Kay Grimshaw contacted the union's West Midlands office for legal advice after realising that an inheritance cheque sent to her by her late aunt's solicitors had been intercepted in the post and cashed at the Muswell Hill branch of Halifax.

Mrs Grimshaw was only made aware of the missing cheque after a telephone call from her sister, saying: "Let's raise a toast to Aunt Pixie." She had received her part of the inheritance, which had been shared out amongst seven beneficiaries. Mrs Grimshaw immediately contacted the solicitor for confirmation that the cheque had been posted, then the GMB, who referred the case to Thompsons.

Peter Mulhern, Senior Managing Partner from Thompsons' Birmingham office, took on the case, investigating whether a claim could be made on Mrs Grimshaw's home insurance, which drew a blank. He advised Mrs Grimshaw and her husband to tackle the bank. Halifax insisted that appropriate ID checks were carried out and refused to reimburse Mrs Grimshaw or reveal details of the fraud to Thompsons.

Peter invited the Financial Ombudsman to investigate the case on the couple's behalf, who, two years after the money was stolen, finally convinced the Halifax to pay Mrs Grimshaw her inheritance, with the addition of interest and £250 compensation.

Peter comments: "We were frustrated that the Halifax thought they could treat Kay with such contempt. It has been wonderful to be able to help someone who, without the union's support, would have faced a lengthy and above all costly legal battle. The assistance we've received from the Financial Ombudsman has been invaluable."