THE lifeline Largs Foodbank could be forced to close after Christmas - due to greedy users claiming more than they need.

Bosses at the charity admitted this week they are facing a crisis with a decrease in donations and a huge increase demand.

The service, which is run by a group of volunteers, also told the News its vital supplies are being abused by some people who are taking far more than they actually require.

The committee says it is being forced to refocus its services to provide a basic emergency service.

A spokesperson said: “Largs Foodbank is facing a crisis of sustainability which, if the current state of affairs continues, will require us to close within four months.

“We are facing a situation of decreasing donations and more demand, which has required us to support our stock levels by buying in items on a weekly basis.

“Our limited cash reserves will be exhausted in a few months at the current rate they are being eaten up.”

Volunteers say that the lack of a proper vetting system during the pandemic has left the service open to exploitation.

They explained: “There has been no vetting process implemented by North Ayrshire Council Social Services at Brooksby since March 2020, so people have been self-referring to the food bank.

“This means that we have had no means to assess their actual circumstances for 18 months and an electronic voucher system is still some way off.

“We set up as an emergency food aid service for those in need, not a free supermarket.

“We are sadly also aware of abuse of our volunteers over demands for better quality items. We cannot meet all the needs or wants that people have.”

From December 2, the foodbank will be refocussing its service to try and make its stock last.

A spokesperson explained: “Recipients will be asked to provide evidence of eligibility.

“Proof of benefits such as Universal Credit, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance and the Scottish Child Payment will be the basis for this.

“Those without any proof of entitlement, people will receive a basic food parcel, and residents will have to attend in person with no third party collections accepted.

“All fresh and frozen food supplies will be stopped except for prepared meals from the Church of the Nazarene and fresh fruit and vegetables.

“Finally abuse of volunteers will result in the withdrawal of service from those responsible.”