Why won’t the police help us?

From left: Julie Fairhurst, Andrew Fairhurst and Karen Hurst
From left: Julie Fairhurst, Andrew Fairhurst and Karen Hurst

TWO Wigan businesses are demanding the police and prosecutors take action after claiming they were conned out of thousands of pounds by a former employee.

In 2007 Karen Hurst, who owned Lunar Marketing and Promotions, in Standish, took on a new member of staff and as he offered to take charge of the wages, she noticed he had stolen more than £22,000 by fiddling the books.

When confronted, she says he admitted it and signed a loan agreement, which declared he had taken the money without authorisation and would pay it back.

But he never did so and in total, Mrs Hurst claims he stole more than £100,000. As a result, she lost her business as she went bankrupt.

She reported it to Greater Manchester Police and the case was sent to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), but it said there was not enough evidence to take it further.

And despite filling in the relevant paperwork, Mrs Hurst was unable to get all her evidence against the former employee, which included bank statements and invoices, as she was told it would “prejudice other cases.”

In 2012, the conman struck again, this time targeting husband and wife, Andrew and Julie Fairhurst, who own Urban Fencing Ltd, in Bradley Hall Trading Estate, in Standish.

He was employed under their sister firm, Rural Barriers and Fencing Ltd.

Mr and Mrs Fairhurst say he created invoices using his address and bank account, altering the company name slightly and using their VAT and UTR (Unique Tax Reference number) to avoid suspicion. Overall, he is alleged to have embezzled £40,000 from them.

They reported the matter to GMP, and despite being informed he would be arrested, the force’s Economic Crime Unit (ECU) decided no further action should be taken.

Both businesses say they have the backing of local MPs Lisa Nandy and Rosie Cooper, and want to see justice done.

Mr Fairhurst said: “We told the police and referred all our documents to them and they said they would arrest him, but had to wait for the ECU. We were then told the ECU had no resources and it was not in the public interest. I complained to the crime commissioner, Tony Lloyd and Sir Peter Fahy, but it has fallen on deaf ears. It seems anyone can commit fraud and the police won’t do anything.”

Mrs Hurst, of Roby Mill, said: “A crime definitely has been committed. I spoke to the police who went to CPS but they would not take any action.

“I then paid £10 to get all my documents back, but was told I could not have them because it was prejudice other cases in the future. It is in the public interest to bring the defendant to justice. I have spoken to West Lancashire Police, and they would take it on, but I can’t give them my evidence as GMP has it.”

A spokesman for GMP said: “The information collated as part of the investigation with Rural Fencing was reviewed by a detective sergeant and detective inspector within the economic crime unit.

“Following considerations of the force’s fraud policy it was decided no further action would be taken.

“This was due to a number of considerations. We accept this is disappointing for the complainant, whom we have spoken and written to explaining fully the reasons why the case would not be progressed.”

In relation to Lunar Marketing, a spokesman said that the employee was arrested and a decision was made by CPS to take no further action.