The Independent on 15th September reported that criminals are targeting property in university towns across the UK to launder dirty money, according to an industry expert – Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, the professional body for estate agents. University towns are now being targeted for a number of reasons, he says. Despite efforts to raise awareness, estate agents flagged just 500 sales as potentially dodgy last year out of a total 1.3 million property transactions. A key part of the problem is that anyone can set themselves up as an estate agent because there are almost no barriers to entry, Hayward says. It is said that, according to an analysis of Companies’ House records by Moore Stephens, there were 25,560 estate agent businesses in July last year, yet only 11,318 are registered with HMRC for AML purposes. It says that only around 200 HMRC staff are dedicated to AML across all of the different types of business the organisation has responsibility for, including estate agents.