A letting agent whose office closure prompted a police investigation has issued a statement saying she has had a stroke.
The agency, Drake Homes in Plymouth, has been closed for some time but the local Western Evening Herald newspaper now claims that it is at the centre of a police probe into financial mismanagement, following a series of claims from landlords and tenants.
Having failed to reach the agency by telephone, an email to the firm from Letting Agent Today produced the automatically-generated reply:
“Due to continued ill health, we are informing you that the portfolio of Drake Homes is being transferred to a reputable agent who will look after your interests. We are in the process of completing your final accounts accordingly and the new agent, who is well established and very experienced will be in touch in due course. Kind regards. Heather.”
The Western Evening Herald says the agency has a portfolio of more than 100 houses around Plymouth with landlords based across the country; its office near the city centre has been closed since September.
Heather Crabb, who has run Drake Homes in 2005, has told the WEH that she has been out of reach for two months having suffered a severe stroke caused by stress. She refutes any wrongdoing and says she has co-operated with the police and their investigation.
She is quoted in the newspaper as saying:
"I am not a bad person and totally not the evil con-artist that I am made out to be but an easy scapegoat. These sorts of comments are downright vicious. I have been threatened personally and have even had threats of physical harm. Many people are quick to have their say without knowing the full situation.
"Rumours abound that I am on some tropical island with hundreds of thousands of pounds or am in prison and I even heard that I was dead. I have been trying to deal with this situation and moving the portfolios on, of which the assumption of there being over 100 managed properties is incorrect.
"I don't want this to escalate any more. Two stories about me have been printed this week already and my name is like mud. Some of the comments have been very damaging and I don't want to end up back in hospital. I want to put an end to all this."
You can see the full Western Evening Herald article here.