Royal Oak Shrewton Christmas fund appeal raises £9,100

The Royal Oak pub, Shrewton in Wiltshire
Image caption Police are linking the missing money to the disappearance of landlord Malcolm Levesconte

A fund set up to help victims affected by the theft of £29,000 from a Christmas savings fund has raised £9,100 in its first day.

Wiltshire Police said 60 people had lost money following the theft at the Royal Oak in Shrewton on Tuesday.

Landlord Malcolm Levesconte, 59, has been missing since Sunday. Police want to speak to him about the theft.

An emergency meeting of the parish council on Thursday evening was told of other fundraising events being planned.

One of the victims, Lee Acton, said he and his family had paid £2,400 into the savings club.

Image caption Police want to speak to missing Royal Oak landlord Malcolm Levesconte about the theft of the money

He said they had been saving £50 a week to pay for Christmas.

"I have two daughters, one of four and one nine... I don't want them to know all their Christmas money has gone and I'm trying to find ways of getting all their presents.

"I don't think they should know what's going on because I don't want to ruin their Christmas.

"I'm amazed how the whole village has come together to try and help out not only myself but everyone else in this thrift club," he added.

Wiltshire Police said the victims would all receive a letter outlining what action they need to take.

"We are making numerous inquiries to try to establish what has happed to this £29,000 Christmas thrift fund which has left so many people without the cash they need for presents and food this year," a spokesman said.

The fund had been due to pay out on Saturday.

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