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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Police investigate estate agency over fraud and theft allegations

The police have opened an investigation after a number of complaints have been made about the financial affairs of a sales and letting agency in Essex.

Leonard Peters, an agency located in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, which had been operating since 1969, appears to have closed unexpectedly in recent weeks.

A number of landlords have made complaints about not receiving rent from the agency and it appears the police are also investigating allegations of fraud being made against the firm.

According to a report in the Basildon Standard, elderly residents at Fairlawns Development claim a five-figure sum belonging to them was taken from a bank account by Leonard Peters, the managing agent.

The plight of the residents, and their relationship with the closed agency, was also recently covered by The Times in an article focusing on the regulation of managing agents looking after freehold developments.

Yesterday afternoon, Leonard Peters' phoneline appeared to have been cut off and there is no listing of the agency on any of the major property portals. The agency's website, which is still up and running, shows just two available properties.

The police have confirmed that at this point nobody has been arrested and the investigation is continuing.

A spokesperson for Essex Police made the following statement:

"We received a report on Monday, June 3, about the theft of money in Thorpe Bay.

It follows a report that a five-figure sum of cash was withdrawn from an account.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Southend police station on 101 quoting crime reference 42/86970/19."

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