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Man arrested after clergyman's home sold without his knowledge

by Premier Journalist
BBC - Banner image
BBC

A man has been arrested after a clergyman came home to find his house sold without his knowledge.

Reverend Michael Hall returned to the house in Luton after working away, to find the locks changed and his furniture and belongings gone.

Rev Hall, who is believed to have been working in North Wales, had been tipped off by neighbours that something was wrong.

Rev Hall told the BBC that a man at the property, who was doing building work, contacted the new owner's father who said he had bought the terraced house in July.

The man who has been arrested is being held on suspicion of fraud by false representation, Bedfordshire police confirmed.

Det Insp James Day, head of the force's serious fraud investigation unit, said: "This arrest marks significant progress in this investigation.

"I can only imagine the anxiety and stress the victim has had to endure in this unusual and sophisticated case."

The new owner’s name was recorded on the Land Registry, making him the legal owner, but a BBC investigation found fraudsters had stolen Rev Hall’s identity and pocketed £131,000 from the sale of his home in July.

Police reportedly twice told him there was nothing they could do because of the Land Registry information, telling him it was a ‘civil matter’ and he would have to hire solicitors to resolve it.

A criminal investigation was eventually launched after Bedfordshire Police’s fraud squad were alerted to the matter.

The suspect was arrested on Friday at his home in Bedford, the force said.

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