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Lancashire Police have confirmed that they are looking at the business dealings of a property tycoon, after he was attacked in an armed robbery at his mansion.

Last Thursday a masked gang reportedly broke into multi-millionaire Toby Whittaker’s hilltop manor and attacked him before escaping with a haul of jewellery and his £60,000 Audi Q7 4x4 car.

The robbers were said to have forced the 32 year-old’s wife and their four children to hide under a table whilst the attack took place. They were armed with a crowbar and a knife, according to the Mail newspaper.

Mr Whittaker made his fortune in the buy-to-let boom with his property empire, involved in city centre developments in the North of England. However, the company’s residential arm, Dylan Harvey, folded last year with debts of over £100 million.

Hundreds of people lost their savings as deposits of up to £20,000 put down on apartments could not be paid back, and construction was put off indefinitely.

Mr Whittaker became the centre of an online hate campaign as furious buyers exchanged messages on websites, with some maintaining that they had been asking for their money for months, but had been told that it was tied up in other projects.

It is thought that a number of top legal firms are representing the people trying to get their money from the tycoon, whose other firms are still trading.

Manchester United footballer, Ryan Giggs, is one of those who lost money, after he put down £20,000 on a flat in Salford.

Confirming that the police would be investigating Mr Whittaker's business dealings as a possible motive for the raid, Det Insp Neil Ashton said: “It is only natural to look at the contacts he's got and who he does business with. That's a normal line of inquiry. At the moment we are just recovering as much as we can.”


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