‘We cannot investigate every possible fraud’ – police speak out after successful private prosecution of agent

Greater Manchester Police have now issued a statement after the force did not investigate allegations of fraud by agent Timothy Shinners.

As a result, a private prosecution was brought and Shinners was sentenced to three years in prison and also banned from being a director for eight years.

The private prosecution was brought by fellow director Stephen Laycock of the firm, Platinum Properties in Bolton, at a cost of some £450,000.

Laycock says that he was told that government cutbacks were behind Greater Manchester Police’s decision not to investigate allegations which included abuse of tenants’ deposits.

Greater Manchester Police yesterday told EYE it could not comment on government cutbacks, but Detective Inspector Martin Hopkinson of GMP’s Financial Investigation Unit said: “As with any report of fraud, an initial investigation and thorough assessment is made by experienced and trained fraud investigators and crime evaluators.

“Due to the changing face of crime, we are not in a position to investigate each report of fraud so this thorough assessment identifies those cases where the offenders are causing the most harm or where the victims are the most vulnerable and unable to care or protect themselves against harm or exploitation.

“We have a team of specialist fraud investigators dedicated to recording, assessing, investigating and tackling issues caused by fraud-related crime and we are committed to ensuring resources are used effectively to tackle the issues of fraud-related crime.

“A major part of our work is educating the communities of Greater Manchester to help them take steps to avoid becoming victims of fraud.

“We continue to improve and work with our partners to achieve this and in recent times we have seen a reduction in the rise of fraud across the Greater Manchester area compared to the national landscape.

“Advice and information about fraud can be found on the Action Fraud website.”


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  1. moi81

    This is an unspeakably shocking response from Greater Manchester Police

    1. Will

      I bet they would not like it if people took the law into their own hands and I don’t mean bringing a private prosecution!  I bet they would then find funds to prosecute someone else!!!!

  2. Frown Please

    Gotham City style. Sort it out amongst the civilians (and batman).

  3. AgentV

    “Due to the changing face of crime, we are not in a position to investigate each report of fraud”

    There doesn’t appear to be a lot to have been investigated…..it looked like pretty much an open and shut case which a private individual was still able to prove without any of the vast police resources at his disposal.

  4. Chris Wood

    Obtaining business by deception is fraud and I can think of one or two firms who are quietly hoping that all UK police forces are as shabby and lacklustre as this statement suggests Manchester police are.

  5. eltell

    Like others who subscribe to PIE we also have tried reporting attempted on-line fraud to the police Action Fraud website which steadfastly refuses to accept information.  “We have seen a reduction in cases of fraud compared to the national landscape. . . “. Unsurprising if GMP are failing to record cases in the first place.  Frankly it is scandalous.

  6. Woodentop

    They got plenty of resources to catch motorist minor offences!



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