In a letter to customers, Andrew Granger, the boss of now defunct saleroom The Auction Company Broadway, has spoken of his “deep regret and sorrow” at its closure.

But consignors are concerned about money and items owed after the Worcestershire firm was closed down at the start of the year with immediate effect, and trading standards are investigating ten complaints.

Consignors who have contacted ATG say they found the premises empty when they visited.

One said: "I entered a late Victorian Norwich Clock into a sale held at their Broadway saleroom on December 9, 2012. With a reserve of £500, the item sold for £580, confirmed by sale notice dated December 10, 2012. I visited the saleroom on January 16 not having received payment, due after 28 days. The premises were locked and empty."

The consignor arrived home to find the letter from Mr Granger advising him of the status of the company: "insolvent, cannot pay its bills, and cannot continue to trade". It said the director "wishes to dissolve the company but if creditors object the company will have to go into liquidation and as there are no funds to pay for a voluntary liquidation the creditors will have to petition the courts at their own cost".

Mr Granger's letter stated: "I am deeply sorry that this has happened and deeply regret not being able to settle outstanding accounts. We have all worked extremely hard to prevent this eventuality - I myself have put all my personal assets into trying to keep the company afloat; I now do not have a house, a car, a business or any means of income."

It added: "I can only hope that those of you who might be in similar positions and those of you who are in more fortunate positions can understand my deep regret and sorrow."

A spokesman for Worcestershire Trading Standards said: "We are aware of the trader and the owner Andrew Granger. We have received ten complaints - nine from consumers and one from a local business who supplied the last catalogue.

"The consumer complaints relate to the fact that the consumer put in goods for auction in October and November 2012 - mainly antique furniture and jewellery - and did not receive the money for the goods once they were sold. A few have submitted goods for sale that were not sold but have not been returned.

"The premises are empty and the owners (the Design Centre) are now refurbishing it for it to be re-let. Mr Granger has sent out a standard letter saying he has ceased trading and has no assets. He will not be paying any outstanding monies and has no plans to put the company into liquidation.

"This service is investigating the complaints and is in liaison with West Mercia Police."