A COUPLE fear they have lost £50,000 after a foreign currency company collapsed and wrecked their dream of emigrating to Belize.

Crown Currency Exchange was one of the UK’s biggest foreign exchange websites, but went into administration earlier this month.

Administrator MCR said an estimated 13,000 people were directly affected and about £20m was owed to customers.

Tracy Barnes and Mickey Coxhead had deposited £120,000 with CCE in instalments over the past six months, to be changed into US dollars.

They planned to use the money to set up home in the South American country and had already used some of the money to buy a small plot of land, before the company, based in Hayle, Cornwall, went into administration on October 4.

The couple expect to get back little if any of the £50,000, which they planned to use to build a house.

Mrs Barnes, who gave up her job running a charity in London to make the move abroad, said: “Our lives are devastated. We don’t know what to do.

“We had our dream in the palm of our hands. We have worked hard all our lives for this.

“This company has taken our money from us and all these other people who have worked hard for their money.

“It makes me so angry for everyone affected by it.

“It incenses me that they can operate like this.

“We know we’re not going to get it back. We just keep saying that at least we’ve still got each other.”

Mrs Barnes, a mother-of-four, said the couple were now trying to rent out their house in Oakley, near Thame, and raise enough money for a flight to Belize in the hope they could sort out cheap short-term accommodation, and still start their new life.

CCE blamed the downturn in the travel market for its collapse.

Some customers are owed £100,000.

The firm allowed customers to buy cash online up to a year in advance at competitive rates.

A spokesman for MCR said: “It’s far too early in the administrative process to define how much each individual creditor will receive.

“We have made it very clear from day one that we will keep all creditors informed as this case progresses and we will keep them advised at every stage.”

  • Have you been affected by CCE going into administration? Call the Oxford Mail newsdesk on 01865 425500.
  • For information from the administrators, see the Crown Currency Exchange website.