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COPS IN TUMBLEDOWN TERRACE FRAUD PROBE; Claims council knew of defects.

Byline: By Ian Dow

POLICE are probing claims a council defrauded tenants by letting them buy their houses knowing they were at risk of collapsing.

The homes on the Deans South estate in Livingston were nicknamed "Tumbledown Terrace" after a damning report in 2004 on the state of the 241 houses.

Consultants discovered the houses were built with the experimental concrete substitute Siporex.

Surveyors found roofs could collapse under heavy rain and many supporting walls were cracked just 40 years after they were built.

A total of 84 houses had been bought by tenants, who now face crippling mortgage payments for homes they could lose and can't sell.

They were told the council have no obligation to compensate them if they were unaware of the problems when the houses were sold.

But now the home owners say they have evidence that council officials knew - and were worried - they were selling defective houses.

Dean South Homeowners Association chairman Sean Milligan said: "Evidence we have obtained shows council officials in 2002 warning that purchasers should be informed about problems.

"In effect, it was known that defective houses were being sold and that is fraud."

Milligan has reported his findings to Lothian and Borders Police.

A West Lothian Council spokesman said: "We will provide assistance with any inquiries if we are contacted about this matter.

"We obtained legal advice which confirmed the council have no liability in respect of the house owners at Deans South."

CAPTION(S):

CRUMBLING: The houses
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 16, 2007
Words:247
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