A charity has been left shocked and angry after forged £20 notes were used at its annual Christmas Fair.
The event at the Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare near Ringmer is crucial in raising vital funds for the animals in its care and also ensuring the the centre can continue taking in as many as possible during the winter months when costs go up.
The fair on December 2 and 3 was a great success but when counting up the takings, which all go directly back into caring for the animals, it was discovered that £280 worth of forged £20 notes had been submitted to Raystede.
These could have been used to buy food, items from the charity shop and pet goods.
They could also possibly have been changed into smaller notes or change when presented to trusting staff and volunteers.
A Raystede spokesperson said: “At a local event like this you don’t expect people to take advantage of something being held in aid of a charity. The sum of £280 could pay for life-saving surgery on an animal or even keep a dog in Raystede’s care for up to 15 days.
“It’s very saddening something like this has occurred, and it seems the event was picked by an individual or small group that saw the charity as an easy target.
“It means the animals at Raystede now lose out on that amount money over Christmas, which is a very ruthless thing for the fraudsters to do.
“Raystede will now be putting security measures in place at its own cost to try to ensure this does not happen again. It’s a shame it has come to this but we do not wish to lose any more money due to forged notes.”
The centre has urged other local businesses to be vigilant for phoney £20 and £50 paper notes. The police have been informed and are investigating.
The weekend of the fair saw Raystede welcome lots of people to the venue, including numerous dogs of all shapes and sizes, some of which had been adopted from the centre. Staff love seeing how well they are doing in their new homes.
To find out more about Raystede please visit www.raystede.org