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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Uproar after police say they're not investigating missing agent

There has been a furious response from landlords and tenants to a police letter which says a local force is not going to investigate a lettings agent who is reportedly missing - along with some funds from the business.

Letting Agent Today has previously reported on Smart Residential in Newmarket, run by an agent called Frank Smart - the business has been reported closed since July, following 10 years in operation.

Local media reports claims that some deposits paid to Smart by tenants were never lodged in schemes, while a number of landlords have alleged money missing from the company, too.

On the advice of Suffolk police, property owners contacted Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, as they wanted Smart to be subject to an investigation and possible criminal charges; however, Action Fraud has suggested there could be substantial delays in taking up any case.

Now some of the aggrieved tenants and landlords have been told in a letter from Det Sgt Simon Sharp of Suffolk Police’s Crime and Incident Managing Hub Fraud Team: “It is my decision not to further investigate your case. Preliminary investigative material does not show the case meets the criminal burden of proof.”

His advice to landlords was to review any insurance they might have and to consider civil action to recover their losses, according to a report in the Newmarket Journal.

The publication says Paul Shamplina, the founder of Landlord Action and the presenter of Channel Five’s Bad Tenants Rogue Landlords, has taken an interest in the case.

“It would appear that Smart Residential did not have client money protection insurance in place. This will become mandatory next year and would have protected these landlords and tenants.

“Unfortunately, those who are out of pocket would now have to take civil action against Smart Residential which is a limited company and probably has no assets, so even if a money judgment was obtained, trying to enforce it would be fruitless.

“It is such a shame that the police in Suffolk are not taking this crime seriously enough” he is quoted as saying.

You can see the latest report on this case here.

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    The Police have been withdrawing from Fraud for many years and its a sign of the times and re-direction of scarse resources.
    I'm not saying its right ( quite the opposite ) but everyone needs to raise it with their M.P.
    Govt set up Serious Fraud Office years ago - they only take on large selected cases. - so in effect, Fraudsters are free to continue 'business' ( sic )

  • S l
    • S l
    • 26 September 2018 07:03 AM

    yes absolutely. i had a cowboy builder to replace a leanto with more solid structures. he insisted on half payment upfront. we paid although quite iffy about it but he wont start until he gets them. so we paid, when he nearly finish the outer side of the replacement and have not completed the inside, i discussed with him another quote for skimming 2 walls and new sink unit with plumbing and electrics which he quoted 2700. its extremely overprice and he turn round and said he wont do electric and plumbing and would use the old unit to move to the newly built small wall without plumbing for 2700 n skim 2 walls. of course i rejected and he left us half hanging. on top of that, he had followed my husband to our house and waited till he left on sunday to knock on our door and shout loudly to pay the balance of invoice but refused to complete the work. he terrorise us and humiliate me in my house and neighbourhood and of course you guess it, the police wont do anyting about it. now he pasted on facebook claimed non payment although he took off with half payment and i was advised to sue his family for puttting it online and yes you guess it, the police wont do anything about it either. so now they wanted the police to monitor private rental sector? should they be chasing after tenants who commits fraud and use our property to take credit cards and mobile phones contract etc? surely that got to be a priority considering the huge rise in cost due to these fraudster

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    I have suffered at the hands of Mr Frank Smart for many years!


    He managed an apartment above my property and allowed his clients tenants to flood it seven times!


    When I once queried whether his clients gas certificates were up-to-date he showed me a certificate whereby the address had been crossed out and replaced.


    If I were you I would strongly publish this alerting affected landlords to have their gas appliances checked. If not then they could find themselves in a whole world of pain (and prison) if their tenants suffer or die from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning!


    If these landlords and tenants cannot get the Police to apply fraud charges then they can get him on a 'pre-meditated manslaughter' charge which carries a much heftier sentence than fraud.


    Frank Smart is intolerable, deceitful and abhorrent...he needs to be found, investigated and sentenced!

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