A STROUD businessman whose company was a victim of fraud says he has been ‘astonished’ at the response from his bank and the police.

Gavin Bailey, of Aberlink Ltd, at Eastcombe, said: “Someone impersonating me walked into a branch of Barclays in Lancashire and asked for cash.

“Without identity, cards or a cheque book, they were handed almost £2,000.

“Barclays apologised for this and have refunded the money and told me that they have started an internal investigation but refused my request either for any further detail as to how the crime succeeded, or to report it to the police.

“In my view it might well be a simple matter to identify the criminal from CCTV footage and apprehend them. Therefore, I reported the crime myself to Gloucestershire police.

“The response from the police was equally astonishing.

“They just gave me an incident number and told me that I should also report the crime to Action Fraud.”

As the police advised, Mr Bailey reported the crime to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre.

“Their response was even more staggering,” he said.

“In their opinion this was simply a case of identity theft, which they stated was not a police recordable crime.”

Mr Bailey said that he had decided to make public what had happened to his firm, “not only to highlight the lax security at one of the leading high-street banks, but also to discuss the modern trend to disregard ‘small’ crime, which is almost giving it acceptance.”

Commenting on the incident, Barclays said: “Keeping customers funds secure is our top priority. We are committed to protecting our customers and have invested significantly in anti-scam and fraud prevention initiatives.

“We are also committed to working together with other banks, payment providers, police, wider law enforcement and regulators to bear down on both scams and fraud such as this.”

In a statement, Gloucestershire Police said: “When this was reported to Gloucestershire Constabulary, the caller was advised to contact Action Fraud which deals with this type of fraud in the first instance.

“Following initial investigation by Action Fraud, the inquiry may be passed to the police force where the offences are believed to have taken place.

“At this time Action Fraud and the bank concerned are responsible for the investigation and it is not currently a matter for Gloucestershire Constabulary.”

Action Fraud is bound by Home Office guidelines, a spokeswoman for the centre explained, which state ‘the use of another person’s identity, often referred to as identity theft, is not a police recordable crime’.

She said: “In cases where another person’s identity is used to obtain goods or services, we can only record a crime on behalf of the person or organisation which was defrauded as a result of the misuse of this identity.

"As Barclay’s refunded Mr Bailey, the person or organisation who has actually been defrauded in this case is the bank.”