Man arrives home to find his house stripped and sold to a stranger

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Reverend Mike Hall had been working in north Wales when he received a call from neighbours to say someone was in his Luton home.

He drove back the next morning on August 21 to discover the keys had been changed and a builder was completing works inside.

The property had been stripped of everything, including carpets, furnishings and curtains.

Mr Hall phoned the police and the builder left and returned with the new owner’s father, who said he had bought the terraced house the previous month.

He was said to have told Mr Hall: “It is now my property. You are now trespassing. Get out.” It is unclear how long Mr Hall had been away from the property.

Speaking of the moment he arrived home, Mr Hall said: “I went to the front door, tried my key in the door, it didn’t work and a man opened the front door to me.

“I pushed him [the builder] to one side and got in the property. I really didn’t know what he was doing there.”

BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours found that a duplicate driving licence and bank account had been set up in the name of Mr Hall and used to sell the house. It was sold for £131,000.

Police initially told him it was not fraud but are investigating, according to the BBC probe. No arrests have been made.

Mr Hall added: “I was shocked. Having seen the house in the state it was, I was in a state of shock anyway.

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“But then to be told by police they didn’t believe a criminal offence had been committed was unbelievable.”

Mr Hall says he has checked Land Registry documents and it shows the new buyer as the registered owner of his home, meaning they legally own the property.

The solicitors involved in the property transaction – who have not been named – told the BBC that there was an ongoing police investigation which meant they couldn’t comment any further.

The Land Registry paid out a total of £3.5million in compensation for property fraud last year.

It said: “We work with professional conveyancers, such as solicitors, and rely on them and the checks that they make to spot fraudulent attempts to impersonate property owners.

“Despite our efforts, every year we do register a very small number of fraudulent transactions.”

Bedfordshire Police was contacted for comment.

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