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Fears of more cash missing

PUBLISHED: 19:26 20 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:14 03 March 2010

FEARS are growing that Christmas club cash stolen by burglars, could be much more than the £21,000 reported to police.

Suffolk Police are still investigating the burglary on December 6, and the Evening Star has offered a £500 reward to anyone supplying information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprits.

FEARS are growing that Christmas club cash stolen by burglars, could be much more than the £21,000 reported to police.

Suffolk Police are still investigating the burglary on December 6, and the Evening Star has offered a £500 reward to anyone supplying information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprits.

Steve Roberts, 39, of Orwell Gardens, had popped to the pub leaving a kitchen window open.

He had taken the money home, to prepare to hand it out to friends and colleagues to buy Christmas treats with.

Mr Roberts was said to be feeling suicidal by concerned friends who have every confidence he will pay them back by getting a bank loan.

About 60 people, including 40 from the Manor Ballroom Club and workers at the Port of Felixstowe, were believed to be members of Mr Robert's club. That figure has not been confirmed by police.

Some pensioners saved £5 a week, and others told the Evening Star they handed over much more on a regular basis.

One member of the Manor Ballroom Club refused to reveal the exact amount he had saved as one of the club's top contributors, but friends said his account was in excess of £1,000.

Portworkers at Felixstowe today said they are "completely in the dark" about what has happened to their Christmas club cash.

One worker from B shift - from which the cash was collected over the year - said: "No-one knows what is happening at all. There are all sorts of rumours flying around.

"I wasn't in the club and not everyone on the shift was contributing, but a fair number of people were giving every week. Now they are completely in the dark about whether they will get any money at all.

"One man told me he had been expecting £900 this month and another nearly £1,500 - he was going to take his family to EuroDisney for a real treat. It's heartbreaking because you put the money away and it's good way of saving. I know a lot of the men involved are going to go to the police with the details of what they have lost and see what is happening."

Another worker, who lost "several hundred pounds", said: "I just cannot believe it. It's an awful thing to have happened - that money was going to pay for Christmas. That was the whole point to me of a Christmas club. I know others spend it on all sorts of things, but I just like to know that Christmas is covered and you don't have to worry at the last minute about how to pay for it.

"We will still have Christmas and it won't make any difference except that this money would have paid for it. Now we will be short. I feel very bitter and upset."

Anyone with any information about the crime, which happened between 6pm and 7.40pm on December 6, is asked to call police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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Police and bosses of the Inkerman are still searching for former pub landlord Andrew Ross today.

Mr Ross, 37, did not turn up for work on Friday and is believed to have travelled to Sunderland.

Christmas club money running into thousands of pounds was stolen from the pub. A 29-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of theft and bailed to return to Ipswich Police Station.

It is believed that up to £30,000 was stolen.

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