A MAN defrauded out of £5,350 buying a motorbike through eBay has criticised police and a new national fraud service claiming they failed to investigate properly.

The university lecturer from south Stockton said he spoke to Cleveland Police four times and the new Action Fraud service three times but, despite strong evidence, no-one tried to catch the criminal.

He said the new Action Fraud initiative, launched last month, was “nothing more than a data collection agency”.

The man, who had saved up to take his wife on a European biking holiday, something they had planned for years, said he had good evidence including a motorbike registration number, a name and even address and email address of the alleged fraudster, but it had not been investigated.

Before contacting police he had called eBay who told him an invoice issued through the site was in fact a spoof.

The man wishes to remain anonymous because he has been the victim of identity theft before and says both himself and his wife work in sensitive jobs with young people.

He explained he bought the BMW touring motorbike on Tuesday, February 19 but became alarmed when it didn’t arrive as scheduled on Friday, Febuary 22.

It was then he called eBay and was informed the invoice was not official.

He called Cleveland Police but was told to speak to the new London-based Action Fraud service which deals internet crime and which Cleveland Police joined early last month.

Action Fraud kept him on hold for about 15 minutes and an automated voice then told him to call back on Monday.

At that point he called Cleveland Police again but was referred back to Action Fraud.

This time he did speak to someone but was not issued with a crime number.

He eventually got a crime number from Cleveland Police on the Saturday and finally spoke to a policeman on the Sunday but claims it still wasn’t investigated properly.

Action Fraud told him on the Sunday he would be contacted at a future date and he eventually received a letter saying the crime had been recorded.

He said: “I wanted it investigated, the criminal caught and either my money back or the bike. This Action Fraud is just a data collection service.”

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “Having looked into the circumstances, advising the victim to contact Action Fraud was the correct course of action and was in line with national guidance.”

A spokesman for Action Fraud said: “We take all reports seriously and, working with the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, use the information we receive to catch the fraudsters.”