Couple quizzed in £750k probe

A HIGH-FLYING finance director and her partner have been arrested over an alleged £750,000 fraud at a top direct marketing company.Scotland Yard fraud squad detectives arrested Sharon Bridgewater and Robert Sangster, from High Garrett, near Braintree, after more than £750,000 went missing from West End promotions firm, Hicklin Slade and Partners.

A HIGH-FLYING finance director and her partner have been arrested over an alleged £750,000 fraud at a top direct marketing company.

Scotland Yard fraud squad detectives arrested Sharon Bridgewater and Robert Sangster, from High Garrett, near Braintree, after more than £750,000 went missing from West End promotions firm, Hicklin Slade and Partners.

The alleged embezzlement at the company, whose clients include Camelot and Honda, came to light a few months after Miss Bridgewater left her well-paid post in December last year.

A routine internal audit found "certain irregularities" and after further investigations, the Fraud Squad - which only deals with cases worth more than £750,000 - were called in.


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A Metropolitan Police spokesman said last night: "The Fraud Sqaud received an allegation of fraud on May 23. As a result of the allegation a woman in her 30s and a man, both from Essex, were arrested

on May 26 on suspicion of fraud.

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"They were taken to a police station in Essex on suspicion of fraud. They were later bailed to return to the police station in September. They have not been charged."

Miss Bridgewater joined the West End mail shot agency in December 2002, but left just two years later.

A spokeswoman for the company said yesterday her former colleagues had been shocked about the alleged incident, but added: "No client business was involved in this at all - it was nothing to do with Lotto or Camelot."

In a statement, the company said: "During a recent routine internal audit certain irregularities were found.

"Following further investigation a report was made to the police authorities. A former employee has been arrested as a result of this investigation.

"No clients or any other current employees are involved and day to day business continues uninterrupted."

The couple, who live in a converted Essex barn equipped with a fitness suite, could not be contacted for comment last night.

But neighbours in the wealthy outskirts of Braintree said they were "shocked" at the arrests.

One woman, who did not want to be named, said: "Sharon and Robert are fantastic, superb people. "They moved here about three years ago."

In 1999, Hicklin Slade and Partners featured in a BBC TV documentary and two years later boasted in it was the fastest growing agency of its type in London.

According to its own publicity, the company claims to tap into emerging lifestyle and cultural trends in the consumer market.

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