A British man was left in utter shock after he returned to his house and found it stripped of all furnishings after it was sold without his knowledge.

The Reverend Mike Hall drove to his house in Luton after his neighbours alerted him that someone had occupied his home.

A BBC investigation found Hall’s identity had been stolen and used to sell the house for £131 000 and bank the proceeds.

Hall, who was away from the property and working in north Wales, said he received a call from his neighbours on 20 August, saying that someone was in the house and all the lights were on.

He drove to the house and found a builder doing some renovations, with all furnishings, carpet and curtains stripped away.

Hall phoned the police, but the builder left and returned with the new owner’s father, who said he had bought the terraced house in July. Said Hall:

We then tried to access the Land Registry documentation online to find out whose name appeared… and it is, in fact, as of 4 August, this man’s name.

At that point, the police said, ‘Well, there’s nothing further we can do here. This is a civil matter; you need to leave the house and contact your solicitors.

… I was shocked – having seen the house in the state it was, I was in a bit of a state of shock anyway – but then to be told by the police they didn’t believe a criminal offence had been committed here was just unbelievable.

The BBC put Hall in touch with Bedfordshire Police’s fraud squad, which has begun an investigation.

A spokeswoman said there had been no arrests.

More: BBC News