20/01/2015 12:06 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Dad Wrongly Arrested In Front Of Kids Over Phone Number Mix-Up


A dad has told of his 'humiliation' after he was arrested in front of his two children after he switched phone companies.

Robert Turner, from Throop, Dorset, was thrown into cells and accused of fraud all because of a 'recycled' phone number he was given when he switched to Virgin Media last year.

Describing his arrest, he said: "I had just done breakfast for my girls when the door went at 8.45am.

"The police told me I was under arrest for fraudulent representation. I was still in my dressing gown and my eight-year-old daughter was stood next to me.

"Then they followed me upstairs to get dressed. It was humiliating."

After an investigation, police decided there was no case to answer and Robert was told he would not face charges.

But the father is angry over the mix-up which he believed came about after he switched to Virgin from BT last year and was given a new number by his new landline supplier.

He then started receiving mysterious phone calls from debt collectors for a business completely unknown to him.

The dad told his local paper: "We were getting six, seven or more calls a day. There were calls from debt collectors demanding money."

Robert found his new number listed on a website for a company and tried to contact them to ask them to remove it, without success.

He said he called Virgin Media a number of times but there were long delays to having his number changed.

He said: "They just said nothing could be done unless the company removed the number from its website and advised me it could be identity theft."

Robert said police told him his telephone number had been registered to a debit card which had made four fraudulent transactions. However, his name and address were not registered to the card.

After weeks with the December 14 arrest hanging over him, he was told on January 7 he wouldn't face charges.

He said he does not blame police for investigating but was angry with Virgin Media.

A spokesman for Virgin Media told the paper they do 'recycle' phone numbers of former customers but only after a certain period of time had lapsed.

The spokesman said: "(Mr Turner) signed up to the company in May 2014 and did not register for a number change until October.

"Mr Turner's account was in arrears when he first requested his number changed. Once paid he declined our offer to do this for several months. We supplied his account file (to him) as requested."