Mortgage frauds rake in at least £700m a year and are linked to the financing of organised crime and perhaps even terrorist 'safe houses', chief police officers claim today, in the latest sign of mounting official alarm about the problem. Financial Times

The Association of Chief Police Officers says mortgage scams are a “significant element” of annual fraud losses and are attractive to criminals because they offer high profits and low risks of detection.

The Acpo claims – which echo concerns expressed by the Financial Services Authority – will focus further attention on whether mortgage fraud is in part to blame for distorting the property market and inflating house prices.