select for full details Fond farewell to Hartlepool community cop
As well as his community policing duties, he got involved with a sponsored walk which raised money for the children’s breakfast club.
By Chris Cordner 23 June, 2015

Popular PCSO Andrew Bell certainly made an impression on the people living within a supported scheme.

And when the time came for him to move on to a new job, they showed their appreciation by throwing a party.

The Hartlepool-based PSCO helped staff and service users at Eamont Terrace, a service run by the national charity Richmond Fellowship.

He gave support and reassurance for five years and first became involved when the residents were crime victims.

He said that after time, including supporting people in his spare time, they “opened up and started talking to me about things going on in their lives and confiding in me as a figure of trust.”

PCSO Bell is now moving onto a new role in London.

To show their thanks, everyone at the service got together to throw a ‘cops and robbers’ themed party.

PCSO Bell said: “To help people and to help make an impact on the community is what policing is all about and I’m proud to have helped the people here over the past few years

“Everyone here has a special place in my heart and I’m really sad I’m leaving.”

Fintan Wardell, who is a support worker at Eamont Terrace, said the support from PCSO Bell had been invaluable.

As well as his community policing duties, he got involved with a sponsored walk which raised money for the children’s breakfast club at a local community.

Fintan said: “Dedicated and caring individuals such as Andy keep us safer and build trust between communities and the police service so he will be missed but we wish him well in his new role.”

select for full details Saltney residents and Travellers in stand-off
Four caravans have moved on to the town's community and youth centre.
By Sarah Hodgson 19 June, 2015

Travellers and residents were in a 30-minute stand-off as a convoy of four caravans attempted to move on to a Saltney community centre field.

Five police officers were called to Saltney Community and Youth Centre on Sandy Lane as the Travellers attempted to move a fourth caravan into the site’s car park.

However, determined parents of children at the youth centre blockaded the entrance to the car park with their cars in a bid to halt the group.

But according to county councillor Veronica Gay the group were ordered to clear the way by police as the caravan was partially blocking the road.

select for full details She said: “Members of the public picking up their children from youth club were trying to get out but this caravan turned in and they said hang on we’ll deadlock you.

“Because the caravan was partly blocking the highway the residents cars moved backwards to allow the caravan to come off the highway but then still stayed at deadlock which was very difficult.

“The only person on site was a PCSO and he did a fantastic job, but then again he was a PCSO.

“The police response and the council’s should have been quicker.”

Activities cancelled

Cllr Gay says that the gates to the centre are usually locked, however had been opened so that council workers could cut the grass.

She says that the group arrived just before 3pm today and have 'promised faithfully not to make a mess' and will leave on Sunday.

“They have promised us faithfully that they will not leave a mess, that they have got their own toilets and will bag up any waste they create and they will be gone on Sunday.” Cllr Gay said.

The county councillor says that the youth club have been forced to cancel tonight’s activities due to the group.

Cllr Gay said: “The football club are concerned because they’ve got their cabin there and the youth club are concerned too – they’ve had to cancel the youth club tonight.

“Anything planned for this weekend is now not going to happen.

“There is a general mood of dare I say it of resignation as nothing can be done because of legislation. You can’t keep the gates locked because its health and safety, yes we have four on site but does it mean we can get 40. There’s nothing we can do.”

Travellers must leave two Chester sites this afternoon

Police funding to help Dudley Scout camps
THANKS to a Dudley policing team, one group of scouts can now follow their motto and ‘be prepared’ for anything the British weather throws at them this summer.
By Dan Sharp 18 Jun, 2015

Officers from the Castle and Priory team visited 1st Upper Gornal Scout Group to hand over a donation of £1,500.

To the delight of the scouts and the group leaders, the money will now be used to update camping and cooking equipment.

PCSO Faye Cartwright said: “It’s fair to say that the group’s camping equipment was a little older than the scouts themselves and needed updating.

“We were therefore delighted to hand over the cash to ensure that the group will end a day’s camping well fed and able to enjoy a good night’s sleep in a waterproof tent.

“We can’t wait to hear all about their adventures.”

The cash was donated from the force’s Police Property Act (PPA) which ploughs money linked to criminal activity back into local communities.

PCSO Omar Sharif said: “This group provides an excellent opportunity for local young people to learn a variety of new skills.

Horrifying video captures schoolgirl's savage attack
and 100 fellow pupils looked on but did nothing to stop it.
By Sam Tonkin 30 Jun, 2015

Terri-Mae’s mother Melanie, 42, and father Terry, 40, tried to press charges against the other girl involved but police said they were unable to establish how the brawl began because of inconsistent accounts from witnesses.
The attack was only stopped when a bus driver and local resident stepped in to intervene.
In the lead up to the attack, Terri-Mae, of Mosten, Manchester, said she had been sent abusive text messages from two fellow pupils at Manchester Creative and Media Academy in Blackley.
Police were informed of the incident by the Lunts and a restorative justice session was organised.
When they attended they found the other girl had brought a solicitor.
Terri-Mae asked for the session to go ahead without the lawyer but the attacker’s parents refused.
The Lunts tried to press charges but, despite having the video footage, police ruled there was insufficient evidence.

Mrs Lunt said: 'We were given the option of restorative justice but when we went to the station the other family brought a solicitor and refused to speak without them because they didn't want to incriminate their child.
'I just felt all the way through that the police could do without the hassle - it was three or four days to get back to me every time and that's why it has taken so long.'

The principal of Blackley school, Rebecca Smith, said: ‘This incident took place outside of school hours and off school premises, and as such has been dealt with by GMP [Greater Manchester Police] as a police matter.
‘Notwithstanding this, the school has taken it very seriously and has liaised with them to carry out our own internal investigation that has resulted in sanctions for those involved.’
A GMP spokesman said: ‘Greater Manchester Police thoroughly investigated this matter and more than 60 witness accounts were taken throughout the course of the investigation.
‘Despite these efforts it was decided that there was insufficient evidence to progress this matter to the CPS and, as a result, the investigation was closed.’

select for full details Stafford Police officers head to New York City to take on police in a charity boxing match
A TEAM of Staffordshire Police officers are heading to New York for a long standing charity boxing match with the New York Police Department.
By Staffs Newsletter 25 June, 2015

The team of eight boxers and two trainers from the Blue Glove Boxing Academy will be heading to Coney Island for the show on August 20.

The event will raise cash for the New York Police Department's chosen charity Cops and Kids.

To date the BGBA has raised over £250,000 for good causes through fundraising challenges but this will be the first international one.

To mark the occasion the officers will be presenting their opponents with ceremonial truncheons and the not for profit sports club is asking businesses to sponsor each of the truncheons, which will then take pride of place in the NYPD Police Headquarters. Anyone interested in them should contact the BGBA Event Manager Gareth Aston on 07857132698

One of the BGBA founders Colin Gay said: "The club are extremely honoured to have been asked over to New York for this event, supporting our colleagues in the NYPD, in the process raising some vitally needed funds for their charity."

Chief constable Jane Sawyers added: "I'm sure the team will be excellent ambassadors for the force and they'll prove a knockout with their American colleagues. Offering the opportunity for local companies and organisations to sponsor the ceremonial truncheons is a really creative way of getting them involved in the fundraising, and I hope more of them come forward to offer help.

"Boxing training is notoriously tough so I admire the dedication the boxers are showing in their preparation for the event. Whether they beat the Americans or not they'll still have reached their goal as they'll have raised a lot of money for charity.

"The Blue Glove Boxing Academy's Battle of the Badges events have proved a great success in the past in raising money for charity. I wish them all the best for this transatlantic bout and I'm sure it'll be a great experience for them."

select for full details NYPD will hire 800 recruits and move 415 cops off desk duty under neighborhood policing plan
The NYPD will hire an extra 800 recruits in the next three months and spring 415 cops from desk duty as part of a neighborhood policing plan rolled out Thursday.
By Rocco Parascandola 25 June, 2015

Mayor de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton announced the accelerated hiring program just three days after City Hall agreed to add 1,297 new cops in next year’s budget.

When the full number of new officers are on the job, 358 veteran officers will transfer into counterterrorism and the remaining 800-plus will work as neighborhood coordination officers.

Those cops are key to the new plan, with Bratton hopeful they will spend more than two hours per shift out of their patrol cars and mingling with local residents like the beat cops of yore.

“Everything old is new again,” said Bratton at a news conference in Washington Heights’ 34th Precinct stationhouse, home to a pilot program for the new approach.

“This is neighborhood policing, more intimate, neighborhood by neighborhood . . . Twenty years from now, we’ll look back at this time as a watershed event in the history of this department and the city.”

Bratton noted this was the NYPD’s first “plan of action” since 1994 — the first year of his first tour as commissioner under Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

To put more cops on the street, the NYPD is also in the process of converting 415 positions currently held by cops into civilian jobs.

“The best change, the best reform happens at the grass roots,” said de Blasio. “Instead of a top-down approach where everything started when there was a problem . . . we are now doing a bottom-up approach where the officer knows the community, the community knows the officer.

“We stop the problem in many cases before it even happens,” the mayor said. “It’s neighborhood policing. It’s preventative policing.”

select for full details ‘London dungeon’: Victorian-era prison still bloodstained and rat-infested
IT’S infested with vermin and cockroaches, walls and bedsheets are left stained with blood and inmates are locked in their cells for 23 hours a day.
By au news 25 June, 2015

This is what incarceration is like in a Victorian-era London prison that appears stuck in the dark ages.

A shocking report on Pentonville Prison published this week paints a vivid picture of a filthy, overcrowded facility where rubbish is piled outside the wings and dirty showers pose a serious health threat.

“Clearly some areas had not been cleaned for a considerable time and remained dirty for much of the inspection,” read the report. “Prisoners struggled to gain daily access to showers, and to obtain enough clean clothing, cleaning materials and eating utensils.”

The high turnover of the prison, which holds more than 1200 men and admits 100 new prisoners each week, means inmates are forced to share cramped cells designed for one, many of which have broken or missing windows and are covered with graffiti.

Drugs are easily obtainable and violence is rife in Pentonville. Staff veer between “indifferent” and “irresponsible”.

The report is based on an unannounced inspection in February, which came 17 months after chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick questioned whether the prison had a viable future. Yet conditions have only deteriorated further.

Just a quarter of the population was engaged in purposeful activity at any one time, and “acute staff shortages” meant their needs were rarely met. Some were let out of their cells for less than one hour a day, with not even a radio to keep them company

select for full details Police officer accused of dangerous driving tells court he was 'just doing his job'
POLICE officer accused of dangerous driving when he pursued a petrol thief at speeds of up to 80mph told a jury he was only doing what police officers are trained to do which is catch criminals.
By Michael Black 5 June, 2015

Pc Adam Steventon, 39, followed and caught Terence Maugh after he watched him steal petrol from a Tesco petrol station at Skipton.

The Skipton-based officer pursued Maugh in the Vauxhall Vectra for three miles at speeds between 30mph and 80mph along the A629 from Skipton towards Keighley, crossing double white lines and jumping a red light in a coned off 30mph road works.

Maugh smashed head-on into a red Citroen C4, spinning in the road works. The Citroen driver escaped serious injury. Maugh jumped out over a wall only for Pc Steventon to chase him for a quarter of a mile across a field and arrest him.

Pc Steventon booked Maugh in at Skipton Police Station for dangerous driving and making off without payment only to come under a cloud himself because of the crash. He was told in the parade room he could have breached Association of Chief Police Officers guidelines introduced in 2011 which prohibited non traffic officers from engaging in pursuits.

After a police investigation, he was accused of following the Vectra too closely and was charged with dangerous driving on the A629, Keighley and Cononley Road on March 12, 2014.

Taking the witness stand, at Hull Crown Court Pc Steventon, a police officer for 17 years, said he was working the 3pm-11pm shift in a 1.3 Astra with a female special constable when they saw a Vectra pull into the Tesco petrol station and its driver begin to fill up with petrol. He admitted his “police nose” made him suspicious of the poor condition of the car and knew when it mounted the kerb and rapidly sped off the driver had not paid.

“My first thought was: I have just seen a crime and I have to apprehend the offender,” said Pc Steventon. “My mental plan was to follow the vehicle, so that I could notify the traffic officer on duty. I did not think I was doing anything wrong. I just thought I was doing my job. I do not think my driving was dangerous or put others at risk at any time.”

He told the jury how he notified the traffic officer “there was a fail to stop” over the police radio and began following the Vectra, keeping in contact with force control over the radio as he described his location.

“I thought, Andy, the traffic officer was close by,” said Pc Steventon. “We were not pursing, we were just following at the time. Pursuit is getting behind the car, blues on, lights on, using tactics to get it to stop.”

He said he saw the Vectra hit a kerb in a cloud of dust and drove on through the debris. During the next portion of the pursuit the Vectra was 400m in front on a 60mph road. “I was think I was travelling at 60-80mph. I do not think my speed was excessive. It is a long straight road, it out is in open country. I had driven the road hundreds of times.”

In a statement to police, Pc Steventon said he had been given a North Yorkshire Superintendent’s letter of appreciation in 2012 for following a burglar’s van in a patrol car until he was arrested.

Under cross-examination from Crown barrister David Hall PC Steventon admitted he had not been given advanced driver training, but instead had completed a standard two-week police driver training course in 1998 when he first became a police officer

select for full details Merseyside's most wanted jailed AGAIN over multi-million pound drugs plot
Last year Ian Stanton was jailed for 12 years over 400kg cocaine plot - today he was sentenced to 16 years over huge cross-border drugs racket.
By John Siddle 25 June, 2015

Merseyside drugs trafficker who was among the lynchpins of a vast £30m conspiracy was today locked up for the second time in little more than a year.

Ian Stanton, 44, was the ringleader of the Liverpool end of a drugs racket which saw huge amounts of super-strength cocaine and amphetamine shipped to the North East.

The former motor trader recruited a network of henchmen to do his dirty work, including his 23-year-old son Shaun, when he fled to Spain to evade capture over a separate £120m cocaine plot.

The fugitive was named as Merseyside’s most wanted before being captured and jailed for 12 years last April.

Today, Stanton was locked up for 16 years. His right-hand-man, Liverpool-based Keith Watson, 38, was handed 15 years and four months.

Both admitted counts of supplying Class A and Class B drugs over a two year period.

Police pulled together evidence from 20 “key dates” - which included seven drugs seizures of high purity cocaine and amphetamine.

An sophisticated amphetamine factory was also uncovered in Hornby Boulevard, Bootle.

Judge Peter Armstrong, sitting at Teesside Crown Court, called the drugs haul a “snapshot” of dealing on a “significant and commercial scale”.

If the amphetamine was sold at street purity of 1% at £10, the total amount would have been worth more than £8m.

But the true scale of other deals likely to have taken place could have seen Teesside immersed with tens of kilos more of drugs, worth many millions of pounds.

National Crime Agency Branch Commander David Norris said: “What we uncovered here was a number of inter-connected organised criminal groups working together to source drugs, sell them, and then launder the profits.

“They were extremely well organised, transporting large quantities of drugs across the country with large sums of cash going in return. Some members of this network had spent virtually their whole lives trying to stay under the radar of law enforcement.

select for full details Humberston school children's anger at parents for bad parking
WORRIED schoolchildren have launched an urgent appeal to parents to watch where they park.
By Grimsby Telegraph 24 June, 2015

Pupils on the school council at the Humberston CofE Primary School have teamed up with a beat PCSO to remind motorists that irresponsible parking at the school site in Church Lane can be dangerous.

Members of the school council have outlined problem parking as one of the main issues facing students.

The council have teamed up with teachers to notify parents through regular newsletters and have in the past sent reminder texts.

Pupil and member of the school council Zac Nearney, 11, said parents parking outside the school is a daily problem.

"It's dangerous around the school area because you get young children who can't see because of the parked cars," he said.

"All we want is for our school to be safe and we don't want anyone to be injured.

"Sometimes we even get three cars parked at the gates of the school where cars are not supposed to be."

Fellow school councillor Louis Boulter, 11, said: "With there being big cars parked near the school and little children it can be quite traumatising for them.

"The road signs are there for a reason so we don't want them to be ignored by parents."

Teachers and school councillors gathered at the gates of the Church Lane school displaying pictures of the road signs which are already in place to remind motorists, such as 20mph and "no parking".

PCSO Steve Sutton, beat officer for the New Waltham and Humberston area, has been assisting the pupils and the school in getting their message across.

"The children have identified that parking near the school in the morning and in the afternoon is a major problem," he said.

"I have been out with them today to observe so I can see what dangers they are facing.

"Of course most schools in the area have problems like this, but the pupils here have identified this as a particular problem."

He added: "What happens is parents are rushing in the morning and instead of parking a distance away and walking to school with their child, they are parking right at the gates.

"I've been really impressed with the maturity of the children on the school council.

"They have an enthusiasm and an understanding of protecting others."

Boy racers get warning after flouting injunction
The first drivers to flout an injunction order which cracks down on anti-social "car cruising" near Hucknall have been served with warnings by police.
By Nottingham Post 26 Jun, 2015

in January, Nottinghamshire County Council, with the support of Nottinghamshire Police and other community safety partners, secured an injunction order to ban boy racers at three locations in the county.

These were an area just off junction 27 of the motorway and at Victoria and Chilwell Retail Parks. More than 50 drivers were stopped by police during a crackdown earlier this month. Most were reminded about the injunction and no further action was taken.

But motorists who were driving anti-socially were issued with first breach injunctions – a final warning that they will face charges if found to be in breach again. Banned behaviour includes racing, riding in a convoy, driving at excessive speeds and performing 'stunts'.

select for full details All-terrain vehicle unveiled for the Thames Valley Police
OFFICERS at Thames Valley Police are the first in the country to use this rugged all-terrain vehicle to tackle rural crime.
By Oxford Mail 26 Jun, 2015

the high-performance Kubota RTVX900, which costs about £10,000, is designed to transport officers to areas that were previously impossible to access in the fight against the rural crime in the UK.

Prime Minister and MP for Witney David Cameron backed the force’s latest move to tackle rural crime.

He said: “In rural areas like my constituency our forces face unique challenges and this vehicle will be a great asset to Thames Valley Police as they focus their attention on tackling rural crime.”

Kubota is based in Thame and the vehicle with a top speed of 47mph is powered by a 21.6HP, three-cylinder liquid-cooled diesel engine.

The new addition to the force was revealed yesterday at Carterton police station in Burford Road.

Supt Kath Lowe, Local Police Area Commander of Cherwell and West Oxfordshire, said: “Crime in rural parts of Oxfordshire can range from theft of agricultural and construction plant and machinery, to wildlife crimes like hare coursing and poaching, or the theft of diesel and saddle stones.

“A significant number of crimes we deal with out of Carterton are in rural areas.

“However, a serious issue for us has been getting to crime scenes.”

select for full details Aston drug dealers ploughed car into a tree during crack and heroin run
Harees Mahmood, 18, and Mohammed Ismaeel, 20 were on drug run when car ploughed into tree in Erdington.
By Matt Lloyd 23 June, 2015

a drug dealer and his driver have been jailed after their car ploughed into a tree while on a run.

Police found heroin and crack cocaine in the vehicle when Harees Mahmood and Mohammed Ismaeel crashed on Gypsy Lane in Erdington.

Dealer Mahmood was left needing hospital treatment while Ismaeel fled the scene at 3.15pm on September 19.

In the wreck of the car police found 29 wraps of heroin worth £290 and 38 wraps of crack cocaine worth £380.

Too ill to be arrested and interviewed, Mahmood was treated in hospital and released.

But when police called at his Emscote Road home in Aston on October 2 they found a further 20 wraps of crack cocaine and 14 wraps of heroin.

A pair of digital scales and two wads of cash, one of £1,335 and another of £265 were also found.

Mahmood, who has previous convictions for possession of crack and heroin, pleaded guilty to four charges of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.

Described as playing a significant role, he was sent to a young offenders institution for 30 months.

Ismaeel, of Albert Road, Aston, who was arrested later in October, pleaded guilty to two charges of possession of Class A with intent.

However he has since been jailed for three-years-ten-months after being convicted of wounding and dangerous driving.

He was ordered to serve an extra 12 months on top of that sentence.

Jailing the pair at Birmingham Crown Court, His Honour Judge Paul Farrer QC said: “Mahmood you were released from hospital and went home, not having been arrested.

“A couple of weeks after police came to your family address to arrest you and found further drugs in your possession.

“You were not on bail but this second finding shows a real degree of persistence and is a substantial aggravating feature.

“I accept you are immature and have problems in your background, suffer from ADHD and had a difficult upbringing.

“That said, these offences are so serious they can only be met with a sentence of immediate detention.”

Ismaeel was told he played a lesser role, that of a driver, and that his sentence must be seen in relation to the three years-and-ten months he was already serving.

Tarlowchan Dubb, defending Mahmood, said a pre-sentence report on the teen made appalling reading.

select for full details Gateshead heroin gang rammed police cars and ran over detective during drugs bust
Members of a gang led by recently released cocaine kingpin David Charlton are today behind bars after a dramatic drugs bust in a West Denton car park
By Rob Kennedy 11 June, 2015

a drugs boss was caught running a heroin racket weeks after being released from prison for a cocaine plot - despite a dramatic bid for freedom when his gang rammed police cars and ran over a detective.

David Charlton was locked up for eight years in 2009 after operating a cocaine factory with his dad from their bathroom.

But after being let out of prison after serving half his sentence, Charlton was straight back to his old ways, this time with the help of his brother.

He was the kingpin in a Gateshead gang who were importing large amounts of high purity heroin into the North East from Huddersfield, in West Yorkshire.

Police were onto them and closed in to bust the gang as they met to do a deal in the car park at West Denton Retail Park, in Newcastle, near McDonalds and Go Outdoors.

But one of Charlton’s henchman rammed through police cars which had blocked them in, dragging another member of the gang along then flinging him to the ground as he desperately tried to get in the passenger door of the speeding car.

The driver for the Huddersfield group then followed through the blockade and ran over a detective, carrying him on the bonnet then throwing him to the ground.

Both cars were then involved in high speed crashes and police recovered a kilo of heroin and £32,930 in cash.

Now Charlton has been jailed for eight years and eight months as the gang were locked up for a total of more than 30 years after admitting the heroin conspiracy at Newcastle Crown Court.

Sentencing them, Judge Robert Adams told Charlton: “It’s fairly clear you were undeterred by the previous sentence and speedily returned to your criminal activities almost as soon as you could after your release.

select for full details Newbiggin burglar with 176 previous convictions targeted golf club steward as she slept
Nigel Gaffney has been jailed for breaking into the home of a woman at a golf club in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea leaving his victim terrified.
By Rob Kennedy 4 June, 2015

A golf club steward was burgled in the dead of night by a serial offender who has 176 previous convictions spanning four decades.

The woman was alone in her bed on the grounds of the Northumberland golf course when Nigel Gaffney broke in.

Gaffney lives just 400m from the club in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea and keeps horses in a nearby field, a court heard.

He stood on a bucket to climb through a window of the woman’s home and stole her car and house keys as she slept.

The woman was woken by the sound of Gaffney’s waterproofs rustling in her house then heard him starting up her Renault Clio.

The 47-year-old burglar, who started offending at the age of 11, was caught after leaving behind fingerprints on the living room window.

As Gaffney was jailed, the woman told how the break-in has left her terrified.

She told Newcastle Crown Court: “It’s really scared me and even made me think about leaving my job.

“I’m very afraid to stay in the premises alone because I was sleeping alone in bed when he broke in.

“I don’t know what may have happened if he had come into the bedroom.”

The woman had fallen asleep around 1am on April 26 and around an hour later became aware of the sound of a waterproof jacket sliding on walls.

Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw said: “She became aware her bedroom door was open and could see a window was open in the living room.

“The defendant had placed a bucket under the window and opened it fully and gained access.

“She was then aware of her car being taken from outside. As the car started up, her CD player began to play.”

The victim reported the burglary to police, who spotted the stolen Renault near Lynemouth at 5.45am.

Gaffney abandoned the car behind a skip at Alcan and fled.

He was arrested later and initially denied responsibility until he was confronted with the fingerprint evidence.

The 47-year-old, of Front Street, Newbiggin, who was already on a suspended prison sentence for a burglary in 2013, was jailed for two years after admitting the latest break-in and breaching the earlier sentence.

Mr Recorder Preston told him: “People feel violated and that their security is put in jeopardy when they know someone has invaded their home.

“They feel insecure and vulnerable for months, sometimes years, to follow.

“To have been woken during the burglary, as this lady was, must have been particularly terrifying.”

The court heard Gaffney’s 176 previous convictions go back as far as 1980.

David Comb, defending, said: “He first appeared before the courts at the age of 11, not long after his father left and his mother died shortly afterwards.

“He has been addicted to opiates since his late 20s and at the time of this offence he was quite severely in the grip of heroin addiction.

select for full details Days of having cops on street corners are gone:
How police chief announced cuts in patrols
By Chris Riches 24 June, 2015

Greater Manchester Police decided it was a waste to station dedicated officers in Bolton town centre on Friday nights "just in case something happens".

Instead Chief Supt Shaun Donnellan, Bolton's most senior officer, said they will tackle night crime with a rapid response unit.

He argued the notion of having bobbies "on street corners" as a visible deterrent to crime had no place in today's policing.

Mr Donnellan said: "In this day and age we cannot sustain people to be there just in case. We have got a far stronger handle on the town centre than we have ever had. We can only react to what we know about, and if there is a need for us to be out on Friday nights we will be there in whatever numbers are required. The days of having cops on street corners just in case are gone."

But locals disagree. They said the sight of a "bobby on the beat" on Friday nights was an age-old, reliable deterrent.

Engineering student Simon Dawson, 38, said: "Bolton does feel safe on Friday nights but that was partly due to being able to spot a policeman in the square.

"It's obvious isn't it - if thugs of crooks know a policeman is a 10-minute drive away they know they can get away with committing crime."

select for full details Retired Eddie McPhie, 70, said: "I think its outrageous they have taken away the police on a Friday night.

"It's like taking a hospital away and saying 'If you are sick we will get to you'.

"No, actually I feel safer knowing there is a hospital for me to go to if I need it."

Police chiefs say the decision to withdraw the unit, usually based in a van in Nelson Square, was made after a recent drop in crime.

The team that has now been removed from the Friday night duty was working under Operation BAND - Bolton Against Night-time Disorder.

BAND will continue, however, and a unit will stay in the town centre on Saturday nights, when police say they are busier.

Ch Supt Donnellan said: "The need for officers in the town centre on Fridays is just not there.

"The demand in terms of incidents reported to us on Friday night has dropped below the point where we need a dedicated patrol.

"We even had some feedback which told us that the response was heavy-handed and it would put people off coming to Bolton.

"We have got CCTV which can spot trouble starting, so we can probably be there before anybody can put a call in to us.

select for full details Haroon Ahmed: Criminal has been arrested, police say
Mr Ahmed had escaped HMP Dovegate prison by walking out with visitors.
By Chris Green 1 June, 2015

A robber who escaped from a high-security prison run by the outsourcing giant Serco by walking out with his visitors has been re-arrested, police have said.

Haroon Ahmed said he was escorted out of HMP Dovegate in Staffordshire last week after jokingly asking a prison officer: “Is it OK for me to go home?” The 26-year-old had been in jail since 2008, after being convicted of robbing a garage armed with a knife.

Over the weekend he claimed to have fled to Marbella on the Costa del Sol, where he sought legal advice. But on Monday morning he was arrested at an address in Nottingham – raising doubts over whether he had ever left the country at all.

Before he was arrested, Ahmed told reporters that he had “wanted to test out the security” of the Category B prison and that his brazen escape had not been planned. “I thought ‘I’ll give it a go’– and walked out of the door. That’s how easy it was. I just kept on walking,” he told the Sunday Mirror.

“I just got up when the visit was ending. I said to a prison officer ‘Is it OK for me to go home?’ as a joke. I just walked off with all the visitors and went through the security procedures. A prison officer escorted me to the gate,” he added in a separate interview with Sky News.

Ahmed is being held in a police station in Burton upon Trent. It is understood that he will not be returned to Dovegate but will instead be “upgraded” to a Category A prison, where only the most serious offenders who pose an immediate threat to the public are held.

Staffordshire Police said in a statement: “Haroon Ahmed, 26, who is from the Derby area, was arrested this morning in the Nottingham area and has been taken into custody. Detectives have been searching for Ahmed since his escape from HMP Dovegate prison last Wednesday where he was serving a sentence for robbery.

“We would like to thank the public and media for their help in sharing our appeals to find Ahmed. Our social media posts reached just under 300,000 people.”

Sources close to the prison, which has been run by the private company Serco since it opened in 2001, said Ahmed had managed to get away unnoticed during visiting hours despite being on the prison’s “watch list”. The jail currently houses more than 900 male inmates, most

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said the manner of Ahmed’s escape was “bizarre” but may be explained by Dovegate’s high staff turnover, which often caused confusion.

“This is why you need ‘jailcraft’ – knowing how things work,” she said. “You do need experience and expertise. I’ve never heard of anybody just walking out. I’ve heard of helicopters and people tunnelling, but just walking out of a closed prison is extraordinary.”

His escape came just hours before the publication of a report by the Government’s prisons watchdog which raised concerns about “very tight” staffing levels at Dovegate. Inspectors said that, on some occasions, entire wings of the prison had been left unstaffed while inmates were out of their cells.

On Thursday police arrested his brother, Majeed Ahmed, 25, of Derby, and have charged him with assisting a prisoner in escaping from prison. He has been released on bail to appear before magistrates on 25 June.

A Serco spokesman said it was in the process of investigating the incident and would not be commenting further. Michael Guy, the firm’s director at HMP Dovegate, previously said the escape was being treated “extremely seriously”.

Jenny Chapman, Labour’s shadow Minister for Prisons, said: “The escape of this prisoner was farcical. If it featured in an episode of Porridge we'd be calling it far-fetched. Sadly, this episode is not funny, and has exposed serious failings in security. A violent man has made a laughing stock of our prison system.”

N E W     Y O R K
select for full details Silk Road founder jailed for life and ordered to forfeit £120 million
The man who created the underground drug-selling website Silk Road has been jailed for life.
By Jimmy Nsubuga 30 May, 2015

Ross Ulbricht, 31, was sentenced in New York yesterday for orchestrating a scheme that enabled more than $200 million (£130m) of anonymous online drug sales using the digital currency bitcoin. A federal jury in February found him guilty of charges including distributing drugs through the Internet and conspiring to commit computer hacking and money laundering.

During sentencing US District Judge Katherine Forrest cited six deaths from drugs bought on Ross Ulbricht’s site and five people he tried to have killed.

select for full details ‘It was a carefully planned life’s work. It was your opus,’ she said.

‘You are no better a person than any other drug dealer.’

The sentence also included an order to forfeit the $183.9m (£120m) fortune Ulbricht had amassed.

Ulbricht’s 2013 arrest shut down what prosecutors described as an unprecedented one-stop online shopping mall where the supply of drugs was virtually limitless. Outside of court Ulbricht’s lawyer Joshua Dratel promised an appeal, calling the sentence unreasonable, unjust and unfair.

Ross Ulbricht, the man behind illegal online drug emporium Silk Road, was sentenced to life in prison on Friday by Judge Katherine Forrest of Manhattan’s US district court for the southern district of New York.

by Sam Thielman on 29 May, 2015
Before the sentencing the parents of the victims of drug overdoses addressed the court. Ulbricht broke down in tears. “I never wanted that to happen,” he said. “I wish I could go back and convince myself to take a different path.”

The 31-year-old physics graduate and former boy scout was handed five sentences: one for 20 years, one for 15 years, one for five and two for life. All are to be served concurrently with no chance of parole.

The judge handed out the most severe sentence available to the man US authorities identified as “Dread Pirate Roberts”, pseudonymous founder of an Amazon-like online market for illegal goods.

“The stated purpose [of Silk Road] was to be beyond the law. In the world you created over time, democracy didn’t exist. You were captain of the ship, the dread Pirate Roberts. You made your own laws,” Forrest told Ulbricht as she read the sentence.

Ulbrict had begged the judge to “leave a light at the end of the tunnel” ahead of his sentence. “I know you must take away my middle years, but please leave me my old age,” he wrote to Forrest this week. Prosecutors wrote Forrest a 16-page letter requesting the opposite: “[A] lengthy sentence, one substantially above the mandatory minimum is appropriate in this case.”

“I’ve changed. I’m not the man I was when I created Silk Road. I’m a little wiser. A little more mature and much more humble,” Ulbricht pled in court.

Forrest rejected arguments that Silk Road had reduced harm among drug users by taking illegal activities off the street. “No drug dealer from the Bronx has ever made this argument to the court. It’s a privileged argument and it’s an argument made by one of the privileged,” she said.

Silk Road was once the largest “dark web” marketplace for illegal drugs and other services. In March 2013 the secret site listed 10,000 items for sale, 7,000 of which were drugs including cannabis, MDMA and heroin. Prosecutors said Silk Road had generated nearly $213.9m (£140m) in sales and $13.2m in commissions before police shut it down.

Ulbricht was convicted in February after a four-week trial on all seven counts, from selling narcotics and money laundering to maintaining an “ongoing criminal enterprise”, a charge usually reserved for mob kingpins. Prosecutors said that he had gone so far as to solicit six murders for hire, although no charges were ever brought.

Throughout the trial, the defense suggested that Ulbricht was the victim of a complex hacking attack that left him looking like the fall guy. Given the evidence presented against Ulbricht, the pitch proved a hard sell to the jury.

The Ripper hoax that haunted West Yorkshire
Peter Sutcliffe claimed three more victims as police hunted for the Ripper in Sunderland.
By Grant Woodward 23 Jun, 2015

How a new novel seeks to silence ‘Wearside Jack’ forever

Delivered in a thick North East accent, they were words that sent a chill through the heart of West Yorkshire. Bragging about his murderous exploits, the Yorkshire Ripper taunted the police force he continued to elude.

Blacklock’s compelling new novel I’m Jack, his first, tells the story of the owner of that disembodied voice, the man quickly dubbed ‘Wearside Jack’ by the tabloids.

He was not, of course, the real Ripper. While George Oldfield was tying himself in knots with his wild goose chase in Sunderland, 80 miles away in West Yorkshire, Peter Sutcliffe carried on killing.

Quizzed and freed because his accent did not match that on the tape, Sutcliffe would claim three further victims before eventually being caught. Those final murders and the sense that the hoaxer had proved a fatal distraction help explain why the mystery of Wearside Jack endured even as the real killer languished in Broadmoor.

select for full details Good Samaritan grabs his camera
thwarts gang trying to steal his neighbour's motorbike
By Rachel Blundy 24 Jun, 2015

a Good Samaritan has told of the moment he thwarted a motorbike gang who tried to steal his neighbour's motorcycle. the man, who lives in a quiet mews in Streatham, spotted the trio on two motorbikes outside his home this morning.

He began taking photographs of the group as they eyed up his neighbour's motorcycle, which was parked opposite his kitchen window.

But they sped away when they noticed him taking pictures just after 6.30am today.

One biker is reported to have returned moments later and threatened the witness, saying; "We know where you live".

When the man replied that he had photographs of the group's licence plates, the biker is said to have denied that the bikes belonged to them, before riding away. Police are now hunting for the gang over several attempted thefts in the area, according to reports.

The told the Standard: "With hindsight it might have been reckless of me to take photographs. But I did not feel threatened by them. It felt like a hollow threat. They did not seem like they meant it."

Describing the incident, he said: "I went into my kitchen at about 6.30am and looked out of the window to see them standing outside.

"They had bike helmets on and were looking very suspicious. One of them was looking at a bike and tapped it to see if it had an alarm. I took a photograph and as soon as they saw me they stopped what they were doing. All of them drove off.

"Then one of them came back and threatened me. He said; "We know where you live". And I said I have photographs of you and your number plates. He replied that they weren't their bikes. Then he rode off."

He continued: "When the police arrived, they said someone had reported the same gang for trying to steal a car before."

a news report from   I R E L A N D
select for full details Prison service chief stresses import of rehabilitation
Prison officers’ conference told a ‘humane service’ is about rebuilding broken people.
By Conor Lally 9 May, 2015

The role of the prison system is to “build up” and “bring back” criminals by treating them with humanity, the head of the Irish Prison Service has said.

Michael Donnellan said while some luxuries extended to prisoners might seem too liberal, the prison service must try to get through to “angry” criminals, including those with a violent record in prison.

“To crush people more, in my experience, doesn’t really work. It makes people more angry. What you’ve got to try to do is build people up so we can have a safer society.”

He said the courts sentenced criminals to imprisonment as a punishment for their crimes. The prison service had no role in further punishing them.

“A humane prison service is about trying to take people who are broken and build them back up again,” he said.

“[But] no level of violence is tolerable. I’m very clear about that . . . we take all necessary steps including criminal convictions.”

Mr Donnellan made his comments in the closing session of the Prison Officers’ Association annual conference in Dromoland, Co Clare, after his management style had been strongly criticised by officers.

They have said violent prisoners, some who had attacked staff more than 100 times, had continued to enjoy rewards, days after stabbing officers.

The association said one prisoner who stabbed two officers in the head in Mountjoy last month was given €65 for his birthday nine days later and bought cake and fizzy drinks to mark the day. They claimed another inmate involved in over 200 disciplinary incidents, including attacks on staff, had been supplied with a fish tank to pacify him and plans were being considered for a small garden he could use. This was despite his record in prison being so violent that staff dealing with him were dressing in riot gear.

select for full details PCSO takes on bike rides to help unwanted dogs
HARD-WORKING PCSO Steve Sherratt is well known for serving the people of Biddulph with distinction – and doesn't stop there.
By The Sentinel 8 June, 2015

the 47-year-old is also an active fund-raiser for the Dogs Trust, which helps to re-home abandoned animals and raise awareness over caring for pooches.

Not only does Steve, who ran a fund-raising stall at Biddulph's Sainsbury's supermarket at the weekend, back the charity – he has even adopted a dog.

Four years ago he welcomed Jack Russell, Rex, into his home and continues to help animals just like him.

And Steve wants to help more animals through fund-raising challenges including a ride through Switzerland and a run from Vale Park to Shrewsbury.

The dedication to man and animal alike has earned him a nomination as a Charity Champion in The Sentinel's Our Heroes awards.

Steve, who has raised hundreds of pounds for the charity, hopes the nomination could help to provide a boost for the Dogs Trust across Staffordshire and raise awareness about animal ownership issues.

He said: "I first got involved with them four years ago when I saw an advert on the telly about sponsoring a dog, and it spiralled from there.

"I've cycled the Coast to Coast course across England, and I've cycled along Hadrian's Wall, so this year I wanted to step it up a bit, which is why I'll be going through Switzerland.

"The Dogs Trust is a charity that's close to my heart, and the support I've had from the people of Biddulph has been fantastic.

"The backing I've had from everyone has been brilliant, hopefully this nomination can help me raise as much money and awareness as possible."

Steff Featherstone, duty manager at Sainsbury's in Biddulph, said the store was happy to help Steve with his fundraising project.

select for full details Vandalised Derbyshire bridge is given new lease of life by students
PCSOs Emily Stanesby and Jenny Lorimer worked alongside the parish council to secure funding for the bridge to be revamped
By Derby Telegraph 9 May, 2015

The bridge, between Bridge Street and North Street, was heavily vandalised and covered in graffiti.

Year 10 art and design students from Aldercar Community Language College helped graffiti artist Peter Barber to think up new artwork for the bridge, with inspiration coming from trains, boats, trees, fruit and blossom. Pupils also wanted to acknowledge a former factory in the town, which manufactured parachutes for the war effort, by using camouflage in the design

PCSO Stanesby said: "The bridge was in desperate need of regeneration. It wasn't pleasant for anyone using it. Along with other agencies, we hope to have improved the general appearance of the bridge, which is used by a vast number of people every day.

"I am pleased students have enjoyed the experience of helping to design new artwork for it and we hope this may help to deter any future vandalism and crime."

select for full details New PCSO recruits start working the beat in East Staffordshire
The latest 14 recruits took a moment out of their busy classroom time to have a quick photo.
By Burton Mail 25 May, 2015

They are, pictured from left, Matthew Ryles – joining Stoke Central, Kimberley Trotter – joining Stoke Central, Andrew Bagnall – joining Stoke Central, Alexandra Rathbone – joining South Staffordshire, Mick Stevenson – joining Newcastle-under-Lyme, Gareth Ryder – joining Newcastle-under-Lyme, Joshua Carter – joining Newcastle-under-Lyme, Kelly Allen, Leon Wordon and Joseph Benson – joining Stoke Central, Samantha Poulson – joining Newcastle-under-Lyme, Megan McAndrew – joining South Staffordshire, Tarra Kelly – joining Stoke North, and Samuel Russell – joining Lichfield District.

Most PCSOs work within a Safer Neighbourhood (SNT) or Neighbourhood Policing team (NPT) that contains PCSOs, special constables and beat managers, who are police constables.

These teams are led by a neighbourhood sergeant or inspector.

Day-to-day duties usually include high visibility patrolling, tackling anti-social behaviour, dealing with minor offences, gathering criminal intelligence and supporting frontline policing.

Short videos which highlight the valuable and varied role of PCSOs are available by visiting YouTube.

select for full details
Sign up to keep your bike safe in Oxford

CYCLISTS in Oxford have been getting their bikes registered with the police so they are easier to trace if they are stolen.
By Oxford Times 20 June, 2015

Thames Valley Police held an event in Broad Street on Wednesday and Thursday to raise awareness of bike crime.

About 200 cyclists registered their bike frame number with the police, making it easier for the machine to be traced if it is stolen.

PCSO Shaun Jeffrey, pictured talking to 16-year-old Max Bond, said: “We want to encourage as many people as possible to use the service. This is part of ongoing work against bike crime.”

About 200 cyclists had their bikes registered over two days.

Bike Register users can also log in to the scheme’s website to view their details and upload other information including pictures of their bike.

The next Bike Register event is expected to be in October.

select for full details Amazing pictures of 1950s Wirral taken during Ealing film shoot
check out the Liverpool Echo's picture gallery.
By Abigail O'Leary 21 June, 2015

A 1950s film which was shot in Wirral has been re-released this month after being digitally cleaned up by computer experts.

The Magnet, which was one of the famous Ealing Studios’ comedies, shows Wirral in all its post-war glory.

The black and white film gave James Fox his first starring role at the age of 11 and told the story of a young boy from Wallasey who deceptively obtains a prized magnet leading to a series of confusing events.

Now pictures released by StudioCanal Films Ltd, show New Brighton beach and views across the Mersey as it looked 65 years ago.

Ealing Studios’ comedy series featured more than 150 films made over a three decade period, and some showed how the country once blighted by war was slowly rebuilding itself from the ashes.

But many, like The Magnet, also showed the antiquated class system crumbling under post-war spirit.

Filmed in New Brighton, many viewers picked up on the lack of Liverpool accents in the film, which only seemed to be used intermittently.

Now fans will get the chance to watch the digitally enhanced version of the film and peer back to Wirral in the earluy post war period.

select for full details Shoppers given top crime safety advice in Nuneaton
VISITORS to a supermarket in Nuneaton were given the chance to find out more about staying safe in the community at an event.
By Nuneaton News 27 Mar, 2015

Police Community Support Officers (PCSO) from Warwickshire Police's Safer Neighbourhood Team were out in force at Nuneaton's Sainsbury's branch giving important safety advice to passers-by.

People could find out more about keeping safe while out and about as well as keeping possessions away from thieves.

There was also a range of freebies to take home including purse clips to prevent purses being stolen from handbags, car stickers and more.

The event was set up in connection with Operation Protect, the largest operation to be delivered across Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police.

During the operation there will be a number of events being held by Nuneaton SNTs promoting community safety and crime prevention. For more information visit


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