POLICE are investigating the theft of more than £7,000 from a long-established Chorley sports league.
The Chorley and District Pool Players League, which has 50 teams and 300 members, is on the brink of folding after officers were called in to investigate the theft which has cleared their accounts.
They have been left with no money to pay their bills, including £4,000 owed to a trophy shop, and the committee has had to hold a crisis meeting to discuss the future.
Chairman Karl Morris, a volunteer on the committee, said: “The Chorley Pool League has run for more than 30 years and this has come as a big shock to us all.
“We only realised that something was wrong when we received a phone call from the trophy shop to say that our bill hadn’t been paid.
“As far as we knew, the money was in the account to cover it and we thought it had all been sorted.”
He said the future of the league has been left hanging in the balance, but committee members had agreed to do all they can to keep it running.
He added: “The league has been running for more than 30 years – with this league taking over from the Chorley and District League four years ago.
“Unfortunately our future is now uncertain, but we have held a meeting and decided that we’ll do all we can to try and save it.
“We are trying our best to keep it going and have taken new members on to the committee to try to help us.
“We are all rallying around to see what can be done.
“The league owes the trophy shop £4,000 for trophies that were made for this year’s and last year’s
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presentation evening. We hand out hundreds as there are different leagues and different prizes for individuals.
“We can’t do anything until that bill is paid.
“And we really don’t want to see a small business like the trophy shop suffer, but it is a lot of money and we are trying to come up with ideas to raise it.”
The league is now hoping a sponsor will come forward to put their name to the league and help financially.
Karl added: “The league helps the pub trade and most pubs in Chorley have at least one team.
“We believe that we can be debt free in a year if we can find a sponsor and increase our subs for just 12 months, but we are in a desperate situation.
“We will have to speak to the landlords and see what they think about paying the higher subs and whether they want to continue.
“We are trying to deal with the situation as best as we can.
“And we are in the process of putting together a file that will be handed to the police.
“It’d be sad to see the league have to fold because of this.”
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said they were investigating the theft of £7,500 from the pool league, and have interviewed an individual from the local area in relation to the incident.