Hunt for thief who stole dead man’s pension

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DETECTIVES hunting a thief who cashed pension cheques sent to a dead man have issued a picture of a man they wish to trace.

The move is part of an on-going investigation into the disappearance and fraudulently cashing of a number of cheques sent in error by the insurance company which provided the deceased’s annuity pension by the City and Holbeck CID Proceeds of Crime Team.

Christopher Acton of Sefton Avenue, Beeston, Leeds, died of pneumonia on March 25 2008 at the Chapel Allerton Hospital in Leeds aged 58.

The insurance company continued to send cheques each for a figure usually worth at least £150 to his address, unaware that he had died.

A police investigation was launched after the insurance company received an anonymous telephone call telling it that these cheques were being fraudulently cashed. As part of the police inquiry a 58-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of committing fraud. He has subsequently been released on bail pending further police investigations.

But as part of the probe police have established that nine of the cheques sent to Mr Acton’s address were cashed at a pawnbrokers premises in Beeston, Leeds, by a man claiming to be Mr Acton This included one cheque which was cashed only two days after Mr Acton had died in hospital.

The total value of these nine cheques was £1,387 and detectives hunting the man who cashed the cheques at the pawnbroker’s today issued a CCTV photograph of a man they would like to identify and trace urgently.

They have appealed for anyone who recognises him or has information about his whereabouts to contact them urgently.

Dete Con Jim Steele, of the City and Holbeck division’s proceeds of crime team, said: “This is a particularly callous fraud because the first cheque was cashed only two days after Mr Acton died, and any money he had or was owed would have been passed to his family.

“We believe members of the local community may have information which can assist our efforts to trace this man.”

Anyone who can identify the man pictured or has information which can assist police inquiries is asked to contact DC Steele via 0845 6060606.

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