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£3.5m lottery syndicate from pub near Littlehampton told they've lost their cash
Winners of a village lottery syndicate claim their cash has been squandered by an elderly neighbour in a failed investment scheme.
Drama hit the leafy parish of East Preston near Littlehampton yesterday when 80 investors said they had received letters from the ex-accountant confirming the winnings had now gone.
Some of the investments, which ranged from thousands up to £1 million, came from members of the Tudor Tavern pub lottery syndicate, which hit the headlines in 1997 when it scooped a cool £3.6 million.
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Sussex Police are investigating villager David Reeves, 68, after millions were lost in the scheme and he contacted them.
Angry locals have accused Reeves, who has lived in the village for 30 years, of los ing their life savings and pensions after they received letters from him saying everybody’s money had been lost.
Residents were further riled, saying the letter asked for more investment so Reeves could make up losses.
Yesterday drinkers in the East Preston Royal British Legion said they “felt sorry” for Reeves but have been asking what happened to the money.
One of the Tudor Pub syndicate winners, who won £250,000 in 1997, told The Argus yesterday: “He is a friend from the pub who used to be an accountant but retired when he got pancreatic cancer.
“There was a private investors’ group and I guess people saw him making money one time but now people are asking questions.
“The money we won in 1997 is worth nothing today. We bought a house with it and that was about that, there was none for us to invest. People who weren’t in the syndicate have lost money.”
A parish councillor said the village was “shocked” to wake up to national newspaper stories yesterday morning featuring the news.
Another drinker in the Royal British Legion said: “He hasn’t done this intentionally but you wonder why all the money has disappeared at once. I haven’t seen around here for a few days now and I’ll be surprised if we see him soon.”
The Financial Conduct Authority said Reeves was not registered with them, which is a requirement for anyone investing money on behalf of other people.
A spokesman from Sussex Police said: “A Littlehampton man contacted local police on Friday February 28 to report matters relating to investment schemes he had been operating for some local people. Initial enquiries are being made to establish the circumstances. No arrest has been made at this stage.”
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