December 13 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
The former treasurer of a Suffolk naval veterans’ organisation has pleaded guilty to defrauding tens of thousands of pounds from the club.
Martin Foster, of Uxbridge, Middlesex, admitted two counts of fraud by abuse of position as the treasurer for HMS Ganges Association, a group set up for people who served at the former naval training base in Shotley Gate.
The 54-year-old’s admission came as he appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court.
The investigation was carried out by Hampshire Police after debit card transactions of £4,200 and cash machine withdrawals totalling £74,000 were made from the association’s bank accounts between August 2010 and June 2012.
John Woolley, chairman of the association, told the BBC: “He’s stolen the money from an association mainly made up of pensioners, but he also had the temerity to look into the faces of the committee at the annual general meeting in 2012 and say the bank accounts were in good order.
“The loss of the money meant many members lost faith in the association, but the committee has rekindled everything, we are moving forward and the future looks good.
“We’re hoping for a custodial sentence – all the members want to see the book thrown at him.”
The HMS Ganges Association has more than 3,500 members who were stationed in Shotley Gate during their naval careers. The training base opened in 1905, closed in 1976 and has remained derelict.
Membership is open to all personnel who were on the books of HMS Ganges, HMS St George and HMS Bruce. The ages of members range from 100 to those still serving in the Royal Navy.
Foster is due to be sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court on September 13.