Wales

Club members' worries after Christmas cash goes missing

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Media captionMembers of the savings club say they are devastated

Members of a savings club near Merthyr Tydfil have spoken of their devastation after finding money they had paid into a Christmas fund has gone missing.

Several families from Treharris who thought they were saving with vouchers company Park Group fear they have lost between £300 and £800 each.

A 36-year-old woman has been arrested by South Wales Police in connection with a number of allegations of theft.

A spokesperson for Park Group said it was cooperating with a police inquiry.

The families who are all from the Treharris area believed they had been making weekly payments to a Park Group agent since January.

It was their understanding that in November they would be given their cash back in vouchers to use to buy Christmas presents.

But Park Group has written to them, telling them their agent may have been behind with their payments, and that they should consider contacting the police.

Image caption Joanne McLean said the worry about the money loss has made her ill

Sarah Courtney, said she had paid in £440.20 to buy presents for her teenage children.

She said: "I've got to find all this money again now. So that's set me back. It's a lot to me.

"I don't know what's going to happen now. I really don't."

Clare Courtney said she had been paying in £23.80 and stood to lose more than £700.

She said: "My children's Christmas is absolutely ruined. I cried. I was sick. I was just devastated."

Joanne McLean said the worry of losing the £870.50 she had paid in between January and August this year had affected her health.

She said: "I've been ill. I've been really ill. I've got boils on my back. I've got cold sores. I've had to go back and forth to the doctors because of it."

The families have since started an online campaign for donations.

A spokesperson for Park Group said: "Park has been made aware of this situation and has suggested that customers inform the police, who are now conducting a criminal investigation into this matter, with which Park is obviously co-operating fully."

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