Alresford civic chiefs consider changes to gaming machines procedure after fraud allegation (From Hampshire Chronicle)
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Alresford civic chiefs consider changes to gaming machines procedure after fraud allegation
ALLEGATIONS of fraud over the handling of cash from gaming machines has prompted Alresford town chiefs to review their operation.
Town councillors and members of staff at Alresford Recreation Centre at Arlebury Park have been castigated in recent months by local critic Robin Atkins over the way cash has been handled.
Allegedly lax accounting has prompted Mr Atkins, supported by town councillor Natalie Carpenter, to complain to the auditor about potential fraud, the town council heard.
Town councillor Roy Gentry said: “The serial complainer (Mr Atkins) has been jumping up and down with the external auditor and making everyone's life a nightmare, accusing everybody who has anything remotely to do with the games machines of fraud. This is getting beyond a joke. It is unacceptable that staff are being subjected to accusations of fraud by one of their own councillors.
“In my view the only way to get around this is to do what we should have done four years ago and wash of hands of them.”
Cllr Gentry would prefer to sub-contract the machines for a flat monthly fee to a supplier who would keep the proceeds. That way no councillor or any ARC staff would touch the money, the council heard.
The flip side would be that the council could lose between £8-10,000 income a year from the machines, said Mr Gentry.
Cllr Margot Power said she was reluctant to give up £8-10,000 a year income.
She proposed that the council explore more fully how much operators would be willing to bid to operate the machines. The council agreed.
Jan Field, chairman of the Alresford Society, said: “I hope the emphasis will be put on a suitable supplier rather than somebody who offers the highest price to the town council.”
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