A pub landlord believed to be on the run having stolen up to £30,000 from a village saving fund was today branded ‘The Grinch who stole Christmas’.
Police are hunting Malcolm Levesconte, 59, after he vanished from the Royal Oak Pub in Shrewton, Wilts., on Sunday at the same time as the village ‘Thrift Fund’ disappeared.
Wiltshire Police confirm Levesconte booked tickets and boarded a ferry at Portsmouth to St Malo on the evening he left the pub.
A resident in the hamlet of Shrewton, who paid into one of the village’s four funds, condemned the landlord.
Residents pay in as much money as they can afford each week, and at the start of December, receive back everything they put in, plus a small amount of interest.
The resident, who asked not to be named, said: “I do it because it’s an easy way to save for Christmas.
“You don’t miss a tenner here and there, and when it all comes in one lump, just when you need it most, it’s a huge boost.
“I can’t believe Malcolm could have run off with his pub’s thrift fund. He was a quite close friend, so I’m gutted. I never saw it coming – nobody did.
“What he’s done is terrible – he really is the Grinch who stole Christmas.
“The whole village is in shock and there are a lot who are going to have a miserable time because their Christmas nest egg won’t be hatching. It’s the lowest thing he could have done.”
Levesconte ran the Royal Oak Pub with partner Jan.
The pair worked under brewery chain Enterprise Inns.