Former Pubmaster boss John Sands has bought the 30-strong Wessex Taverns pub group out of administration for around £20m, the Morning Advertiser reports. The deal will mean that all Wessex Taverns creditors will receive every penny they are owed - around £2m in total. Wessex Taverns, which has sales of £16.5m, went into administration in March. Sands had become its non-executive chairman just six weeks before. Sands' new company will be called Definnitive Leisure – he will be its non-executive chairman - with former Wessex operations director Harry Costigan becoming its managing director. Sands said: “These are very good pubs but there has been under-investment. We will invest in them to get them up to speed and then look at other opportunities.” He also paid tribute to the support shown by the company's banking partner during the administration process: “While the time in administration has been intense and, on occasion, a little uncertain, the company has come through the process unscathed, thanks in no small part to Bank of Scotland, who have been extremely helpful through these testing times. “I’m also particularly pleased that by purchasing the company as a share sale we can honour creditors to the business, many of whom are locally-based north-east companies.” Wessex Taverns is a managed operator with sites such as Bacchus and Club 2K in Darlington and the Hairy Lemon/Prague and Vienna in Middleborough. Former Pubmaster finance controller John Foots will become Definnitive’s finance director while Philippa Kelly and Bill Teesdale are its non-executive directors. Definnitive's 30 pubs stretch between Alnwick in Northumberland to London and Wiltshire in the west. Sands was chief executive of Hartlepool-based Pubmaster until it was bought two years ago by Punch for £1.2bn. He also chairs the North East Tourism Advisory Board.