A homeowner has described how he was left in a state of shock when he returned to his house to find a new owner living there.
Reverend Mike Hall had been working away in North Wales earlier this year when he received a call from his neighbours who informed him someone was in his Luton home.
The vicar drove down to his property on the morning of August 21 to find a builder completing works inside his home.
The plaster on his walls had been stripped and all of his furnishings and curtains had been removed.
The vicar later discovered his house had been sold to new owner for £131,000 by a person impersonating him.
Mr Hall told BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours: ‘I bought the house back in 1990 when I had just finished university and started my first job.
Reverend Mike hall, who had been working in North Wales, drove down to his property in Luton on the morning of August 21 to find a builder completing works inside his home
‘It was on August 20 when my next door neighbours telephoned me and told me that there was somebody inside my property.
‘All the lights were on and this was strange because they knew that there was no one supposed to be in the property and they were just wondering in fact whether I had left or sold it or something.
‘So good neighbours that they are they were phoning to find out what was going on.
‘I got up early the next morning drove all the way down to Luton from North Wales
‘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.
‘They had started stripping off plaster from the walls, the electrical wiring was starting to be stripped off.
‘I noticed from the bottom of the stairs that one of the ceilings in the bedroom had been pulled down and they had started to take out bits of the kitchen and the bathroom too.
Mr Hall said the stranger inside his house told him he was carrying out building work for the owner of the property – at which point the vicar called the police.
Mr Hall went to the front door of his property and found that his keys no longer worked. (Stock image)
He continued: ‘The man said ”I am just here doing some building work” and I said ”well I haven’t sold the house this is still my property”.
‘I phoned the police at that point to tell them that my house had been broken into and the builder disappeared and I was left in the house on my own.
‘He then returned with the father of the new owner and he was saying ”I bought the house in July and it is now my property, you are now trespassing, get out”.
‘I said it’s not I haven’t sold you the house at all, at which point the police arrived.
‘The father then phoned his son – who is the person who now currently features on the title deed.
‘We then tried to access the Land Registry documentation online to find out whose name appeared… and it is, in fact, as of August 4, this man’s name.
‘At that point the police said, ”Well, there’s nothing further we can do here. This is a civil matter; you need to leave the house and contact your solicitors.”’
Mr Hall said he sent applications to Bedfordshire Police and Action Fraud notifying them of the crime but was told that the issue was a civil matter and not a criminal one.
He added: ‘I was frustrated. Absolutely frustrated. I put in online applications to Bedfordshire Police to notify them of a crime.
‘Every time I got an automatic reply from them saying this is not a criminal offence it’s a civil matter as you’ve been previously told.’
An investigation by the BBC has found a duplicate driving licence and bank account was set up in the name of Mr Hall and had been fraudulently used to sell the house.
The new residents remain the owners and they now legally own the property.