England

Film agency folds as finance manager is arrested

A government-backed film agency has folded and one of its managers has been arrested over claims of financial irregularities at its Norfolk offices.

The Norwich and Watford-based Screen East company confirmed it is insolvent.

It also said its finance manager, Melvin Welton, had been arrested. Police confirmed a 61-year-old man had been questioned and bailed.

The agency was funded by the UK Film Council and the East of England Development Agency (EEDA).

The government had recently announced the abolition of both the UK Film Council and EEDA as part of billion-pound cuts in public spending.

'Cannot meet debt'

The company directly employs 12 people and is based at a main office in Norwich. It also has a locations department at Leavesden Studios in Watford, Hertfordshire.

The Chief Executive of Screen East, Laurie Hayward said: "The directors of Screen East have concluded that the company is insolvent and cannot meet its debt as they fall due."

Mr Hayward also confirmed Norfolk Constabulary were investigating "some financial irregularities" at Screen East.

Norfolk police said: "Norfolk Constabulary can confirm that a 61-year-old man from Great Yarmouth has been arrested on suspicion of theft and released on bail pending further enquiries.

"As the investigation is in its early stages we are unable to comment further at this time."

Screen East is the regional screen agency for the East of England.

It allocates Lottery funding to projects and supported and promoted the film and media industries and culture in the region.

Screen East has invested in movies such as Dean Spanley starring Peter O'Toole.

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