Reverend Mike Hall was contacted by neighbours after the new owner began building work on the Luton property. A BBC investigation found Mr Hall’s identity had been stolen and used to sell the house, taking the proceeds for himself. Mr Hall was working in North Wales when he received a call from his neighbours in late August, who said that someone was in the house and all the lights were on.
When he returned home the following day, he found a new owner living in the terraced house and all his possessions gone.
Police had initially dismissed Mr Hall’s concerns, saying that the issue was a “civil matter”.
Mr Hall told BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours: “I went to the front door, tried my key in the front door, it didn’t work and a man opened the front door to me.
“I pushed him to one side and got in the property. I really didn’t know what he was doing there.
“The shock of seeing the house completely stripped of furniture; all furnishings, carpet, curtains – everything – was out of the property.”
The man said he was doing building work, to which Mr Hall replied: “I haven’t sold the house. This is still my property.”
The builder left and returned with the new owner’s father while Mr Hall contacted the police.
The man, who said he had bought the terraced house in July, said: “It is now my property. You are now trespassing. Get out.”
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Bedfordshire Police’s fraud squad has now begun an investigation and there have so far been no arrests.
As part of their investigation, the BBC obtained the driving license which was used to impersonate Mr Hall and details of a bank account set up in his name.
They also obtained phone recordings of the fraudulent transactions involved in selling the house.
Once the house was sold to the new owner they legally owned it, even though it was sold by somebody impersonating Mr Hall.
According to the BBC, the solicitors involved in the property transaction said there was an ongoing police investigation and that it was inappropriate to comment further.
“We will continue to co-operate with the police, and comply with our professional obligations”, the firm said.
The Land Registry paid out a total of £3.5million in compensation for fraud last year.
A spokesperson for the Land Registry 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.”