POLICE have been called in after thousands of pounds went missing from the accounts of a youth football team.
Parents of children who play for South Hylton Rangers reported their concerns after alleged discrepancies in club accounts.
Now Northumbria Police have confirmed to the Echo that a 35-year-old woman, understood to be treasurer of the team, has been arrested on suspicion of theft.
It is believed the woman, who is also listed as the club’s child welfare officer, handed herself into police for questioning.
Parents say it appears that money, in the range of £5,000 to £6,000, raised since 2009, has not been accounted for.
Concerns have also been raised about missing money that was raised by the club’s youngsters for children’s cancer charities.
South Hylton Rangers play in the popular Russell Foster Tyne and Wear Youth League.
John Topping, secretary of Durham County FA, who run the league, said: “We are aware of what has taken place and the matter is in police hands.
“We are also carrying out our own investigation of two people within FA procedures.”
The arrest has shocked parents, with two mums, who are desperate to keep the popular under-9s club running, stepping up to take over.
Joanne Reed and Emma Collins are now running the club but say they have been left with the difficult job of trying to get it back on its feet.
As a result of its current financial situation, the team are no longer able to train indoors because of rent arrears and are forced to train outdoors at South Hylton playing fields.
Joanne said: “The football club gives the kids something to do that they all love and enjoy.
“They all put their hearts and souls into it and are doing really well in the league.”
Emma added: “We don’t have a penny in the account and there are lots of debts.
“With the dark nights and cold weather coming in it’s unfair that the kids have to train outdoors.”
To officially take over the club, Joanne and Emma must also take various courses and qualifications, also costing money.
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “A 35-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of theft.
“She has been released on police bail pending further inquiries.”
Anyone wanting to donate any raffle prizes, money or goods that can be used to help the club, can phone Joanne on 07758732879.