Pub landlord vanishes with 30,000 Christmas fund and is last seen on boat to France
16:09 GMT, 15 December 2012
Malcolm Levesconte, 59, was due to return from St Malo last Monday but officers do not believe he boarded the ship to return
A pub landlord who disappeared with almost 30,000 collected in a Christmas thrift fund for his 60 customers was today at the centre of an international manhunt.
Royal Oak landlord Malcolm Levesconte, who was holding the cash on behalf of customers who paid into the fund each month, is now officially listed as 'missing' and his last movements put him catching a ferry to St Malo in France.
Police said the 59-year-old was due to return from St Malo the following day but officers do not believe he boarded the ship to return.
Today detectives were working with their French counterparts to trace Mr Levesconte.
He was last seen at the village pub in Amesbury Road, Shrewton, Wiltshire last Sunday.
On the same day, he booked tickets for and later boarded a ferry at Portsmouth bound for St Malo in France, according to police.
A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: 'At this stage, officers are treating this as a criminal investigation but also as a missing person inquiry.”
Drinkers at the pub were understood to have paid into the thrift fund on a monthly basis and expected to get the cash back ahead of Christmas.
It is not known how long the thrift fund scheme at the rural watering hole had been running for.
Detective Sergeant Mike Standing from Salisbury CID said they would be contacting the 60 victims by letter outlining the action they need to take.
The landlord was last seen at the village pub in Amesbury Road, Shrewton, Wiltshire last Sunday
are making numerous inquiries to try to establish what has happed to
this 29,000 Christmas thrift fund which has left so many people without
the cash they need for presents and food this year,' he said.
'We are becoming increasingly concerned for Mr Levesconte’s safety and continue to treat his disappearance as a missing person inquiry.
'We would strongly urge anyone who thinks that they have information about his whereabouts to come forward and speak to us.
'If you have heard from Mr Levesconte or had contact with him near to when he went missing, and think that you have information that would assist us, we would like to hear from you.'