THE BBC recently reported on the case of a man returning to his house only to find it had been sold without his knowledge.

According to the report, the owner arrived at his property in Luton to find building work under way and a new ‘owner’ in possession who said he had bought the house.

The BBC investigation found the owner’s identity had been stolen and used to sell his house and bank the proceeds.

He had been working away in north Wales where he received a call from his neighbours saying that someone was in the house and all the lights were on.

He drove to the property the next morning, went to the front door and tried his key in the front door but it didn’t work. An unknown man then opened the front door.

The man said he was doing building work.

The bemused owner told him: “I haven’t sold the house. This is my property.”

He then phoned the police, but the builder left and returned with the new ‘owner’s’ father, who said he had just completed the purchase, firmly stating: “This is now my son’s property. You are trespassing. Clear off”

The Land Registry was immediately contacted to find out whose name would appear on the register… and it was, shock, horror, the new occupant’s name.

Bedfordshire Police’s fraud squad were then contacted and began their own investigation.

A driving licence had been forged and used to impersonate the owner, then details of a bank account were set up in his name to receive the proceeds of the sale.

Once the house was sold to the new ‘owner’ by the person impersonating the owner, they legally owned it!

The solicitors involved in the property transaction said there was an ongoing police investigation and that it was inappropriate to comment further.

I have yet to learn the outcome of the investigation and although I pride myself on being able to appraise most property sales, I’m completely stumped by this one!

Chris Willey is an Independent Property Appraiser and welcomes sale related enquiries on

Taunton 01823 412661