Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Identity Theft Has Turned World My World Inside out; Nightmare for Innocent Man Arrested over Drugs Factory

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Identity Theft Has Turned World My World Inside out; Nightmare for Innocent Man Arrested over Drugs Factory

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT WEATHERALL

INNOCENT Malcolm Higgins today told how he was plunged into a stolen identity nightmare.

He was mistakenly suspected of being behind a drugs factory which was set up at a rented property. Police initially believed Malcolm had rented the flat and kitted it out with lighting equipment to cultivate thousands of pounds worth of cannabis plants.

But unknown to him, drug dealers had stolen his identity and used faked documents to secure the rental agreement.

The first the 45-year-old knew of the identity theft was when police knocked on his door. He said: "My alarm went off at about 6.20am, and about 10 minutes later there was a knock at the door.

"I answered it and there was a couple of police officers.

They asked if they could come in and I had nothing to hide so I agreed.

"They just said that they had come about 'my other flat'. I told them that I didn't have another flat and I didn't know what they were talking about."

Malcolm was arrested and handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car while an officer searched his home.

While in the car he was asked whether he had another flat in Bewick Road, Wallsend. Malcolm repeated the only property he had was the one he lived in.

He was taken from his home in Front Street, North Shields, to the town's police station where he was placed in a cell. He said: "I was due to be at work at 7am and I asked if I could phone my boss to let them know what was happening, but I wasn't allowed."

Malcolm was then taken into an interview room at around 8.45am.

He said: "The officers started asking me again about the flat, and I told them I knew nothing.

"They then explained that someone using my name and documents had rented the flat and was using it to grow drugs.

"I asked them to let me know what date and what time the person had paid the estate agent for the flat. …

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