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Undertaker arrested in fraud probe
7:45am Thursday 31st October 2013 in News
AN undertaker has been arrested due to allegations that people paid thousands of pounds into funeral plans, only to find none of the services they were expecting had been put in place.
In an unusual move, West Mercia Police have named Andrew Baker, of Pebworth near Honeybourne, in a bid to encourage people who might be able to help with their enquiries to come forward.
The 50-year-old is an undertaker and the director of Baker & Brown Ltd, which has been trading as Cotswold Funeral Services and Honeybourne Funeral Services.
He initially traded as Cotswold Funeral Services in Stow from 2009 then closed the business and re-started as Honeybourne Funeral Services early in 2012.
A number of clients have recently contacted police to allege they have been victims of fraud in relation to both funeral services.
Detective Inspector Andy Price of South Worcestershire CID said: “We have taken the unusual step of naming Mr Baker and his companies at the point he has been arrested to reduce the chance of a family of a recently deceased person suffering further distress because of any criminality that may have taken place.
“We advise anyone who has taken out a funeral plan with Mr Baker, Cotswold Funeral Services or Honeybourne Funeral Services, to check that everything is as it should be. If you have any concerns, please contact West Mercia Police.”
Colin Smalley, chairman of the burial board on Stow Town Council, sympathised with the bereaved families.
“It’s such a delicate time in a person’s life and they need somebody who is there to support them,” he said.
Mr Baker was arrested, questioned by detectives and has been released on police bail while investigations continue.
He could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.
DI Price can be contacted via the non-emergency police number 101 or information can be passed on anonymously through independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Quote reference number 0245s 09/05/13.
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