A woman who had part of her finger chopped off by a masked machete thug is the boss of a car lease firm accused of leaving a trail of misery.

Nicola Bennett suffered the serious injury to her hand when she was targeted in the terrifying incident at her home.

Police are attempting to trace the attacker, who was wearing a mask similar to those used by Covid-19 frontline workers.

It is understood part of their investigation is focusing on Bennett’s links to Prolease Nationwide Leasing Ltd.

The 43-year-old is the director of the firm, which subleases cars.

The company is at the centre of an online campaign led by angry clients.

A list of complaints includes one person claiming their Mercedes was seized by Merseyside Police after being driven by someone with no insurance and a fake driving licence.

Other allegations include claims the firm has failed to pass on payments to vehicle owners.

Police have also allegedly seized vehicles after they have been reported stolen.

It has also been claimed that cars have been returned
in a damaged condition.

One source said: “Nicola has been under a lot of pressure from people unhappy with the service Prolease has provided.

“It’s been building up for a few months now.

"A lot of customers are angry at how they feel they’ve been treated. But what happened to her was disgraceful.”

Bennett established Prolease in 2018. The firm describes itself on Instagram as: “The UK’s No1 specialist leasing company for no credit check deals.”

The attack happened late on May 29 while Bennett was at her home in Bishopbriggs, near Glasgow, with her young son and her 72-year-old mum.

The property is owned by businessman David Citrin, a director of Mortons Rolls.

In March, a Mortons Rolls delivery driver was forced to hand over his vehicle at gunpoint. The van was later found burnt out.

The house is the former family home of ex-boxing promoter Barry Hughes, who was made bankrupt in 2014 with debts of £10.4million.

Bennett is a friend of Hughes, who now acts as an “adviser” for professional footballers.

Citrin and Hughes are also associates.

Disgruntled customers have been scathing in their criticism of the service they have received from Prolease.

One woman claimed: “I have been a victim of Prolease. I had two cars with them, both
Vauxhall Corsas.

“The white one was taken by the police after knocking on the door at midnight to say the original owner… ‘has reported it stolen as Prolease has not paid them for months’.

“Secondly, the red Corsa was taken by DVLA at 5am. I had a recovery truck just come to
collect the vehicle. Prolease
have not paid for the car tax.”

Another angry client said: “Do not sublease your car to Prolease. (They’ve) had my car four months now and not paid me once on time and still owe me £1250.”

A new firm – Formula Executive Travel Ltd – was
registered at Companies House as being based at Bennett’s home in February.

A police spokeswoman said inquiries into the attack were ongoing.

She added in a statement: “Around 10.30pm on Friday, May 29, 2020, a 43-year-old woman was within a house in Lunan Drive, Bishopbriggs, along with family members, when a masked man entered
the house.

“He threatened the woman with a knife and made demands for property.

“The 43-year-old woman challenged the suspect and sustained a cut to her finger.”

When we approached Bennett for a comment, a woman who answered the door said: “Things are very stressful at the moment. Go away.”