Brian Smith spent all his working life at CW Cheney. But dreams of retiring to the countryside lay in ruins after the firm's pension fund was raided, as he told John Revill.
The rumours were rife around the workshops of CW Cheney.
Staff had heard mutterings that something was not quite right with the pension fund, and demanded a meeting with its administrator - Kevin Sykes.
Brian Smith, who had worked at the company for 44 years, was one of the employees who met Sykes.
"Sykes appeared and was very persuasive. He managed to reassure us that everything was alright."
A few weeks later the staff were told the company's pension fund was almost empty.
There were 230 members of the scheme, all due to receive lump sums ranging between £10,000 and £40,000.
A total of 43 have lost out on their lump sums forever, while the Pensions Compensation Board decides every six months whether to continue paying the monthly remittances.
Mr Smith said: "When they checked the fund there was about £100,000 left which was enough to tide them over, but not enough to pay any lump sums.
"The last person to receive a lump sum had retired in March 2000. I felt numb."
Gathering his thoughts, he set off home to tell his wife, Pam, the terrible news. He said: "I don't know if I felt angry or simply sickened and upset."
Mr Smith, now 63, joined the company when he left school at 15. He started as an apprentice electrician before eventually becoming maintenance foreman and electrical engineer.
"I worked there man and boy. It was a brilliant place to work - a family-run place and they would apprentice you and made sure you did all the proper things." He joined the pension scheme as soon as he could when he reached 21.
During his employment Mr Smith paid four-and-a-half per cent of his income into the salary scheme.
In later years he doubled his contributions from £44 a month to £88 to help pay for his early retirement because of health problems.
Under his pension scheme he had an option to receive a £25,000 tax-free lump sum.
" I was thinking about maybe buying a new car, but the main thing was coming to live out in Warwickshire.
"We were living in Great Barr and our daughter, her husband and the grandchildren and my mother all lived out here."
But when the pension fund did not pay out, his plans faced disaster.
"Luckily my mother and son-in-law were able to help us, otherwise we would never have been able to afford to live out here."
Mrs Smith said: "When he came home and told me, I was devastated. You make your plans and then they come to nothing."
Mr Smith said: "What hurts is that you have worked so bloody hard for it. All we want is what should be justly ours.
"That is the pot at the end of the rainbow. Twenty-five thousand pounds is not an enormous amount, but it is yours to do what the hell you like with.
"For someone to run off with it is terrible. We were told this could not happen after the Robert Maxwell pension scandal, but that's been shown to be wrong."
Mr Smith said: "Sykes is a complete and utter scumbag. It's hard to imagine what he's done to people's lives.
"It is worse than a conman really, because a conman relies on the victim's greed to trick them.
All we did was pay into our pension scheme so we had some money in our old age. Now we have nothing."