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06th Jan 2024

Post Office under criminal investigation for potential fraud over Horizon scandal

Joseph Loftus

Mr Bates vs The Post Office has caused outrage among viewers

In the wake of the new ITV drama, Mr Bates vs the Post Office, it has been confirmed that the Post Office are now under criminal investigation for potential fraud.

The show, covers the events behind the Post Office scandal, which saw numerous postmasters wrongly prosecuted between 1999 and 2015 for theft, false accounting, and/or fraud after mysterious financial losses kept appearing in village post office tills.

What was really at fault, though, was their new computer system Horizon, which was faulty.

Mr Bates vs The Post Office follows the story of Alan Bates, who along with his partner Suzanne Sercombe in 1998, used life savings to buy a Post Office branch in Llandudno, North Wales.

When money went missing, Alan denied responsibility like other postmasters, leading to the Post Office ending their contract within three months and them losing their £65,000 investment.

Rather understandably, the show left viewers feeling ‘sickened’ about the miscarriage of justice.

In the wake of this, the Metropolitan Police have confirmed for the first time that the Post Office is under criminal investigation over “potential fraud”.

Officers are “investigating potential fraud offences arising out of these prosecutions”, for example “monies recovered from sub-postmasters [operators] as a result of prosecutions or civil actions”, Scotland Yard said on Friday evening.

At the time of writing it is unclear if the investigation is into individual staff members or the Post Office as a corporate entity, reports The Guardian.

The force said in the statement: “These potential offences arise out of investigations and prosecutions carried out by the Post Office.

“The investigation was launched in January 2020 following a referral from the DPP.

“Two people have been interviewed under caution. Nobody has been arrested.”

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