Thursday, 18 March 2010

The caring estate agent

This is where Sean White was arrested, on September 16 last year - outside Seraph Estates, an estate agency in Crwys Road, Cardiff, where he was sales manager.

He was later charged with two counts of money laundering. And back at work the next day.

Sean White continued to work at Seraph Estates for almost four months after his arrest.

In early January, he made a first appearance at Cardiff Crown Court. Intrigued by his continued employment, I telephoned his office to ask to speak to him, to be told: "It's his day off.".

"Er, can I speak to his boss please?" I spoke to Seraph's proprietor, Douglas Haig, who told me he was shocked to hear his sales manager had been charged with such serious offences. He said he was not aware Sean White had been arrested at his office. He suspended White (innocent until he pleaded guilty) the next day.

The police tell me Mr Haig was aware of his employee's arrest - Mr Haig says he was not. White only joined the staff of Seraph Estates months after the crime for which he was jailed today. There is no suggestion Douglas Haig knew what Sean White had been up to.

Indeed, Mr Haig trusted White so much he loaned him £20,000 - and is presumably still waiting for his money. He may have a long wait.

Readers of the South Wales Echo will have learned recently how Mr Haig is a man on a mission to rid landlords of their image as crooks. He just had the misfortune to employ a crook as his own sales manager.

Mr Haig told me: "I attend PACT [Police and Communities Together] meetings and give up a lot of my time doing things that other estate agents do not do because I believe we all have a responsibility for our environment. I'm not a crook and work hard to make Cardiff a better place."

Fair enough. He also told me: "We have been hit very badly by having to adapt to losing a sales person."

I have patiently explained to Mr Haig that we've been hit very badly by having to adapt to losing a mother and grandmother but then you would hope the man on the mission could have figured that out all by himself.

Seraph Estates are currently looking for a new sales negotiator.  The job description demands "out of the box ideas" - although hopefully Sean White won't be allowed out of his box to apply.

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