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Motorists who drive too fast in the West Mercia region can now opt to take part in a speed awareness course instead of having points on their licence. West Mercia Police has decided to offer the alternative to some drivers from Friday, 1st May and the speed awareness courses will be run by Telford Training Consultants (TTC).

The course currently operates in 20 forces across the UK and motorists receive a letter to give them the option to attend a course rather than pay a fine and receive penalty points on their licence. Drivers are asked to pay 60 for the half day course and research has shown that drivers who are retrained are less likely to re-offend than those who are prosecuted.

Chief Inspector Adam Thomas, from West Mercia Police's Safety and Justice department, said, 'Road safety is an important priority for police in West Mercia and we are committed to reducing the number of road casualties. Excessive speed is a factor in a large number of road traffic collisions. However we do appreciate that some drivers may suffer a lapse of attention rather than deliberately breaking the law. Offering a speed awareness course which explores theory works remarkably well and gives attendees the chance to re-acquaint themselves with the rules of the road.'

Drivers only have the choice to opt for a speed awareness course on one occasion. TTC Director Malcolm Jones said, 'People don't enjoy being caught speeding but after they attend a speed awareness course they do appreciate that there is a very good reason behind sticking to speed limits and it is to save lives.'

For more information please visit the TTC website www.ttc-uk.com


Six Herefordshire primary schools have been invited to Police HQ at Hindlip to compete in a force-wide tag rugby tournament on 20th May 2009. Since September last year, West Mercia Police have been busy developing a tag rugby initiative, in partnership with the RFU and Child Victims of Crime, the children's charity that the police support. The initiative is aimed at bringing Local Policing teams closer to the young people in their communities and to also deliver an important personal safety message to a key age group during their final year of primary school.

In Herefordshire, it has been the responsibility of the Youth Inclusion team, PC Vicky Turner, CSO Adam Michniok and CSO Rosina Cathcart, to introduce and develop this initiative. As a result of our efforts, and those of Local Policing teams across the Division, there are currently a total of 16 Local Police Officers and Community Support Officers trained to deliver introductory sessions of tag rugby to young people as well as those important personal safety messages.

PC Vicky Turner explained, 'A key part of this initiative has been to identify six tag rugby teams from six different primary schools from Herefordshire to go to HQ for a competition with schools from the other police areas of West Mercia. This all forms part of the national Tag to Twickenham competition for primary schools in England. We have managed to do this by working in partnership with local schools, School Sports Partnerships and the locally based community rugby clubs. The Youth Inclusion team and officers from some Local Policing teams have attended and participated in three local tag tournaments. Six schools have been identified from the county,' she said, 'and will be invited to the tournament at HQ on 20th May.'

The six schools are: Kingsland Primary and Kington Primary from North Herefordshire, Eastnor Primary and Madley Primary from South Herefordshire and Our Lady's RC Primary and St Francis Xavier's RC Primary from Hereford City. PC Turner continued, 'This has been a high profile involvement for us here in Herefordshire Division. Nearly 1000 school children have taken part in these three competitions, accompanied by teachers, head teachers and parent helpers. There was a positive response to the presence and participation of the police at these competitions. This really is policing in a different and unique way, reinterpreting ways of how we police our local communities.'

14 Herefordshire and 4 Gloucestershire schools will be taking part in the Ledbury area tournament, with a total of 30 teams.


Ledbury Town Council, along with Herefordshire Council are working together to ensure that town's popular Heritage Centre will be reopened to the public from Saturday, 23rd May. The move follows a well attended public meeting at the Burgage Hall where forty people agreed to act as volunteers at the Heritage Centre. Mayor of Ledbury, Councillor Keith Francis, has agreed to form a rota that will allow the centre to open from Saturday, 23rd May and it will be open every day, from 10.30am until 4.30pm, until the end of October.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw of Herefordshire Council said, 'I am very pleased that the community of Ledbury, who have spoken so passionately about the importance of the building and its attractions for visitors and tourists, is able to realize the reopening of this important attraction. Working in partnership with Ledbury Town Council, we hope the volunteers and visitors will be safe, supported and able to enjoy a unique experience visiting all the sites in Church Lane. To ensure this we now need to get the volunteers fully trained and will be holding a special day for this on Thursday, 14th May from 10am until 4pm.

There will be two sessions, one starting at 10am and one at 2pm. Anyone else interested in volunteering is also welcome to attend either of these sessions or else contact the town council.'


The stolen postbox.

Herefordshire Police have issued a warning to residents of villages around the county to be on their guard for mail box thieves.

Since the beginning of April 2009, there have been a number of thefts of red Royal Mail post boxes from village locations such as Coddington and Colwall, near Ledbury, as well as Hampton Charles and Burford, near Tenbury Wells.

The boxes are the cast iron types attached to telegraph poles and other posts in remote locations and are valued at around 60 each. Some are very old and bear the VR mark from Queen Victoria's reign.

Police are uncertain at this stage whether the mail boxes are being stolen for their scrap value or for the antique / collectibles market. Either way, they urge residents of villages around the county that possess Royal Mail post boxes to keep a close eye on them and to report any suspicious activity concerning them to police immediately by phoning 0300 333 3000, or 999 in an emergency.

Anybody with information on the current thefts should contact the Public Service Desk at Hereford Police Station on 0300 333 3000 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.


Hereford Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward who saw a road traffic collision in which an elderly cyclist sustained a suspected broken arm.

The collision occurred on the A465 at the Tesco's roundabout at Belmont, Hereford at 7.30am on Friday, 8th May 2009. The female cyclist was travelling into Hereford along the A465 when she and a silver Vauxhall Zafira coming out of Northholme Road collided. The cyclist was treated in Hereford County Hospital for a suspected broken arm.

Police would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the collision. Anybody with information that can help should contact PC Richard Pearce of the Roads Policing Team at Hereford Police Station on 0300 333 3000.


Hereford Police are appealing for witnesses to an assault during the May Fair in Hereford to come forward. The incident happened on Tuesday, 5th May 2009 at around 6.30pm in the King Street / Bridge Street area of Hereford, when a young male was head-butted by another male youth and was treated for facial injuries.

The assailant is described as white, 17 years old with short, blond hair, of chubby build with a round face. He was wearing a white T-shirt with a multi-coloured pattern on it and was accompanied by three other males and a female. Police say there were lots of people in the vicinity at the time and are confident that several people must have seen what occurred.

Anyone with information should contact the Public Service Desk at Hereford Police Station on 0300 333 3000 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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