NEARLY 500 investors are chasing more than £10 million from producers who promised to make films starring the likes of John Travolta and Michael Caine.

The movies were never made and the money has gone missing.

Serial bankrupt Steven Wilkinson and his business associate Michael Cowan ran a string of interconnected businesses based in Brighton which purported to be film production companies.

Marketing firms drumming up investment in the films promised the investors – including private individuals who were subjected to aggressive cold-calling techniques – returns of up to 125 per cent.

The films included a planned Gummy Bears 3D movie to be voiced by John Travolta and a movie adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry V to feature Vinnie Jones and Michael Caine.

Wilkinson, 47, from Alfriston, is currently on bail having been arrested on theft and fraud charges.

His long-time business partner Cowan, 51, from Peacehaven, has been interviewed under caution and released.

Among the pair’s joint projects was a firm called Stealth Wealth Ltd.

Police have now told The Argus that 468 people have come forward in relation to the complex case, with the total amount missing after legitimate expenses have been accounted for now exceeding £10.7 million.

This week Wilkinson was handed an extra ten years of bankruptcy restrictions after it was found he had hidden £180,000 of income from creditors.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Officers have been working with partner agencies including the Insolvency Service, Liquidators, the Financial Conduct Authority, HMRC, banks, and with forensic scientists in relation to handwriting experts and computer examination.

“A 46-year old man from Alfriston arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation and burglary other than dwelling was questioned under caution and is currently on police bail with conditions while the investigation continues. A 51-year old man from Peacehaven was interviewed under caution on suspicion of fraud by false representation and money laundering and is currently released under investigation.

“We are keeping people who invested in the filming projects informed and we are currently consulting the Crown Prosecution Service. A report will be sent to them for formal prosecution advice as soon as possible.”