Club boss grows frustrated over ‘fraud’ probe

Volunteer Peter Wallace says he wants an update from police about a fraud investigation into Bispham Community Centre.
Volunteer Peter Wallace says he wants an update from police about a fraud investigation into Bispham Community Centre.
0
Have your say

A volunteer at a community centre which fell victim to an alleged £60,000 fraud today criticised police, saying there has been no update on the investigation for the past six months.

Peter Wallace is a trustee at Bispham Community Centre, which was at the heart of a fraud probe in April last year after it was alleged the huge sum had been stolen from the charity, bringing it to its knees with just £230 left in savings.

He says he has not heard anything from the police about the investigation in recent months, leaving members of the club frustrated.

Mr Wallace, who has slowly helped rebuild the club – which has been running since the 1970s – to its former glory after the incident, said: “I’m just getting harassed by our members asking what’s going on with the investigation. It makes you feel a bit useless.”

Around £60,000 is said to have gone missing from the centre’s accounts over a nine year period, sparking the investigation and leaving the club unable to pay bills.

Mr Wallace says despite the perceived lack of movement from police, things are now well on the road recovery after months of hard work and reinvestment in its premises.

Bispham councillors Don Clapham and Henry Mitchell donated £200 from their ward budget to the centre.

Mr Wallace said: “Things are very good. We’re getting more people hiring the room and we’ve had a lot of improvements adding up to making everything a lot better.

“We’re making a profit now each month and the council has been good to us.”

Probe is a ‘protracted process’

A spokesman for Lancashire Constabulary said: “This is a long a protracted investigation into an alleged fraud encompassing several years and which runs into thousands of pounds.

“A 68-year-old man has been spoken to as part of the inquiry and enquiries are continuing.”

Follow us on twitter @The_Gazette and like our page on facebook to keep up with all the latest news.