A Yeovil mother says her family is facing a “bleak” Christmas after a savings scheme she had invested in is thought to have suddenly collapsed.
The 38-year-old mum-of-five, who does not wish to be named, was due to receive around £1,000 from a Christmas Thrift scheme she has been paying into all year.
Now she has been forced to tell her children not to expect much this Christmas after being told the money she paid each week at the Yeovil Ex-Services and Social Club is not in the Lloyds bank account it was meant to be deposited in.
She said: “Members were phoned on Friday to be notified there is little to no money in the account.
“The police are aware and said there is very little hope of getting the money back. We have lost our Christmas savings.
“I’m really angry. My older children are well adapted to accept that this has happened but the babies are upset and wonder what’s going to happen to Father Christmas. They think Father Christmas isn’t coming. I’ve had to say he will still come but he won’t be able to do the full list.”
The woman, whose children range in age from four to 18, said around 20 people paid into the scheme on a weekly or monthly basis. She believes the missing money could amount to tens of thousands.
Now she fears she will have to cut her family’s food bill in order to save enough money to buy her children at least some presents.
She added: “The police officer said there’s very little funds left in the account and she doesn’t know how it’s going to be split.
“I’m absolutely gutted for my children. We have had a bad enough year as it is. I think it’s going to have to be a matter of our food shopping bill is going to be halved so I can get my kids some presents, and I’ve five people to feed.”
Peter Cousins, chairman of the Yeovil Ex-Services and Social Club on Preston Road, said although members pay into the savings scheme, it is not associated with the club.
He said: “We have nothing to do with it. We told whoever was going to do it, the club would have nothing to do with it. That was about 20 years ago. Everybody who took it on was told this.
“This has never happened before in all the time it has been going. I’m gutted. It’s not going to do the club any good.”
A 39-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of theft and bailed until Thursday, December 13, a spokeswoman for Avon and Somerset Constabulary said.
She said the arrest follows an allegation of theft from the Yeovil Ex-Servicemen and Social Club. Police investigations are currently ongoing.