place for information on Ross-on-Wye and the Wye Valley
FROM ROSS-ON-WYE AND AROUND THE REGION
STROKE CLUB GET HELP FOR CHRISTMAS EXTRAS FROM ROSS LIONS
purpose of the Stroke Club is to introduce people who have
had strokes to others in a similar situation and to offer
social activities and stroke related information. Because
of their incapacity caused by strokes, many sufferers are
not too well off financially and the aim of the club is
to improve their standard of life and give them something
to look forward to, at least once a month. This is where
the Ross Lions Club came into the picture.
Ross Stroke Club Organizer, Jean Harrison, wrote to the
Lions outlining the situation of the 32 members of the Ross
Club and asked if they could provide some funds to supplement
what they could raise themselves for their social activities.
Jean did not ask for much, but as it was coming up for Christmas
she said that she would like to put on something special
for the club members. To assist the Lions gave a donation
of £121 to provide some extras at their Christmas lunch
and also pay for some entertainment.
Martin King and Bernard Fowkes presented Jean and Mike Harrison
with the money and a wish that everyone would have a marvellous
time. Lion Martin said it was a pleasure to give assistance
to the Stroke Club and said that perhaps they could help
out in some small way in the future. The Lions were aware
that they occasionally bought equipment for their members
when they could not afford it themselves.
the cheque Jean thanked the Lions for their generosity and
wishes. She said how her members would appreciate what the
Lions had done for them.
Bernard Fowkes with Stroke Club Secretary with event organizer,
ROSS TOWN COUNCIL DREAMING OF A GREEN CHRISTMAS
Christmas will be even better in Ross-on-Wye this year,
as Ross Town Council celebrates the installation of new
energy efficient Christmas lighting in the town with fun-filled
events that can also help householders and businesses save
year's Christmas lights have been designed to be different!
Ross-on-Wye will celebrate Christmas 2009 with a beautiful
and innovative light display that is also highly energy
efficient, reducing pollution and saving money at the same
time. It is hoped that this will generate lots of positive
publicity to encourage shoppers into the Town to help with
the celebrations. The Council is very encouraged by the
initiative taken by the Association of Ross Traders to decorate
many of the shops in the Town with energy efficient lights.
celebrations start on Saturday, 28th November at the Market
the afternoon the High Street will be closed to traffic
so that charity and community groups can set up stalls.
As well as activities for children, there will be free energy
advice available from Marches Energy Agency, who will also
be giving out free light bulbs to those who visit their
stand. You will also have the opportunity to meet Rudolph,
a reindeer with an energy efficient nose! At 5pm, the Christmas
lights on the Market House will be switched on, with Christmas
musical entertainment from Ross Town Band.
year, there is a competition for the best Christmas light
displays, with separate categories for householders and
retailers. But, in order to encourage energy efficiency
, only displays using all energy efficient LED lights will
be eligible to win. There is no need to enter, Councillors
will tour the Town in the first week of December to judge
the event and the winners will be announced at the Town
Council meeting on the 14th.
Energy Agency and Rudolph will be visiting Tudorville and
Three Crosses on Saturday 12th December, to admire the fine
displays of household lights and to give out advice on how
to get more light for less energy and less money. After
last years successful children's competition, the council
are again asking children in the town to write to the them
with their ideas about saving energy at Christmas. The authors
of the best ideas will be invited to join them for the celebrations
on November 28th and receive a small prize. All
entries should be addressed to the Deputy Town Clerk at
the Corn Exchange.
Ross Christmas lights project has been supported by Natural
England's Sustainable Development Fund in the Wye Valley
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Ross Town
Council is grateful for this support.
JESSE LAUNCHES SMALL SHOPS OF HEREFORDSHIRE DIRECTORY IN ROSS
The 'Support Our Small Shops' campaign moved up a gear last
week with the launch of a second edition of its highly successful
Directory of Small Shops of Herefordshire at Pots
and Pieces in Ross-on-Wye. Local
campaigner Jesse Norman was joined at the launch by local
shopkeepers and members of the Association of Ross Traders,
along with representatives of the Council and Chamber of
new Directory lists 200 or so small shops nominated by nearly
1,000 people in the county during the campaign, and has
been kindly sponsored by local designers the Naked Creative,
and by ABC Print of Moreton-on-Lugg. Each shop has its details
listed, together with a citation saying why it is special,
taken from among the nominations. The first edition of the
Directory was snapped up by local shoppers in a matter of
weeks earlier this year. Several improvements have been
made for the second edition, which is now organized by category,
Yellow Pages-style, in a handy A5 size.
at the event, Jesse said, 'It's lovely to be able to launch
the new Directory, and I am very grateful to David and Sara
Bruce of Pots and Pieces for kindly hosting this event.
We have been staggered by the public response to the Small
Shops campaign. It really underlines how much local people
value their shops, and the distinctive service, character
and charm that our small shops bring to this county. The
first edition of the Directory flew out the door, so we
have taken the opportunity to reformat it for a second edition.
But many wonderful local shops have not yet been nominated.
We will be updating the Directory next year so that they
can be included.
who would like copies of the new Directory is welcome to
write to me at Small Shops Campaign, 49 Broomy Hill, Hereford
HR4 0LJ. Or they can be downloaded online free of charge
from my website, jesse4hereford.com.'
and some of the Ross traders with the new directory at Ross Market
BRIDSTOW SCHOOL CHILDREN DOING THEIR BIT FOR CHILDREN IN NEED
children of Bridstow Primary School are very excited this
week as they will be performing live on BBC Radio Hereford
& Worcester as part of Benthams Buskers. It is expected
the music will be broadcast after 8:30 on Friday Morning.
children will be taking part in lots of activities for Children
In Need, dressing up with a Pudsey Bear theme, busking and
selling cakes and biscuits.
Thursday, 19th November, more fundraising will be taking
place at the Red
Lion Inn at Peterstow from 6pm. Young billy Kibble,
a pupil at Bridsatow School will be playing his guitar and
landlady, Leanne is organizing a raffle.
ROSS LIONS BONFIRE WAS NO DAMP SQUIB
By Lion Bernard Fowkes
The weather is no friend of the Ross Lions as, for the third
year running the attendance at their Bonfire Night was affected
by the rain. This event is their biggest fund raiser and
an awful lot of preparation time and energy is used organizing
it. However, it is that time of the year, so this type of
weather is expected.
there was a break in the rain just before the start. A good
sized crowd decided to brave the elements and a last minute
rush saw around 2000 people pack into the Chase Hotel grounds.
Takings at the gate were down by about half and yet a generous
public bought more Light Sticks, burgers and hot-dogs than
normal. Possibly the cold rain made them hungrier.
as the large bonfire was lit by the Ross Cubs, after they
had paraded round the ground, the rain came down again.
It continued during the firework display but it did not
deter them from enjoying a wonderful display, some say it
was the best yet because it ran so smoothly. The barbecue
stall and the beer tent did roaring trades and even the
Ice Cream van didn't do too badly. The Ross Youth Lions,
for the first time, did a good job selling Light Sticks,
necklaces and bracelets. Thankfully the St John's Ambulance
members on duty were called upon to deal with only two incidents,
when two young people were overcome by the rain or excitement.
They were dealt with on site. There was a police presence
but everyone was on good behaviour.
President of the Ross Lions, Andrew Middlecote, on behalf
of the club, would like to thank the Lions ladies for their
help with the refreshments, the Ross Youth Lions for their
sales efforts, friends of Lions who came along to assist,
the Chase Hotel for the free use of their grounds and providing
a beer tent and, last but not least, our supporters who
turned out in such atrocious weather. We look forward to
better weather next year.
Ross Lions will be busy again this Christmas with the Santa
Claus Grotto at Pengethley Garden Centre each weekend in
December. A Tree of Remembrance will be placed in the Market
House for the public to place their messages on for friends
and relatives not present and Lions will control the crowd
at the Christmas Carnival when Santa visits the town on
19th December to hand out presents. The Lions will also
be paying for a Christmas Lunch for the Elderly citizens
of Ross and will be present on Christmas Day at the Ryefield
Centre, delaying their own festivities to look after the
next big event is the Ross Lions 'Race Night' held at the
Chase Hotel on the 14th March 2010; put this date in your
diaries. More information can be obtained from the Lions
scene from the Lions bonfire and fireworks night.
FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR TOM HOLT
funeral of Tom Holt has been arranged to take place at 11am
on Thursday, 19th November at the Forest of Dean Crematorium,
Speech House Road, Cinderford, Gloucestershire. The family
would welcome his friends at the ceremony and flowers for
the funeral would be welcome too.
Holt's body was found in the River Frome at Avenbury near
Bromyard, Herefordshire on the afternoon of Wednesday, 7th
October 2009. A man and a woman have since been charged
with his murder and are currently on remand awaiting trial
at Crown Court.
A RAY OF HOPE FOR THE YOUNG UNEMPLOYED OF HEREFORDSHIRE
unemployed people across the county have been given a ray
of hope this week as Herefordshire Council has drawn down
funding which will pay for 54 new jobs for those aged between
18 and 24 years inclusively.
funding comes from a new Future Jobs fund developed by the
Department of Work and Pensions in a bid to help young unemployed
people gain employment. Herefordshire has received £333,000
which will fund the new jobs for six months. The criteria
for the funding stipulates that applicants must be 18 to
24 year olds who are approaching a year's unemployment.
The council has been working with local employers in both
the private, public and voluntary sector, to identify possible
job opportunities. As a result, a diverse range of jobs
are to be offered including work in horticulture, leisure,
health, caring professions and construction. Herefordshire
currently has around 200 young people who will be eligible
to apply for one of these posts between now and the end
of March 2010 and all posts will be advertised through Job
Adrian Blackshaw said, 'We are delighted to be able to offer
some of our young people hope in the current recession.
We understand how difficult it can be for young people beginning
their working lives. Employers want to see evidence of experience,
which makes it very difficult for some to get their first
break. Although the posts are temporary, the six month contracts
will help many get a foot on the employment ladder by providing
them with valuable experience, boosting their skills and
helping them decide on future career prospects.
hope those invited to apply will do so and make the most
of this great opportunity.'
SCANIA LORRY STOLEN FROM ROSS-ON-WYE
Herefordshire Police are appealing for information following
the theft of a Scania tractor cab unit from a locked compound
in the town.
yellow three-axled vehicle, which bears the registration
number W699BOA, was removed from the compound in Station
Street, Ross between 10am and 10pm on Sunday, 8th November.
Thieves forced the compound gate padlock, found and entered
the truck, hotwired it and drove it away. The truck is valued
would like to hear from anyone who saw any suspicious activity
in the Station Street area on that Sunday or who may know
the current whereabouts of the vehicle, which to date has
not been recovered.
with information should contact PC Chris Smith at Ross Police
Station on 0300 333 3000 or call Crimestoppers anonymously
on 0800 555111.
ROSS MS SUPPORT GROUP TO HOLD CRAFT FAIR
MS Support Group will be holding a 'Craft Fair' Ross Baptist
Church on Saturday, 21st November. Between 10am and 2 pm,
visitors will find lots of gift ideas for the whole family,
including: hand crafted Christmas cards and gifts, books,
jewellery, pottery, toys, knitted items, tombola, Avon cosmetics
and much, much more!
will also be available, so join the group for a cuppa and
maybe find that perfect gift as well!
further information, please telephone 01989 730254.
NEW CREMATORIUM TO HOST HEREFORD POLICE CHOIR CHARITY CONCERT
new crematorium is to play host to a special concert by
the Hereford Police Male Choir which will raise money for
the mayor's charities, the Noah's Ark Trust and Little Princess
Christmas concert is being held at the chapel in the crematorium
in Westfaling Street on Tuesday, 8th December at 7.15pm.
Tickets are available from the crematorium office by telephoning
01432 383200 and cost £5 for adults and £2 for children.
Light refreshments will be available.
Gibbon, Herefordshire Council's bereavement services manager
said, 'We now have a fantastic chapel at this new facility
and it is wonderful to be able to host a concert by such
a popular choir, especially as all the proceeds will be
going to such good causes.'
LORRY TRAILER HIJACKED IN ROSS-ON-WYE
in Herefordshire are appealing for witnesses to come forward
after a gang hijacked a trailer containing a high-value
copper load at the side of the busy A40 in Ross-on-Wye.
The incident happened at 5.10pm on Friday, 13th November
in the lay-by by the VOSA inspection site on the A40 at
driver of an articulated vehicle taking a load to a premises
in South Wales had stopped in the lay-by and was approached
by two men from a white Transit van, also stopped in the
lay-by behind him. Without warning, the two men bundled
the driver into the van and drove off, taking him to a remote
spot near Hambridge in Worcestershire and leaving him at
the side of the road.
man was found by a police patrol just after 7.30pm. When
police then checked the VOSA lay-by in Ross, they found
the cab unit still in place but the three-axled, 44' long,
red curtain-sided trailer containing a very high-value copper
load had been stolen. The
lorry driver was unharmed in the incident and did not require
Chief Inspector Sean Paley from Hereford CID, who is leading
the hunt for the gang said, 'We are appealing for witnesses
from the many motorists who would have been passing the
VOSA site at that time of day. Perhaps they may have seen
the lorry driver talking with the two males in the VOSA
lay-by or the trailer later being unhitched from the white
cab and being re-hitched to another, before being driven
away. This is a very serious offence and we are anxious
to speak to anyone who saw any suspicious activity at the
VOSA site that evening or who may have other information
to offer about the crime.'
past the site at 5pm on a Friday evening would have been
fairly heavy. Even though it was dark at the time and the
weather conditions were poor, police are hopeful that some
passers-by will have seen something even though they might
not have registered it as unusual at the time.
with information should contact Detective Sergeant Mark
Jinks from Hereford CID on 0300 333 3000 or call the free
Crimestoppers line anonymously on 0800 555111.
SPECIAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY SCHEME EXTENDED
Council is extending its Special Energy Efficiency Scheme
to contribute towards keeping the counties' households warmer
this winter. Grants of up to £500 per household are available
for the following energy efficiency measures: loft
insulation, cavity wall insulation, thermostatic radiator
valves (TRVs), hot water cylinder thermostats, room thermostats,
draught proofing, hot water tank jackets and programmers.
Private households will qualify for loft insulation if they
have four inches or less of existing depth insulation and
cavity wall insulation will be available to all private
households regardless of income or area.
criteria for heating controls and draught proofing measures
under the scheme will remain the following: Households that
heat their homes using oil, electricity, LPG or solid fuels
as the main heating fuel, households with an occupant of
60 years of age or greater, households that pay for their
fuel via a prepayment meter, households with an occupant
receiving a qualifying income or disability benefit.
Phil Cutter, Herefordshire Council's energy champion said,
'We know some 10 per cent of households in the county are
in fuel poverty and simple measures such as better insulation
and heating controls can make a huge difference in reducing
bills. Households can save up to £300 a year by being energy
efficient and, as fuel costs continue to rise, now is a
great time to act before the really cold weather sets in.
"I would urge anyone who thinks they can be helped by the
scheme to contact Domestic & General Insulation Ltd on 0844
543 0043 for further advice.'
can also get help from the government-funded Warm Front
scheme that provides grants to make your home warmer, healthier
and more energy efficient. They provide funding towards
a number of measures including: loft insulation, cavity
wall insulation, draught proofing, hot water tank insulation,
energy efficient light bulbs, repairs to existing heating,
gas, electric or oil central heating and glass-fronted fires.
are for up to £3,500 for gas and £6,000 for oil and other
off gas heated homes. If you have applied for a Warm Front
grant and there is an excess to pay, contact Private Sector
Housing on 01432 260398, as there may be grants available
to cover this excess. Please contact Warm Front for further
details on 0800 316 6011 or visit http://www.warmfront.co.uk/
grants of £500 are on offer to all private homeowners in
Herefordshire, regardless of income, subject to funding
to help towards the cost of utilizing renewable energy in
the home. Measures include, solar thermal, solar electric,
biomass boilers, wind turbines, ground source heat pumps
and air source heat pumps. There are also grants available
for these renewable measures under the central Government
funded scheme the Low Carbon Buildings Programme (0800 915
are an energy consultant, who manage an interest free loan
scheme on behalf of Herefordshire Council called Take the
Lead. The measures included under the scheme are: solar
thermal, solar electric, biomass boilers, wind turbines,
ground source heat pumps and air source heat pumps.
further information call 0845 60 20 300.
POLICE SEEK TEENAGER OVER INDECENCY INCIDENT
Police have begun a hunt for a teenager who approached two
young children in a city play area and made improper suggestions
of a sexual nature to the girl. The incident happened at
3.30pm on Sunday, 15th November when the 10-year old boy
and 9-year old girl went to the play area in Penhaligon
Way. They were joined by a teenager who engaged them in
conversation about computers. After
a while the conversation turned to a sexual nature and the
girl attempted to leave. The teenager grabbed her arm and
made lewd suggestions to her which upset her. The 10-year
old boy then struck the teenager to protect the girl and
the pair ran off home.
teenager is described as white, about 16 years old, with
short black hair. He was of a chunky build, with spots on
his face and cold sores around his mouth. He was seen to
ride away from the area on a silver and red Apollo pedal
cycle. Police urge anyone who may know the identity of the
youth in question to contact them at the earliest opportunity.
with information should contact PC Polly Price at Hereford
Police Station on 0300 333 3000 or call Crimestoppers on
WEST MERCIA POLICE OFFICERS REWARDED FOR THEIR WORK
A brave river rescue, outstanding detective work, victim
care and public spiritedness were just some of the things
being celebrated at last week's Police Awards Ceremony held
by Herefordshire Division at the Town Hall. The event, attended
by Chief Constable Paul West, the High Sheriff of Herefordshire
and Worcestershire, the Honourable Gilbert Greenall and
the Mayor of Hereford, Councillor Sylvia Daniels, together
with members of the Police Authority, heard of outstanding
work by police officers and support staff as well as members
of the public.
Ekanite and CSTurner.
and High Sheriff.
Cleeton and CS Turner.
Pugh and CS Turner.
Pardoe the County Commissioner.
S Evans and CS Turner.
the many people commended at the ceremony, the following
is a selection:
Jim Mooney (Hereford) PC Mooney was commended for his
bravery, communication skills and leadership shown on 21st
January 2009 when a man with mental health issues threatened
to harm himself and others by igniting propane gas cylinders
whilst in a distressed state in a caravan/workshop at a
rural location near Wellington. By approaching and calmly
talking to the man, his trust was gained and tension lowered,
allowing time for an armed response team to attend, who
deployed Taser equipment to arrest the man. PC Mooney's
brave actions and the use of Taser prevented any injuries
occurring and brought the incident to a satisfactory conclusion.
Dave Evans (Hereford Local Policing) Sergeant Evans
is the City Centre local policing sergeant and was commended
for his outstanding contribution to the policing of the
city centre. He has spearheaded a number of initiatives
in the city including Welcome to Herefordshire (an event
for migrant workers in the county), Operation Deal against
graffiti and Operation Pitbull to deal with bullying and
assaults amongst teenagers. He has also been responsible
for planning high profile events in the city such as parades
and military funerals as well as leading on policing for
the Three Choirs festival and the May Fair. The Mayor of
Hereford commented, 'Sergeant Evans has given unstinting
service to the City Council, who wholeheartedly support
Elena Ekanite (Hereford Local Policing) Elena is a Community
Support Officer with the Three Elms and St. Nicholas Local
Policing team in the city. She received a commendation from
Chief Superintendent Mark Turner for outstanding and meritorious
work in the identification and apprehension of an offender
for a series of sexual assaults and sexual exposure during
July and August 2009. As a result of exhaustive enquiries
made by CSO Ekanite on her patch following the offences,
particularly with local organizations, she identified potential
suspects, which included one that the victim later identified.
The man was subsequently arrested and assessed as a High
Risk sexual offender. He would not have come to light without
the tenacity and responsibility displayed by CSO Ekanite.
Nigel Cleeton (Hereford CID) DC Cleeton is a career
detective and received two commendations at the ceremony.
The first was for his input into the Hollins attempted murder
case. As 'officer-in-the-case,' DC Cleeton acquainted himself
with every detail of the investigation and put forward a
case that was comprehensive in detail and to the highest
standards. The thoroughness of the paperwork and quality
of evidence presented made a most compelling case, resulting
in Michael Hollins receiving an indeterminate sentence at
Crown Court. DC Cleeton's second commendation was for similar
detective work shown in the case of a dangerous and serial
rapist. Nigel's attention to details and use of complex
legislation secured the man's conviction at Worcester Court.
Andy Pugh (Public Protection Unit) DC Pugh works in
the Domestic Abuse section of the PPU. He was commended
for his detective ability, attention to detail and preparation
of a file of evidence to the highest standards which led
to an offender being jailed for ten years at Worcester Crown
Court for a number of serious domestic assaults. DC Pugh
had to overcome problems around cultural differences with
family pressure on the victim not to proceed with a prosecution.
He was successful in this and the victim now has been able
to start a new life, free from domestic abuse.
Youth Services The Hereford-based youth organization
was presented with a High Sheriff's Award for their unique
contribution to the communities of Herefordshire. Since
its inception in 2001, 2XL have worked tirelessly to improve
the quality of life for children and young people in the
county. Whilst they are a charity, they commission bespoke
pieces of work that target youngsters in Herefordshire.
Since it commenced, 2XL have completed projects such as
XLR8, the Info Zone at Wyebridge Sports Academy, Elevate,
The Theatre In Education initiative, Youth Action Groups,
Crucial Crew and the Herefordshire Community Cadets - to
name but a few. The energy, enthusiasm and commitment that
2XL brings to all its activities is excellent and they keep
going and deliver…even when the money runs out!
Jason Pardoe The Chief Constable, Mr Paul West, presented
Jason with a Royal Humane Society Vellum Award for his bravery
in saving a young woman from drowning in the River Wye at
the beginning of the year. In the early hours on Friday,
16th January 2009, Jason was walking home across the Victoria
footbridge when he heard a woman screaming for help. In
the darkness, he eventually spotted her in the middle of
the cold waters of the River Wye. He threw a life belt which
failed to reach her. He then entered the water himself but,
again, was unable to reach her as she had been carried downstream.
He left the water and ran several hundreds of yards down
the bank dripping wet and cold and entered the water again.
This time he reached her in midstream and swam with her
to a branch overhanging the river, holding on with all his
had already phoned the emergency services before entering
the water. Both fire and police officers located them shortly
afterwards but were unable to haul them from the water due
to the steep bank. A fire service launch put onto the river
upstream arrived and recovered the pair into the boat. They
were then treated at Hereford County Hospital for the early
effects of hypothermia.
bravery is best summed up by comments received from Neil
Piggott, Station Manager at Hereford Fire Station, who said,
'It is clear that Jason acted calmly and intelligently in
calling the police and then attempting to throw a rescue
float. As I understand it, it was only after these actions
that he realized that, if this woman was to have any chance
of survival, it would be necessary for him to enter the
water. It makes his actions all the more remarkable that
they were not impulsive or instinctive but deliberate and
thoughtful. To enter freezing, fast-flowing river water
in the dark, having exhausted all other options first, was
TWO MEN JAILED FOR HEREFORDSHIRE TARMAC FRAUDS
defendants, James and Shaun Ball from Over near Gloucester,
today appeared at Plymouth Crown Court, having previously
pleaded guilty to a total of 16 offences under the Theft
and Fraud Acts. They have admitted deception and fraud offences
committed across the central and southern half of England
from June 2005 to the end of 2007. They were sentenced to
3 years and 20 months respectively by His Honour Judge Darlow,
who directed that costs and substantial compensation and
forfeiture issues should be resolved in 4 weeks time.
investigation was started by Scambusters, a team set up
by the Government to target rogue traders. Scambusters developed
intelligence and information received from disgruntled customers
complaining about what initially appeared to be trading
standards type offences. The initial investigations revealed
criminal offences of deception. As a result of six arrests
on a driveway in Buckfastleigh on 8th March 2007, a dedicated
team of investigators was set up, based at Honiton in Devon,
under the command of DCI Ken Lamont. This included officers
from D&C, West Mercia and Scambusters.
enquiries identified bank accounts and a considerable number
of transactions. These enquiries enabled us to identify
further victims spread across ten counties including Herefordshire,
Worcestershire and others across central & southern England.
Various deceptions were then investigated: agreeing to lay
tarmac but then putting tar and chippings down; agreeing
a price per linear foot and then charging per square foot;
falsely telling customers they had been working on the roads
on behalf of the local council; failing to provide notice
of 'cooling off' periods when cold calling; having vans
liveried up showing a map of the UK falsely claiming to
have depots nation-wide and having business invoices that
also contained false representations about guarantees. Subsequently,
West Mercia planned and led a series of warrants which were
executed in Gloucester in October 2007 with partner agencies
(Scambusters, HMRC, environmental health, vehicle examiner
& plant experts, Gloucestershire and D&C Constabularies).
This secured further evidence relating to the frauds, led
to the seizure of vehicles and tarmaccing lorries used to
commit the offences and also led to the seizure of many
assets which the Court further restrained.
the investigation 1023 witness statements were obtained;
1723 exhibits were seized; 1211 documents were produced
and 19 suspect interviews carried out. One hundred and eighteen
officers from 9 forces contributed at some stage to the
investigation, in addition to the Scambusters team. This
enquiry has shown a new way of investigation and co-operation
between the Police, Trading Standards and Scambusters. Through
this joint approach to the sharing of intelligence, staff
and enquiries it has evidenced what can be achieved. Thankfully,
this criminal gang did not spend long in Herefordshire,
though some ten offences were identified.
Mercia Police will continue to work together with other
agencies and police forces to bring those responsible for
such crimes to justice. They will use the Proceeds of Crime
legislation to confiscate the assets of criminals so they
do not profit from their actions. They will seek to ensure
that victims are compensated and that those seized assets
are redirected to support other criminal investigations.
Peerless, Project Manager, Trading Standards Regional Fraud
Unit said, 'This highly organized criminal group operated
across the whole of central & southern England. This was
the first major investigation conducted by the then DTI-funded
Trading Standards Scambusters Team covering London, the
East and South East England and by working together with
partners in Devon & Cornwall and West Mercia Police we have
been able to successfully dismantle their criminal activity.
criminal group changed their trading name several times
and used a number of accommodation addresses to try and
avoid detection. They operated by giving their victims low
initial verbal quotes that were then grossly inflated after
they had completed work that, in most cases, was carried
out to appalling standards. Many victims were intimidated
and paid up and those who challenged their illegal activities
were sometimes threatened. This case sends a clear and unequivocal
message to rogue traders that such behaviour will not be
tolerated. Cold calling and similar misleading and fraudulent
activities are widespread and are often targeted at the
most vulnerable in society, the housebound and older residents.
The Trading Standards Regional Fraud Unit and the Police
are working together to ensure that elderly and vulnerable
members of the community can feel safer in their homes.
would reiterate our advice to householders that they should
never deal with home maintenance traders who arrive uninvited
on the doorstep.'
Sergeant Mark Chappell from West Mercia Police, who lead
the Herefordshire investigation from the start said, 'This
is a good result and shows some excellent partnership working,
not just between police forces but with partner agencies
too. I am delighted that West Mercia Police was able to
play a significant part in the investigation of these career
criminals and gain some justice for those affected by their
who wishes to report rogue trading activity should call
Trading Standards via Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.
WEST MERCIA POLICE THROW LIFELINE FOR TEME VALLEY YOUTH PROJECT
A cash-strapped but much needed youth project in the north
of the county has been given a vital financial lifeline
by West Mercia Police which will see the project continue
for the foreseeable future. Herefordshire Division's Community
Police Fund, sourced by the West Mercia Police Authority,
has the aim of assisting local community projects, which
in turn will improve the quality of life for those in that
area. The fund has given the project a £5,000 lifeline to
enable them to continue their good work.
Teme Valley Youth Project (TVYP) is based in Wigmore and
provides youth activities for youngsters in the 11 to 18
year old age bracket in an area covering 24 parishes in
North Herefordshire and South Shropshire. The Teme Valley
Youth group was set up in 1994 in Leintwardine and TVYP
achieved charity status in 1997. The project centre in Wigmore
was opened in 2001 and provides youth and community facilities
for the area. The youth project caters for some 100 youngsters
per year and allows them to enjoy a variety of activities
including pool, darts, arts and crafts, IT facilities, music
and games or just chill out with their mates in a safe and
secure environment at the centre in Wigmore.
Simpson, who manages the project said, 'Funding has become
a serious issue for this and many similar projects recently.
Herefordshire Council Youth Service helped us to bridge
a gap by loaning a lead youth worker to restart sessions.
The money from West Mercia Police allows us to pay for a
lead youth worker for the next twelve months. We have also
been fortunate enough to recruit six further community volunteers,
trained by HCYVS (Herefordshire Council for Voluntary Youth
Services), and co-ordinated by the youth worker, so our
work looks set to continue on a firm footing for the foreseeable
future. We are very grateful to West Mercia for helping
us out financially. The donation will have undoubted benefits
for the local youngsters and their communities.'
Mike Doolan, local policing sergeant for the Leominster
area said, 'We are pleased to give the Teme Valley Youth
Project this funding. The facilities that the centre provides
for the local youngsters ensure they are not kicking their
heels on the streets and will give them a sense of belonging.
This has obvious knock-on benefits for policing in the area.'
of the facilities at the centre, such as offices and meetings
rooms, can be hired out to outside bodies, to provide income
and allow their good work to continue and grow. For more
information on the project and available facilities, please
contact Maureen Robinson in the project office on 01568
770110 or email email@example.com.
Mike Doolan, left, with PC Andy Varden of Leominster Policing Team
and Mary Simpson, Project Director.
DON'T MAKE YOUR PURSE A GIFT FOR DIPPERS
have issued tips to help avoid people's purses and valuables
becoming a gift to criminals this Christmas. The simple
measures to deter and prevent thieves taking advantage of
shoppers have been issued as part of West Mercia Police's
'Safe & Secure' Christmas Crime 2009 campaign.
Inspector Jim Baker, responsible for Community Safety and
Partnerships across West Mercia said, 'Although crime is
low in West Mercia, busy Christmas shoppers can become a
target for opportunistic thieves and unsecured bags, wallets
and purses can be easy pickings. By following the simple
advice people can ensure their valuables do not become a
Christmas gift to criminals and make sure their festive
season is a happy one.'
tips to follow during the busy Christmas shopping period:
out and about, be vigilant and stay aware of who is around
*Securely fasten handbags, purses and wallets.
*Keep you purse or wallet in an inside coat or jacket pocket.
*Never leave your bags unattended.
*Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
*Never keep pin numbers with your bank cards.
*People are advised to purchase one of the various purse
dipping deterrents including bells, coil key rings, chains
and lanyards. Local Policing Teams across the force will
be handing out some of these also.
further information on Safe & Secure Christmas Crime 2009
and crime reduction advice, visit our website www.westmercia.police.uk/advicecentre.
ACCOLADE FOR CONTRIBUTION TO PARTNERSHIP WORKING IN COUNTY
partnership approach to working among organizations within
Herefordshire sets the county apart from others and benefits
many local communities. Now, the hard work and determination
of the woman who has been instrumental in bringing together
the various public bodies, voluntary organizations and private
sector companies has been officially recognized.
Bucknell has been acting manager of the Herefordshire Partnership
for an extended period and has overseen substantial changes.
She has been awarded the performance group certificate of
achievement, signed by the Divisional Commander and Chief
Constable of West Mercia Police, Mark Turner, at the force's
recent performance meeting. Among the crucial changes Chris
has seen the Partnership through are the development and
growth of Area Based Grants (funding which goes direct to
local authorities who are free to use this non-ring fenced
funding as they see fit to support the delivery of local,
regional and national priorities) and the establishment
of our Local Area Agreement, a set of performance measures
with targets for improvement, which outlines the challenges
for the County and what we are going to do to make life
better for those who live and work here. Chris's time at
the helm has coincided with the merging of the council with
the Primary Care Trust and the complete reorganization of
the Herefordshire Partnership structure to allow real partnership
working in a number of Policy and Delivery groups.
much remains to be done, Chris has been absolutely fundamental
to all the successes achieved to date, working many hours
over an extended period, not least of all in negotiations
between many stakeholders towards effective LAA targets,'
said Chief Superintendent Mark Turner, who nominated Chris
for her 'outstanding personal contributions to partnership
working in Herefordshire.' He continued, 'In all of her
work, she has combined excellent strategic and political
insights and communications to key partnership leads with
a sustained sense of good humour, even in the most difficult
of circumstances. The positive effect that her realistic
and personable approach has had cannot be overestimated
and this award is offered in both recognition and sincere
NEW GRITTER TO KEEP HEREFORDSHIRE ROADS CLEAR THIS WINTER
Herefordshire Council has just taken delivery of a new gritter
to help ensure that the county's roads can be kept open
during the winter months. The new £80,000 vehicle, which
was paid for by a detrunking grant from the Department of
Transport, brings the council's total fleet of gritters
Brian Wilcox said, 'Last year, we took over responsibility
for maintaining two new roads, the A40 and A465, which were
previously managed by the Highways Agency. As part of this
agreement, we were given a grant towards maintaining these
stretches of roads and have spent some of this money on
buying this new gritter. Obviously, we now have extra lengths
of road to keep clear during the winter vehicle and this
new gritter will ensure we can keep to our targets of getting
all priority routes treated within a two-hour period.
new gritter conforms to the highest environmental standards
and has other features such as GPS technology, which will
show us which roads have been treated and when. There is
also a camera inside the vehicle which allows the driver
to see what is happening inside the hopper at the back from
the safety of the cab rather than having to get outside
year, the council will again be using Safecote to treat
the county's roads and this will also mean the new vehicle
will have a life span of at least 10 years, rather than
the eight with the existing vehicles. Herefordshire Council
has a dedicated maintenance cycle for its gritting vehicles
and aims to replace each one after it has reached its life
span and also keeps a spare gritter as part of the fleet
in case it is needed for extremely severe weather.'
Network Manager, Clive Hall and Councillor Brian Wilcox with the
SARAH CARR CALLS FOR EXTENSION OF EMPTY RATE RELIEF SCHEME
campaigner Sarah Carr, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary
candidate for Hereford and South Herefordshire, is calling
on the Government to retain a temporary rate relief on empty
commercial properties, in an effort to aid the recovery
of the County’s economy.
Chancellor, Alistair Darling MP, announced a temporary one
year increase in the threshold exempting empty commercial
properties from £2,200 up to £15,000 rental value as a response
to the credit crunch. Now nearly one year on, Sarah wants
to keep the rate relief to stimulate the local economy.
She said, 'Empty property rates tax individuals and companies
on assets that generate no income whatsoever. With so many
empty business premises available in Hereford and similarly
in other towns across the UK, the Government must not make
things even worse for businesses.
vital that local entrepreneurs can set up businesses on
flexible terms in a professional environment, yet landlords
are in danger of being taxed for providing this service.
The ill effects of this tax can lead to early demolition
of buildings, shelved regeneration projects and the loss
of jobs and pensions. The entire business community has
shown their opposition to this tax, with fairly reasoned
arguments, backed up by hundreds of cases studies. I hope
the Chancellor will give our local businesses support in
what are still difficult times.'