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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71030
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My enquiry is as follows: I placed an advert in July 2013 to sell a Rolex watch. A pote

Customer Question

My enquiry is as follows:
I placed an advert in July 2013 to sell a Rolex watch. A potential buyer contacted me and we agreed to meet at a branch of Barclays Bank on 5 July 2013. I suggested meeting there as I am a Barclays account holder and the cash payment could be verified with the cashier.
It turned out that this potential buyer was actually a thief, and he ran out of Barclays with the watch. This was reported to the Metropolitan Police on the same day. They attended the scene, and I was eventually given a Crime Reference Number.
The investigation officially concluded in 2014 with the case being closed. I had a number of email exchanges with the investigating officers involved, upto Inspector level. I am not fully satisfied with the apparent keenness to close the case and not follow up information that I supplied to the officers.
I wish to know if I have any claim against the Met Police and potentially Barclays Bank?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
On what basis please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

On the basis of:

The Met Police not conducting a sufficient investigation. I have requested information on Standard Operating Procedures for investigating theft and they have advised they will not supply this.

In addition, the Enquiry Unit is refusing to supply details as to what was obtained during the investigation. Hence I have no verification that the Police requested CCTV evidence, statements from staff etc.

In terms of Barclays, are there any grounds for failing to provide adequate security on their premises?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Other.
Answer not received. Would like another advisor to respond please.
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Do you have details of the buyer please?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I am sorry but there is no claim on this basis.
The fact that you are understandably displeased with the outcome does not mean the investigation was negligent. Some investigations cannot be concluded successfully. They cannot waive magic wands I'm afraid.
Even if it were negligent, that still does not give you a claim for the lost item because that is not a consequence of their breach. If they had recovered it and lost it then that would be different.
Barclays have no duty to provide any security at all. They did not introduce you. You were using their premises at their agreement but that doesn't give rise to any liability on their part.
I'm very sorry but that is your position.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No one is asking the police to 'wave (I assume you meant this and not waive) a magic wand'. I expected leads to be efficiently and properly investigated as part of an investigation into theft. So magic necessary, just proper investigation.

This would have involved attempting at least to trace the mobile phone number of the thief (which was provided on the same day, and which they failed to followup until the next year) for example.

In response to Alex Watts, I have a name of the buyer (of course this may be false) but more importantly the mobile phone number used by the thief to contact me. I am very disappointed that this was not followed up to track the location of the thief as the number was active right up until recently as I had been making test calls to the number.

This is the issue. Are you saying therefore that the Police are free to do as little or as much investigation into an incident as they choose without following any guidelines or protocol at all?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Well, possibly. They are incompetent sometimes.
That still did not cause your loss. All that did was fail to bring the offender to justice.
You can complain about it to the IPCC but it doesn't give rise to a claim in law for the lost item.
If they had seized it and lost it then that would be different.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
A better option would be to sue the person in question.
You could argue that the police deprived you of that opportunity but that loss is to remote from the breach
They do owe a duty of care which may well have been breached but the plain fact remains it wasn't the breach that caused your loss.
If you can trace the person in question though suing is still an option.