Friday, 06 May 2016

Council house fraud raids lead to five arrests

A series of morning raids on council homes in Southwark have resulted in five arrests for fraud and immigration offences.

Southwark Council joined forces with the UK Border Agency and police in the crackdown on council home fraud yesterday morning.

The council said that the raid saved £648,000 in housing costs.

An investigation was launched after the council discovered that a number of fake documents – including passports, birth certificates and Home Office letters – had been used to support claims for council housing.

The raids resulted in three arrests in Bermondsey and Rotherhithe for immigration offences – two Ghanaian men and a Ghanaian woman - and two arrests in Peckham and Walworth for fraud.

Ian Wingfield, deputy leader and cabinet member for housing at Southwark Council, said: ‘We have a current waiting list of around 20,000 people who are desperate for a home.

‘It’s simply not acceptable to defraud the council, and taxpayers, by subletting a council home or obtaining it fraudulently – it costs the authority thousands of pounds a year, money which could provide vital services and we cannot allow fraudsters to deny the 20,000 people on the waiting list a home.

‘We cannot ignore the issue. That’s why we’ll be coming down hard on those defrauding the authority.’

Alex Jayes, chief immigration officer for the Bexley, Greenwich, Lambeth and Southwark Local Immigration Team, said: ‘This operation successfully targeted suspected fraudulent use of council houses by individuals who appear to have used bogus documentation.

‘Those arrested by the UK Border Agency are now being questioned and detained for immigration offences, and steps will now be taken to remove them from the country at the earliest opportunity.’

Readers' comments (4)

Comments are only open to subscribers of Inside Housing

Already a subscriber?

If you’re already a subscriber to Inside Housing, your subscription may not be linked to your online account. You can link your subscription from within the My Account section of the website and clicking on Link My Account.

Not yet a subscriber?

If you don't yet subscribe to Inside Housing, please visit our subscription page to view our various subscription packages.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up

Related

Articles

  • Orr calls for associations to lead regen

    18 January 2016

    David Orr has criticised David Cameron for setting up a panel to explore regeneration plans and has called for housing associations to instead lead on the policy.

  • NHF to lead RTB 'sounding board'

    30 November 2015

    The National Housing Federation and ministers will jointly lead a ‘sounding board’ to oversee the implementation of the voluntary Right to Buy extension. 

  • Reclassification 'could lead to repricing'

    3 November 2015

    Lenders could push for a repricing of historic loans after the reclassification of housing associations as public bodies, a consultancy has warned.

  • House prices 'set to rise 25% in five years'

    11 June 2015

    House prices may rise by 25% over the next five years as housing supply stalls, according to a report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

  • IDS re-appointed to lead welfare cuts

    11 May 2015

    Iain Duncan Smith has been re-appointed as work and pensions secretary to oversee £12bn of fresh welfare cuts and push ahead with universal credit.

IH Subscription