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Pub cash hunt goes north

PUBLISHED: 18:52 18 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:12 03 March 2010

POLICE searching for Suffolk pub manager Andrew Ross have widened their hunt to Sunderland, it emerged today.

Detectives focussed on the Wearside city as dozens in Ipswich were ruing the loss of Christmas club money running into thousands of pounds.

POLICE searching for Suffolk pub manager Andrew Ross have taken their hunt to Sunderland, it emerged today.

Detectives have focused on the north-east city as dozens in Ipswich were ruing the loss of Christmas club money running into thousands of pounds.

The money, collected at The Inkerman in Norwich Road, is believed to be among cash totalling up to £30,000, allegedly stolen from the pub.

Pub manager Mr Ross is being sought by police today after his bosses reported him missing.

Police have arrested his girlfriend Samantha Prior, 29, who was bailed on suspicion of theft.

As The Evening Star reported on Monday, Mr Ross did not appear for work on Friday night.

To abide by licensing laws, the pub had to close over the weekend until a temporary manager was appointed at a crisis meeting at the premises yesterday.

Mr Ross, 37, appeared before magistrates in Ipswich last Thursday charged with selling liquor outside permitted hours on September 15. The case was adjourned to January 8.

Pubmaster, the company which owns the pub, has confirmed that Mr Ross has left The Inkerman, and bosses are trying to locate him.

Pubmaster spokeswoman Debbie Armstrong said: "We are aware that some customers have expressed concerns about money, and we are investigating these."

Customers told the Star yesterday that they were concerned about the money in their Christmas club at the pub. The club is believed to have as many as 49 members.

One regular said last night: "We are all pig sick. We've all lost loads of money."

n The alleged theft follows £21,000 being stolen from Steve Roberts, organiser of a Christmas club with members at the Manor Ballroom Club and the Port of Felixstowe on December 6.

The Star has offered a £500 reward for anyone supplying information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprit.

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