Trade and Industry calling for an investigation into the way staff at Baltic Pine were sacked.

Former employee Margaret Wellings, from Falmouth, said not only customers and employees would suffer but the suppliers and subcontractors as well.

"I work in the accounts department and for the last three weeks I have been trying to keep the suppliers happy believing that they would be paid by the end of this month," she said.

"There will be a lot of suppliers who cannot bear these losses by not being paid and will go into receivership themselves. The staff are absolutely devastated. People were outside in tears. They cannot pay their rent or their mortgage. They were relying on their wages."

Former installation officer Mark McDonnell said that many of the fitters would not only lose the money they were owed but would also have to pay for the petrol they had used to get to jobs, in some cases as much as £300.

Mr Murtagh, who lives in a luxurious mansion at Restronguet Point, near Feock, bought Baltic Conservatories two years ago after selling his other company The Mortgage Group for £30 million.

He then set up the Money Group based in Truro which is currently recruiting hundreds of new staff to sell loans to customers all over the country.

He also still employs over 100 staff at one of his other ventures in Falmouth, Fresh Start Home Loans, based on Falmouth Business Park.

Mr Murtagh, who last year was named in the Sunday Times rich list - with an estimated fortune of £60 million - was unavailable for comment this week but earlier he said he had injected £8 million of his own money into Baltic Conservatories but could no longer sustain it.

He said he had given the workers a "stay of execution" but he could not go on funding the company as there had been unforseen problems in its day-to-day running.

Richard Hawes, from administrators Grant Thornton, said the business needed to be closed after attempts to restructure it had failed.

He told the Packet that while deposits from recent customers were "ring-fenced" wages owed to the employees would be dealt with by the government.

"There is no ring fencing for employees," he said. "The employees are protected for most of what they are owed, up to £290 per week, by a government scheme and we processed that at the end of last week. It is now with the DTI."

According to the last set of accounts filed at Companies House, Baltic Pine Conservatories had a turnover in 2004 of nearly £19 million but made an operating loss of £1.3 million. Directors' fees in 2004 totalled £525,191 with the highest paid director receiving £195,000 plus pension contributions of £22,656. Wages and other employment costs totalled nearly £5 million.

Mr Murtagh is no stranger to controversy. In 2001 undercover reporters from the BBC's Panorama programme secretly filmed his Truro mortgage selling operation after getting jobs there. The programme exposed techniques used to sell loans to people with bad credit ratings.

The matter was raised in Parliament and Mr Murtagh was personally accused by one MP, Barry Gardiner, of duping people featured in the programme.

In 2004 a court judgement wiped out a debt of £384,000 brokered by The Mortgage Group and owed by a couple in Merseyside who had originally taken out a loan for £5,750. The judge said the loan was "grossly exorbitant."