A complex inquiry into an alleged #10 million scam based around the valuation of a Birmingham property is likely to run for months, the Serious Fraud Office has revealed.

The news comes as the Erinaceous Group, which has launched an internal investigation into the activities of an employee at its Dunlop Haywards subsidiary, yesterday staged its annual meeting.

Neil Bellis, chief executive of property business, the Erinaceous Group, said an "investigation into the suspected fraud of one employee in the valuation department of Dunlop Haywards" was continuing.

He said: "The group is working closely with all the relevant authorities. In order to avoid prejudicing the out-come the group will not make any further comments on these investigations at this stage."

This week The Birmingham Post reported how detectives from West Midlands Police have joined forces with the SFO to investigate a sting which is said to have hit the Cheshire Building Society.

The inquiry centres on a site in Aston which was allegedly given an inflated value in a bid to land finance.

The Financial Services Authority, which is also investigating, said the alleged scam inflated the value of the industrial property from #1 million to #11 million.

West Midlands Police's Economic Crime Unit initially received a complaint about the alleged fraud against the Cheshire. Detectives investigated the claim and passed the issue on to be headed by the SFO when it became apparent there were wider matters to investigate.

The Cheshire's annual meeting this week heard the society believed it had a "clear expectation of substantial recovery". The society under-stands it has "a very strong case" against its professional advisers.