POLICE are investigating a finance firm in which south Essex investors allegedly lost more than £1million of life savings.

Complaints have been made to Essex Police about Athenian Investments after its founder Andrew Rayner allegedly told investors he had lost their cash.

The Echo understands about £1million was invested in the company set up by Mr Rayner, 50, and wife Julia Rayner, 47, in February last year.

Responding to an Echo question about the company, an Essex Police spokesman said: “We are investigating a number of complaints about an investment fraud in the Southend area.

“There have been no arrests or voluntary interviews and investigations are continuing.”

One couple from Shoebury are believed to have sold their home and invested about £250,000 in the scheme, which they planned to use as a retirement fund.

The couple are now living in rented accommodation. The company was registered to an address in Southchurch Road, Southend, but the Echo was unable to contact Mr Rayner there.

No one answered the door at their rented home in Great Wakering when the Echo called.

Mr Rayner previously ran the Sargeant Rayner newsagents in Broadway, Thorpe Bay.

Before moving to Great Wakering, the couple lived in a rented flat in Chapel Road, on the Garrison development, Shoebury.

According to Companies House, the firm remains registered but has yet to file accounts.

Have you invested in Athenian Investments? Email Jon.Austin@nqe.com or call 01702 321152.