A British expat who paid £2,000 to buy a ‘Lord of the Manor’ title over the internet claims he has lost his money – and the title – after being conned by a Sussex firm.
Peter Tither purchased the title from Noble Titles – a company claiming to be based in Worthing and Hurstpierpoint.
He parted with his cash in December and promptly received a flurry of documents and certificates confirming his glamorous new title – Lord of the Manor of Little Barr in Warwickshire.
The excitement of his new prestige did not last long, however, when he spotted errors on the paperwork. He said: “The documents said ‘Lord of the Manor of Little Barr in Warwickshire, in the United Kingdom of Great Britain’. But it stopped there. Of course it should have said ‘of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’.
“I pointed out this was wrong and raised the question of whether the documents were valid. I became more suspicious when my polite enquiry was rebuffed and then ignored.”
The Argus understands the solicitor who signed Mr Tither’s documents is no longer practising.
The company’s website – nobility.co.uk – is also registered under the name of a man who migrated to Panama in 2006.
Mr Tither, who lives in a small village in the south of France, said: “As part of the purchase I received an elaborate insurance document saying I had nothing to worry about in case anything went wrong.
“But the Financial Conduct Authority said they were never registered to sell insurance and there was nothing they could do.
“I only bought the title to tease my French neighbours really, and it was a bit of a gamble when I did it, but I’ve written off the money now.
“The problem is there is no central register or government department in the UK that takes responsibility for regulating these titles.
“Some are genuine and historic but there’s no central register. I’m angry about being conned.”
The Argus attempted to contact the company but the phone line rang dead. We also visited the business address in Salvington Road in Worthing but it was empty.