Police called in as £18,000 vanishes from Visitor Centre

Scotland Yard’s finest have been called in to investigate a theft of nearly £20,000 from the Croydon Visitor Centre in the days immediately after its closure.

The now empty Croydon Visitor Centre: why was so much cash left on the premises?

The now empty Croydon Visitor Centre: why was so much cash left on the premises?

The Croydon Visitor Centre, alongside East Croydon Station, was operated by Croydon BID – the business improvement district organisation formed by some of the bigger, richer companies based around the town centre.

As was first revealed by Inside Croydon, the CVC closed on May 1, to make way for the Boxpark development on the Ruskin Square site.

According to sources familiar with the situation, the theft saw around £18,000 in cash vanish from the outlet overnight. A report to the latest BID board meeting suggested that there were few, if any, signs of a break-in. And nor was any suspect(s) caught on CCTV.  The incident caused what has been described as a “heated debate” at Croydon BID’s most recent board meeting, since the Visitor Centre was only insured for losses of up to £1,500.

The amount of cash said to be kept on the premises seems unusually high; the money is suggested to come from ticket sales largely for West End shows – as the CVC operated as a tourist centre for the rest of London, and not just Croydon.

In a statement issued to Inside Croydon today, Croydon BID said: “We can confirm that the Police are currently investigating a burglary at the Croydon Visitor Centre, 1-3 Station Approach, George Street, which was discovered on Tuesday, May 5th.

“As the matter is part of an on-going criminal investigation, we are unable to comment further and all queries should be directed to the Metropolitan Police.”

And the Met said that they couldn’t help us any further with our inquiries at this time.

Croydon BID artworkThe large cash loss, if confirmed, will be hugely embarrassing for Matt Sims, the chief exec of Croydon BID.

The BID is seen by many Croydon businesses as a “big-boys’ club”, and regarded by some as hugely divisive. Some of the additional business rates paid by BID members goes towards extra police presence around North End; on the night of the Croydon riots in August 2011, some police acted to protect the Croydon BID area around the Whitgift Centre, while other commercial properties nearby on London Road and Church Street were left to their fate.

Today, a spokeswoman for Croydon BID confirmed that the organisation does not have any plans to re-open a Visitor Centre anywhere in the town centre – it’s not as if there aren’t plenty of vacant shops.

Nor does it yet have plans to take space in Boxpark once it opens on its former site, despite holding a reception for Boxpark this week. “Boxpark doesn’t want them,” a source told Inside Croydon. “They want businesses that add value to the scheme. The Visitors’ Centre doesn’t do that.”

Instead, Croydon BID proposes dressing up a couple of staffers to tour the town centre as “visitor ambassadors”. Good luck with that to whoever draws the short-straw on late-night shopping over the next couple of years, as Hammersfield moves in its bulldozers to demolish the Whitgift Centre.

  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at inside.croydon@btinternet.com

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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3 Responses to Police called in as £18,000 vanishes from Visitor Centre

  1. Nick Davies says:

    Doesn’t ring true, does it? £18k in cash sales would correspond to what, £100k in actual ticket sales over the same period. In excess of 2500 theatre seats worth. I doubt there’s that many people who knew they sold theatre tickets, let alone went along to buy them. Another explanation is that it was operated less than professionally, and large sums of cash were allowed to build up for weeks, even months, before anyone bothered to go round to the bank to pay it in – even though someone must have had to go every few days anyway for change. And then you might wonder who bankrolled that amount of money lying around when it should have been used for paying suppliers.

    I’d be interested to see their books. Are they subject to FoI?

  2. Peter Rogers says:

    I watch a lot of detective shows and have run ‘cash based’ businesses and I’m afraid I’m lost as to why this ‘allegedly’ happened.
    The clues:
    It’s clearly not an insurance scam, which naturally would be your first thought but they aren’t covered.
    No one is dumb enough to leave money on the premises overnight especially after the place has shut down.
    There’s no CCTV coverage, really?
    The Croydon Visitors Centre had fewer visitors than Barwells inaccessible constituency office in Shirley (located conveniently for the Trinity School) so would be unlikely to make £18,000 in a month never mind after closing down.
    So what’s the subplot?
    I’m usually good at guessing the motive and outcome but this time I’m stumped.
    If anyone can fill in the blanks please let me know

  3. I have had Young Enterprise teams leave bundles of cash in odd places before, such as on the top of lockers or marking a page in a book. Perhaps they should call in a Young Enterprise adviser they have a lot of experience dealing with these sort of situations.

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