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Man charged over playgroup funds theft

PUBLISHED: 21:40 20 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:02 03 March 2010

POLICE have charged a former playgroup official with stealing thousands of pounds of cash from its coffers, it was revealed today.

David Avery, 34, of The Walk, Walton, Felixstowe, is accused of taking the cash while involved with the Kirton and Falkenham Playgroup.

POLICE have charged a former playgroup official with stealing thousands of pounds of cash from its coffers, it was revealed today.

David Avery, 34, of The Walk, Walton, Felixstowe, is accused of taking the cash while involved with the Kirton and Falkenham Playgroup.

A police spokeswoman said he has been charged with five counts of theft and will appear before South-East Suffolk Magistrates' Court at Ipswich on Tuesday, June 24.

It is understood that the charges relate to around £3,000 of playgroup funds.

Avery was arrested earlier in the year after police launched an investigation into allegations that money was missing from the playgroup's accounts.

He has been on police bail during the investigation, which has been lengthy inquiry, and the charges were brought yesterday when he returned to answer bail at Felixstowe police station.

The police investigation began after the playgroup – which meets on weekday mornings at the Church Hall in Church Lane, Kirton – suddenly discovered its account had less than £100 in it and it had gained debts of around £1,500.

It left the group, which has been running for more than 30 years, in a difficult position and worried about its future.

It had to set about fundraising to secure its future and found a sympathetic ear at Suffolk Coastal District Council, where councillors were keen to see that a vital service for the villages was not lost.

The council's grants task group agreed to help with its plight by giving a grant of £1,000 from public money. It is understood that the application for a grant was made because of its current circumstances and it had not asked for a grant in the previous five years.

The playgroup, which caters for between 40 to 60 children aged three to five years, provides stimulating and educational learning for pre-school youngsters.

This includes a host of activities such as craft, reading, PE, role play and learning through play, as well as preparing the children for the start of their school lives.

Officials from the playgroup have declined to comment on police investigation at this stage.

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