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Police investigate £11,000 missing from Shildon Railway Institute holiday fund
POLICE have launched an investigation after £11,000 vanished from a social club's holiday savings fund.
Devastated members of Shildon Railway Institute only learnt their money was missing two days before they were due to fly to Benidorm.
Chief Inspector Dave Turner of Durham Police said there were 17 potential victims.
The cost of the five day trip has already been paid for by the Touring Club and the missing cash was from extra contributions towards spending money.
Members of the group - who were due to fly to Spain from Newcastle Airport early this morning (Thursday, September 12) - faced a race against time to replace the lost cash.
However, three people were struggling to do so and it was feared they may have to remain behind.
Ch Insp Turner said: "I can confirm that officers are at the scene investigating allegations of theft of a substantial quantity of money from the club.
"We believe there are potentially 17 injured parties. It is early days but our enquiries are continuing."
The investigation comes as the Institute, based in Redworth Road, Shildon, County Durham, celebrates its centenary year.
One member, who asked not to be identified, said: "There are 17 members in the Touring Club and we've all put money in.
"I was told at about 8pm on Tuesday (September 10) that about £11,000 was missing from the funds for the holiday.
"The club members saved up for nine months to pay for the holiday. This is absolutely disgusting and it leaves a sour taste. One member has lost thousands.
"We're still going to Benidorm but many people have had to scrimp and save to make up the missing money.
"Members range in age between 18 and 80-years and three of those set to go to Benidorm can't go anymore as they can't afford it.
"I never would have believed that this would have happened. The (Touring) Club has run for more than 20-years and it's never happened before.
"Everyone is very upset by this. People have been saving up and they've lost money through this."
Another club member, who also asked not to be named, added: "I don't understand how this could happen.
"Registered clubs are supposed to have strict financial controls including more than one signatory."
Members of both the Shildon Railway Institute and the Touring Club last night declined to comment.
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