Friday, 30 September 2011

Man charged with 1987 rape

Detectives from Cumbria Constabulary’s Force Major Investigation Team have charged a man with the rape of a woman in Whitehaven in 1987.


Allison James Lithgow, 51, from Flatt Walks, Whitehaven has been charged with rape following a cold case review and is due to appear at Workington Magistrates Court today.

Police in West Cumbria seize £40,000 worth of drugs


As part of an ongoing operation in Allerdale, police seized an estimated £40,000 worth of drugs.

Operation Broader Sweep was launched earlier this year and continues to successfully target drug supply in West Cumbria.

The operation specifically targets ‘street level’ users and dealers who have an adverse effect on the quality of life of local residents due to the associated crime and disorder they cause.

This week, on the 27th and 28th September, police officers executed search warrants in Grasmere Avenue and Bowness Court in Workington where quantities of cannabis and amphetamine were recovered with an estimated street value of £40,000

Police officers recovered approx 3 kg of amphetamine, which had a street value of over £30,000, from the address at Bowness Court, Workington. Police then found approximately 1 kg of cannabis at an address on Grasmere Avenue, Workington.

During the searches, two females, aged 34, and a male, also aged 34 were arrested for possessing drugs with intent to supply, all have been bailed. A further male, aged 34, received a caution for possessing cannabis.

Detective Inspector Mark Backhouse, said: “This is one of the largest seizures of drugs in the Workington area for several months.
“This ongoing operation has been very successful at targeting drug supply and misuse, which was raised as a priority by the local community and we will continue to target those who insist on bringing illegal substances into our county.
“The success of the operation is reliant upon the intelligence we have received and continue to receive from our local communities and I would encourage people to contact us if they have information.”

Anyone with information about illegal drug use or supply in their community is urged to contact Cumbria police on 0845 33 00 247 or pass on details anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Police re-issue warning about illegal off-roading in the National Park

Cumbria Constabulary is re-issuing a warning about illegal ‘off-road’ driving on the fells and agricultural land, after more incidents occurred in the Northern area of the National Park.

Illegal off-roading had been highlighted as a problem in the Southern area of the National Park, but after incidents had occurred in the North, police, partner agencies and the community have been working together to tackle the issue in all areas.

Police officers have issued warnings to the minority who illegally ride that not only is their activity illegal, dangerous and inconsiderate to other users, it is also causing damage to agricultural land. Important wildlife habitats are being damaged, the activity is causing a disturbance and distress to local communities and the safety of other countryside users and visitors is being compromised.

The message is also being emphasised by trail bike groups has they have built up good relationships with landowners and communities to carry on the long history and tradition of organised events and legal activity in the Lake District National Park.

Pete Barron, a park management ranger for the National Park, said: “We recognise that the vast majority of trail riders take care and ride responsibly and courteously. However, there are a number of riders in Northern Lakes area that get involved in illegal riding.
“We are working with the police, the community and local bike trail groups to try and get the message across, that this will not be tolerated.”

PC Chris Blain said: “Police officers work together with local communities and are part of a multi-agency group to try and reduce the number of incidents and offences being reported to us. We are all committed to combating the issue of irresponsible riders and drivers who take part in illegal off-roading. In the past two weeks, police officers have stopped riders in the Faulds Brow area of Caldbeck, who have been riding illegally and given words of advice.
“We know there will be no quick fixes, but there is a determination across police, local communities and partner agencies to clamp down on this issue because of the danger it presents and the distress it causes.
“Cumbria Police and partner agencies will be out on the fells to detect and report incidents but we also appeal to all walkers to be vigilant and record any details of people you suspect to be riding or driving illegally and report your suspicions to us on 0845 33 00 247.”

Riders are urged to get advice from organised groups such as the Trail Riders Fellowship (http://www.trf.org.uk/) and research where the Green Roads are in the Lake District before heading out onto the fells or in the National Park. This information can be found on the Cumbria County Council Website, under roads and transport http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/roads-transport/public-transport-road-safety/countryside-access/HOTR/Hierarchy_of_Trails_Routes.asp

Police appeal for witnesses after sneak-in burglary

Police are appealing for witnesses after a sneak-in burglary occurred in Redmayne Avenue, Barrow.


On Thursday 22nd September 2011 at around 3.30 pm an elderly couple had a minor collision in their car with another vehicle outside the bowling club on Dane Avenue, Barrow.

After speaking with the driver, the elderly couple drove round the corner to their home address on Redmayne Avenue, Barrow. On entering their home, a male approached them saying that he had seen the accident and was persistent in telling them he would be a witness if they needed him.

The male is described as around 5’9” in height, stocky build, dark hair aged around late 30’s-early 40’s wearing a light coloured short sleeved top, ¾ length dark pants and carrying a yellow coloured book, he was politely spoken with a local accent.

The couple stated they did not need his help and went in their house and the male then walked off. Around 10 minutes later the couple were in the rear garden when they heard a bang and went inside to see what it was. Upstairs in their bedroom they discovered the same male coming out of their loft area. He was escorted out of the house by the couple whilst still saying he would be a good witness. The male then left and walked off down the street.

The couple then checked upstairs and noticed that £100 was missing from the bedroom and a filing cabinet in the loft area had been tampered with and the lock damaged.

Police would like to speak to the driver of the other vehicle involved in the road traffic collision, described as a female possibly in her 60’s, as she may have seen the male suspect and be able to provide vital information to police.

They would also like to speak to anyone who was in the vicinity of the initial incident at Dane Avenue or in the Redmayne Avenue area at the time of the incident.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact DC Sarah McArthur at Barrow CID on 0845 33 00 247 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. 





Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Webchat for Cumbrian farmers and rural community

Cumbrian farmers and rural communities are being invited to join police and the NFU for a web chat.


As part of Cumbria Constabulary's Rural Crime Prevention campaign, farmers and people living and working in rural communities are invited to join a web chat where they will be able to chat live with NFU North West Regional Director Robert Sheasby and representatives from Cumbria Police's Community Safety Team.

The web chat will be hosted between midday and 2pm on Thursday 29th September.

NFU North West Regional Director, Robert Sheasby, said: “Criminals are targeting farms due to the costs of tractors, livestock and oil rising sharply. The NFU is not taking this lying down, and initiatives such as this web chat will help us share vital crime prevention advice and show that the police, NFU and local communities have a united front against crime in the Cumbrian countryside. The online meeting forms part of a wider campaign aimed at protecting communities from being targeted further with vigilance as the watchword.”

Claire Stevens from Cumbria Police's Community Safety Team said: “As part of our ongoing campaign to tackle rural crime in Cumbria, we are giving farmers and rural communities the chance to log on and chat live with representatives from the police and NFU. You will be able to ask us about crime and policing issues in your village, report any concerns, suggest what the policing priorities should be in your area and ask for valuable crime prevention advice.
“Cumbria is a large and sparsely populated county, which makes it difficult to arrange traditional community meetings in village halls. Add to that the unsociable hours worked by most farmers, and you can see how difficult it is for people living in rural communities to get the chance to chat to police face-to-face. The web chat gives people the opportunity to log on from wherever they are, ask a question and get an instant answer. We’re hosting it at lunch time to give as many people as possible the opportunity to log on.”

To log on, go to www.cumbria.police.uk/farmerschat

For more crime prevention advice visit www.cumbria.police.uk  



Police would like to speak to this man

Police are appealing for help to trace a local man they want to speak to.


Officers would like to speak to Kane Luke Hull, 18, from Wigton, about an incident which occurred during a music event at the park in Wigton on Saturday 17 September 2011.

Police are appealing for members of the public who see him or know of his whereabouts to contact them on 0845 33 00 247.

You can also give information without revealing who you are, by ringing the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.



Police take action after underage party at local pub


Cumbria Constabulary applied for a review of the licence of Padua’s public house in Workington after approximately 80, fifteen year old youths, were found drunk on the premises.

Police officers in Workington proactively attended Padua’s on Washington Street, Workington on 24th June 2011, after they had been informed of an underage party. They spoke to a number of people who were all described as being drunk and aged between fifteen and sixteen.

Police had previously warned the designated supervisor about these private events and gave suitable advice about checking the age of people on the premises to ensure alcohol was not served to minors.

Sergeant Richard Farnworth, from the Community Safety Team in West Cumbria, represented Cumbria Constabulary at the hearing at Allerdale House, Workington on Friday 23rd September 2011. He described the events on 24th June and detailed a number of separate occasions when the police had to attend the premises to deal with incidents of crime, disorder and violence, most of which had occurred after 2 am.

At the end of the hearing the Licensing Panel stated that the following conditions would be added to the Padua’s premise licence.
1. All licensable activities must stop at 2 am rather than 3 am.
2. No under 18s allowed in the premises after 9 pm and before 9 pm they have to accompanied by an adult.
3. Challenge 30 policy
4. All sales now have to be in a plastic container. (this includes plastic bottles)

Following the result of the hearing, Sergeant Farnworth said: “I hope that this sends out a very clear message to any other Premise License Holder who may be tempted to hold such events.
“Our work will continue in this area, as selling alcohol to juveniles is a serious matter. It not only raises the chances of antisocial behaviour but also causes health issues for youngsters who drink alcohol.
We will look into any other licensed premises in West Cumbria who have been hosting 6th Form parties, because the majority of the people attending will be underage.
“The plastic container condition will significantly reduce the number of injuries caused through glass. We recognise that Padua’s is a popular place to socialise in Workington and this condition will reduce the chance of injury. We would recommend all premises which can become crowded to adopt the same policy, as patron’s safety is paramount.”

If you have any information about underage drinking in local pubs, you can speak to your local police officer or Neighbourhood Policing Team on 0845 33 00 247. To provide information anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Police want to speak to local Barrow man

Chase Ballantyne was located by Barrow Police on Friday 23rd Sept 2011, following an anonymous call regarding a sighting of him in Barrow town centre and is currently helping the police with their enquiries.


Officers would like to thank the public for their assistance in this matter.




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Police in Barrow are appealing for help to trace a local man who they want to speak to.


Officers want to speak to Chase Lee Ballantyne, 27, from Barrow, in relation to a number of criminal investigations. He is also wanted for breach of a Court Order.

Police are appealing for any members of the public who see him, or know of his whereabouts, to contact Barrow Police on 0845 33 00 247

you can also give information ANONYMOUSLY.  You will not be asked for your name if you ring the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Police and Trading Standards keep tabs on alcohol retailers


Police Officers in West Cumbria, along with officers from Trading Standards have been proactive in targeting underage alcohol sales.

An undercover operation took place on the 13th and 14th September and saw 17 off licence premises visited. As well as checking for underage sales, it aimed to raise awareness regarding retailers selling alcohol to adults who then hand the alcohol over to teenagers (Proxy Sales).

The operation tested seven premises in Whitehaven, five in Cockermouth and a further five in Keswick. Police and Trading Standards praised retailers in Whitehaven where all attempted sales were refused. However, in Keswick and Cockermouth, three traders failed to prevent proxy sale of alcohol.

Anyone selling alcohol to underage people is liable to an £80 fine and further offences could lead to the shop losing their alcohol licence.

Angela Jones, Cumbria Trading Standards Manager, said: “I am pleased to see that the majority of retailers tested complied with their legal obligations, but I am disappointed to have found three businesses breaking the law in regards to proxy alcohol sales”.
"The exercise will be repeated over the coming weeks so I’d remind businesses that they should ask for identification that proves a person is 18-years or older, such as a passport, driving licence or proof of age card, before selling age restricted products to young people. Additionally I would warn businesses to be vigilant and to challenge any adults who may be purchasing alcohol on behalf of an underage person”
“Our staff work closely with traders to ensure compliance with the law throughout the year and these undercover checks form a vital part of ensuring compliance.”

Police Sergeant Gill Atkinson of Allerdale Rural Neighbourhood Policing Team said: ”Ten stores were visited in Cockermouth and Keswick and seven did not sell alcohol to our underage tester. However, it is very disappointing that three premises did. On this occasion advice was given and the information passed on to Allerdale Borough Council licensing department, who may conduct a review of individual premises.
“This operation will be carried out again in the future, with our colleagues from Trading Standards, to ensure that the correct practices and procedures are in place by those premises that sell alcohol and to reduce the antisocial issues that arise as a result”.

Anyone with any information regarding the possible supply of alcohol to anyone underage can let speak to your local Neighbourhood Policing Team on 0845 33 00 247.

You can also speak to Cumbria Trading Standards by contacting Consumer Direct on 0845 4040 506.

Barrow Fire Station Charity Car Wash Weekend

Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th Sept 2011

10am to 5pm on both days.
(Enter via fire stations rear gate off Phoenix Rd).

Get your car washed by White Watch in exchange for a donation to 'The FireFighters Charity'.

FREE Tea & Coffee whilst you wait.

Look around the Fire Appliances too.

Addresses taken for a Free Home Safety Visit by your local Firefighters.

So come along and support your local Fire Station.

Please forward to all you know.

Thank you, Mark Ducie










Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Appeal to Trace Missing Man Neil Sweeney


Neil was found safe in Blackpool last night (Wednesday 21st September).  Thanks to all who helped.


Officers are appealing for help to find a 45-year-old man who is missing from the Brockworth and Tewkesbury area.

Neil Sweeney was last in contact with friends on Tuesday September 20 and was reported missing at around 12.30am this morning (Wednesday September 21).

Neil doesn’t appear to currently have a permanent address, but is thought to have been staying with friends in the Brockworth and Tewkesbury area.

He is a white man, around 6ft 4inches tall, with black hair with silver coming through, he speaks with a Scottish accent and he wears an earring in his right ear.

He is thought to have been wearing a long leather coat and possibly navy jeans, he also is likely to be wearing a shirt.

Police are concerned for his welfare and are urging him to get in touch.

It is thought Neil Sweeney may have travelled out of the county as he has links all over the midlands and the north of England as well as in Scotland.

If you have seen him or have any information that could help please contact Gloucestershire Police on 101 quoting incident 3 of September 21.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Ulverston road closures during lantern procession

Police warn motorists of Ulverston road closures during lantern procession


Police in Ulverston are urging motorists to be patient during the upcoming Ulverston Charter Lantern Procession which will be held on Saturday 17th September 2011.

The annual event takes place from around 7.45pm until approx. 10pm and consists of four smaller separate pedestrian processions that set off from different locations around Ulverston before meeting at County Square where the enlarged procession parades to Ford Park for entertainment and a firework display.

The whole town centre area is a designated no street drinking area which includes the car parks and Ford Park. The street drinking legislation is waived for the duration of the parade but will be enforced after the end of the parade.

A road closure order for the town centre has been obtained and will be in place between 7.00pm and 10.00pm. Police are giving motorists advanced notice of these closures and the likelihood of delays on the A590 through Ulverston. Motorists are urged to take extra care due to increased numbers of pedestrians around the town and on the A590 and roads approaching Ulverston.

Sgt. Rupert Johnston of Ulverston Police said: “There will be a road closure in place for the entire centre of Ulverston between 7pm and 10pm on 17 September so that the community can enjoy the annual celebration safely.
“To avoid delays and diversions, we would ask motorists to avoid driving into the area or attempting to leave the town during these times.
“There will be a large numbers of people walking around the town and their safety is paramount. I hope that residents will be patient and cooperate with the temporary closure and make alternative arrangements in advance because the road closure will only be lifted for emergency service vehicles. The roads can only be reopened when they are clear of participants and spectators.”

Peter Winston of the organising committee said: “I would ask for people to park considerately, especially along the parade route. There are a number of large lanterns that may struggle to negotiate junctions if cars are parked too close so please bear this in mind.”

Witness appeal following suspected arson in Dalton-in-Furness

Police are appealing for help from the public as they investigate a suspicious fire that broke out at Dalton Motor Breakers in Crooklands Brow, Dalton-in-Furness this morning.


At around 3.30am, emergency services were informed of the fire that started in several vehicles in the scrap yard which then spread towards a neighbouring Garden Nursery. It has caused extensive damage to the scrap yard and has damaged the adjoining wall to the Garden Nursery. Local residents were urged to stay indoors and keep their windows shut due to the amount of smoke in the area.

DC Amy Loebell who is investigating said: “The fire has caused extensive damage and a lot of disruption to the local community.
Both the railway and the road remain closed and fire crews remain at the scene this morning.
“Our investigation has begun and when safe, the Fire Service’s investigation team and Crime Scene Investigators will commence a search of the area to gather evidence.
We need to speak to anyone who was in the area at around 3.30am this morning and who may have seen anyone or any vehicles in the vicinity of the Motor Breakers. Anyone who passed the scrap ways during the early hours of the morning or saw anyone in the area or any vehicles parked nearby is urged to contact me or one of my colleagues in Barrow CID on 0845 33 00 247.

If you want to provide information but remain anonymous, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111







Police identify the lady cyclist who died near Dent on Saturday

Police can confirm that the woman who sadly died after falling from her pedal cycle near Dent on Saturday has been formally identified as Kim Caplin from Ipswich.


40 year old Kim Caplin from Heather Close, Martlesham Heath, Ipswich was one of 16 cyclists who were travelling from Ingleton towards Dent as part of a bike ride from Lands End to John o’ Groats.
Tragically, Ms Caplin suffered fatal injuries after colliding with a wall at around 6.50pm on Saturday 10 September in Deepdale near Dent.

Police are not treating her death as suspicious at this time and are preparing a file for the coroner. Her family have been informed and are being supported by a Family Liaison Officer.


A spokesperson said on behalf of Kim’s family: “This was a tragic accident but we have received some comfort and solace from the fact that she died in a beautiful area, doing what she loved.”




Fresh fraud warning after Workington man conned out of £1,100

Police are appealing for people to be on their guard against fraudsters after an elderly man from Workington was conned out of £1,100.


The 75-yr-old victim was contacted by two men claiming that he was owed £5,000 in overpaid mortgage protection payments, but that he would need to pay an administration fee to release the funds.

The victim was told to obtain a UKASH voucher, which is available in many local stores, to the value of £400 and then to re-contact the caller to provide the voucher number in order to check the money was present.

UKASH is a genuine service that works as an internet money transfer scheme, and it is the voucher number which is needed to claim the money and not the physical voucher. Therefore, the fraudsters were able to withdraw the money from the victim’s account.

The fraudsters then made two more demands for money using the UKASH facility, and managed to get a total of £1,100 from the victim, who never received any of the funds promised to him.

On Wednesday 14th September, the fraudsters contacted the victim for a fourth time and requested a further £325. This time, the victim contacted police, who have launched an investigation and informed Action Fraud, who coordinate fraud investigations across the UK.

DC Jim Rooney said: “The victim is very upset after losing such a large amount of money. The men who called him claimed to be called Thomas King, Mike Douglas and Paul King and gave him a number with an ‘0208’ dialing code to contact. If you receive a call like this, report it to police immediately. Under no circumstances should you give your bank details over the phone. If something sounds too good to be true, it invariably is.
“After the victim reported the matter, we attended his house in a bid to catch the offenders out. I spoke to the fraudsters personally, and they continued with their charade, claiming that they were working from a fake address, which turned out to be the local post office.
These fraudsters specifically target vulnerable and elderly people, so we want people to be vigilant against calls from companies offering to repay bank charges or mortgage protection payments for a fee.
“If anyone is using the UKASH voucher scheme, then they should only give the voucher number to people who they trust and who they want the money to go to and would advise that they treat these vouchers as they would cash. The voucher itself is worthless without the number. Giving the voucher number to someone is just the same as giving them your hard earned cash.

Please pass this warning on to elderly or vulnerable friends, neighbours and relatives so that they do not fall foul of these scams. If you have any doubts to the validity of anyone’s identification call Cumbria Police on 0845 3300 247 and an officer will be more than willing to give advice on the issue.”

A women from Grange in South Cumbria was targeted in June, and the fraudsters managed to get away with £175.

For further information about protecting yourself from financial crime contact the Action Fraud hotline on 0300 123 2040, or visit http://www.actionfraud.org.uk/ 



West Cumbria continues to tackle drug related issues


Since the beginning of a dedicated drugs operation in the Allerdale area over 200 people have been arrested for drug related offences.

In February 2011, Operation Ulterior was launched after residents in Workington and Maryport raised drug misuse as their top local priority via the Safer Stronger Community Meetings.

It specifically targets ‘street level’ users and dealers who have an adverse effect of the quality of life of local residents due to the associated crime and disorder they cause.

In addition to the number of arrests, thousands of pounds worth of drugs have been recovered including heroin, cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis.

The operation has been reliant upon information provided by members of the community who have been affected by drug misuse. As a result, the number of drug offences detected has increased. Between 1 April 2011 and 12 September 2011, 154 drug offences were detected, this is almost a 40% increase in comparison with last year, when 97 offences where detected in the same time period.

On the Moorclose estate in Workington, police officers have worked in conjunction with Derwent and Solway Housing Association and Home Group to address some of the issues caused by problem tenants. This work has led to the closure of three crack houses and the removal of problem tenants.

PC Anna Crawford, who led on the closures, said: “We will work with our partners in the Housing Associations to offer respite to those residents suffering from drug related crime and antisocial behavior.
"The action taken has been positively received by the local community who has fully supported our actions.”

Feedback from residents living in Moorclose area indicates that the action taken by the police is beginning to address the fear of crime and have an impact on crime itself.

One female resident of Moorclose said: “Since the police started this work its fantastic living back in our street, we can let the kids can play out again and I no longer want to sell my house, like I did when all the problems were happening. I enjoy living here again.”

Inspector Mark Wear said: “We have worked very closely with the community to disrupt the activity of those people who are involved with drugs misuse.
“This operation shows that by addressing the concerns of residents we can have an impact on crime and the fear that it causes.
The success of the operation is reliant upon the intelligence we have received and continue to receive from our local communities and I would encourage people to contact us if they have information.”

If you have any information about illegal drugs use or supply, please speak to your local neighbourhood police officer or call Cumbria Constabulary on 0845 33 00 247. To provide information anonymously, please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Mary became a victim of a loan shark

Loan sharks are illegal money lenders; they often trap people into a spiral of debt by adding exorbitant interest charges, so many victims end up paying back far in excess of what they borrowed. Few will offer paper work and even if they do ask the borrower to sign a document, the lender will rarely give them a copy to keep. This way they keep their victims completely in the dark as to how much they are actually paying.

Most victims of loan sharks were introduced to the lender by a friend or family member, and most say the lender was friendly and helpful at first. It is only once people are unable to keep up with payments, that the loan sharks often become intimidating, threatening or even violent.

Anyone can be a victim of a loan shark – your family, friends, neighbours. Even you.

Mary* a woman in her late 50’s fell into a loan sharks trap.

Mary’s Story
Mary was working night shifts in a care home alongside Joe*, a loan shark. She was aware that Joe gave loans, but it had never thought about borrowing. When a relative passed away, Mary needed money for funeral expenses. She was short of cash at the time and couldn’t wait until payday so she spoke to the loan shark at work.

Joe gave her a loan for £500 and asked her to sign a piece of paper, there was never any mention of additional interest. He then took this paper away and Mary was completely in the dark as to what she owed.

Once she thought she’d cleared the payment, she took another loan with Joe, unknowingly spiralling into further debt. Some of her friends wanted loans so Joe named Mary as the guarantor, meaning Mary had to pay up if her friends missed payments.

This continued for five years, up until the point when Joe was arrested by the England Illegal Money Lending Team. By this point Mary was working for nothing, as every penny she earned was going to Joe. She’d even taken out several loans from legitimate companies to pay Joe. The Team worked with her to get her life back on track, and as the debts were illegal and unenforceable in law, she no longer had to repay.

After receiving advice and support from the Team, Mary put together a three year finance plan with a national money advice organisation called Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) and aims to be debt free by the time she retires. She has reduced a £10k debt to £5k already, which she will have paid off in 18 months.

For what seems to be the first time in many years, Mary is in control of her finances. She has taken out employment insurance for sickness cover and opened up a savings account putting away £50 per month. She feels she has “had a weight lifted off her shoulders”.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team are cracking down on offenders, having secured more than 190 prosecutions. Working in partnership with local Trading Standards, they are sending out a clear message that these criminals do not provide a community service; they are simply out to make money.

Many victims keep paying because they think they can afford the agreed weekly sum, but they don’t realise how much their continuing weekly payments add up to.

Our advice is that you should never go to a loan shark.

The Team are working with Age Concern and other partners such as credit unions, housing associations, Citizens’ Advice Bureaux and voluntary organisations to ensure people do not become vulnerable to loan sharks.

If you think a loan shark may be operating in your area, call the confidential 24-hour hotline, which is answered by a trained investigator
Hotline 0300 555 2222
Text ‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003
E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk
Log-on to www.direct.gov.uk/stoploansharks

*names have been changed to protect the identity of the victim

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Police football tournament raises hundreds for charity

The football tournament held in memory of Bill Barker on Friday 9 September at Whitehaven Miners Football Club raised £600 for The Great North Air Ambulance "Pride of Cumbria", the charity chosen by Hazel Barker.


Police officers and staff from all over the county took part in the tournament, with the Bill Barker Memorial Shield being presented by Hazel Barker to the winning team captain, DI Rob O'Conner, who was captain of the headquarters team.

Detective Constable Stephen Usher, one of the organisers, said: "Many thanks to all of the staff, throughout the county, who supported the day by either playing, watching or purchasing raffle tickets, this was a great tournament in memory of Bill."

More information on the memorial shield can be found online at: http://www.cumbria.police.uk/news/latest-news/bill-barker-memorial-shield-football-competition

Could you be an Independent Custody Visitor!


Cumbria Police Authority is looking for Volunteers to join its Independent Custody Visiting Scheme

Cumbria Police Authority is looking to recruit independent members of the community to join the Scheme on the North, West and Kendal panels. Independent Custody Visitors, visit Custody Suites unannounced, always working in pairs, to check on the welfare of the people in police custody. This scheme aims to improve public confidence in the police and help the Police Authority to gain a clear insight, into the running of custody facilities within the county.

Independent Custody Visitors must be impartial at all times. They don’t take sides, but look, listen and report on what they find. Independent Custody Visitors are volunteers who receive no payment, though their expenses will be met.

Anyone who is at least 18 years of age, and lives or works in Cumbria may apply. However, anyone in the police service, such as police officers, special constables, police staff and members of the Police Authority are ineligible.

Rob Huck, the Police Authority’s Lead Member for custody said “I would encourage anyone with an interest in policing or welfare matters to apply. This role provides a unique insight into the working of the police service”

The closing date for the applications is 12 noon on Monday 17 October 2011. Anyone requiring further information should contact:

Emily Pratt
Cumbria Police Authority
Carleton Hall
Penrith
CA10 2AU
Telephone 01768 217733
E-mail policeauthority@cumbria.police.uk

Website http://www.cumbriapoliceauhtority.org.uk/



Police warn students following car insurance scam


Police are issuing a warning to students around the country after learning of a new car insurance scam where students can find themselves out of pocket and, sometimes, under arrest.

The warning is particularly relevant to international students after several were targeted in a recent scam in the Sunderland and Northumberland areas. The con takes advantage of students who ask a third person for help to arrange discounted car insurance. Students hand over money and are given a cover note, believing they have legal car insurance. Then, unbeknown to them, the third person cancels the policy within the cancellation period and pockets their money.

Police became aware of this scam when a number of international students were arrested and had their vehicles seized after they were found to be driving without insurance. Police enquiries then uncovered the scam and criminal investigations have been launched. Officers are now issuing a warning to students and are working with Universities to provide support and advice so students don’t fall victim to this sort of crime.

Cumbria Constabulary’s Deputy Chief Constable Stuart Hyde plays an active part in student safety nationally in his role as the patron of the Police Association of Higher Education Liaison Officers (PAHELO).

He said: “This scam is particularly cruel as it tends to target the students who ask for help because they want to ensure they have full legal cover to drive vehicles in the UK.
“Sadly, it has led to some students being arrested and having their vehicles seized – making life particularly hard for students who are getting to know a new area and are strapped for cash. Some of the victims were told of a friend of a friend who could help them arrange their insurance cover at a good price. Now they have been left out of pocket but don’t want to report their fellow students -so may feel like they have nowhere to go.
“Police will investigate these scams when they are reported but our advice to students is to approach your local Students Union or Students Welfare department for advice.
“They will be able to recommend legitimate insurance companies that offer genuine discounts for students and will help you complete the documentation you need to. If someone you don’t know offers to help you secure a great deal in exchange for cash think twice – if the offer sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
“To drive in Britain you always need to have an insurance certificate – not just a cover note. If you visit the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency section of our UK Government website you can find the information you need to drive safely and legally: www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring

The warning comes two weeks into Cumbria Constabulary’s Student Safety campaign. For more information or safety advice, visit www.cumbria.police.uk/students



Liverpool man to appear in court charged with illegal money lending


A man from Liverpool has been charged with illegal money lending, money laundering and possession of controlled drugs, following an investigation by the England Illegal Money Lending Team and Merseyside Police.

The man aged 33 was arrested in June after the Police and the Team, who work in partnership with Liverpool City Council Trading Standards executed warrants at two residential properties in the Speke area. During the search they seized cash, documentation and a quantity of cocaine and cannabis.

He is due to appear before Liverpool Magistrates on Thursday 22nd September.

Nationally the illegal money lending teams have secured over 190 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to 113 years worth of custodial sentences. They have written of almost £40 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 16,000 victims.

To report a loan shark:
Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222
Text ‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003
E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk  
Log-on to www.direct.gov.uk/stoploansharks

Monday, 12 September 2011

The next Safer, Stronger, Better and you're all invited!

Our next Safer, Stronger Better Event is next Tuesday and we would like to extend the invitation to you all!

Tea, coffee and biscuits will be served on the Gallery at the Forum, Duke Street, Barrow from 9.30am.  It is a great opportunity to meet others from the community.  There is always a wealth of people who attend - some decision makers, councillors, officers from a variety of organisations, community group members and those who are just interested in where they live!
If you're free then why not stop by for a coffee and a chat and if you fancy it stay for the presentations which start at 10am.

I hope to see you there.  More details below.....or give us ring on 01229 876475

Kind regards, Rebecca

Police launch seatbelt campaign

Good morning everyone.

Cumbria Police this morning pledged its support to a Europe-wide seatbelt campaign co-ordinated by TISPOL, an organisation which joins together Traffic Police right across Europe in an effort to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on Europe's roads.

The campaign will run from today, Monday 12th of September, until Sunday 18th September, and will see police officers across the county targeting motorists and passengers who travel without wearing seatbelts.

A spokesperson from TISPOL said: “It is well documented that seatbelts significantly reduce the loss of life and degree of severe injury in the event of a road traffic collision.
“Research provides us with the valuable knowledge that seatbelts save lives. Where vehicle occupants choose not to wear a seatbelt, the law is clear and the police enforce the law, as we know lives are saved as a result of seatbelt enforcement. Those people who choose not to wear a seatbelt expose themselves and their fellow passengers to the risk of fatal or serious injury.”

Cumbrian officers will target drivers and passengers of all types of vehicles this week to ensure, through enforcement and education, that a strong message goes out that wearing seatbelts is compulsory for a reason.

Sergeant Jo Walker of Cumbria Constabulary's Roads Policing Unit said: "Wearing a seatbelt really can make the difference between life and death and minimises the severity of injuries people suffer in road traffic collisions. No matter the distance of your journey, please make sure that you wear your seatbelt, and make sure you take responsibility for safely and legally securing young people who travel with you. This week will see officers out on Cumbria's roads, targeting those who don't wear their seatbelts, and providing education to reinforce this important road safety message.”

Further details on the law surrounding use of seatbelts can be found on the Direct.Gov website: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Roadsafetyadvice/DG_4022064







Police called to capsized canoe. One man has sadly passed away.

Police officers were called at 12:40 yesterday (11 September) to reports of a canoe which had capsized in the river near to Yanwath Hall in Penrith.


A organised group consisting of 16 people, eleven students from the Manchester area and five instructors were located. One instructor, a man in his mid-twenties from Darlington in Cleveland was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital by air ambulance in a critical condition.  He sadly passed away last night (11 September) at the hospital.  Police are in contact with the family and will confirm identification in due course.

One student, male aged 14, was taken to the Cumberland Infirmary with non life threatening injuries. Non of the other members of the group required hospital treatment.

The parents of the students are currently being contacted and the Health and Safety Executive has been informed.



Friday, 9 September 2011

Police appeal for help to trace a local woman

Police in Wigton are appealing for help to trace a local woman they want to speak to in connection with an assault investigation.




Officers want to speak to Rianna Hull, 19, from Aspatria, in connection with an incident which took place on 17 August where a female was assaulted at the Wheatsheaf Yard, where she sustained minor injuries.

Police would like to speak to Rianna, pictured, as she maybe able to assist them with their enquiries.

If you know of Rianna’s whereabouts, contact Wigton Police on 0845 33 00 247.

You can also give information ANONYMOUSLY via the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111



Police Authority and Cumbria Constabulary consider the future of police estate


As a result of Government budget cuts, Cumbria Constabulary needs to save £18.7million by 2015, and a further £1.6m by 2016, which is equivalent to a 20 per cent fall in income.

To achieve this, the Constabulary is conducting a series of reviews to identify savings and, where possible, protect policing in communities.

As part of this work, a review of Cumbria’s police estate is ongoing and every police station and office building is being reviewed to ensure it provides value for money and meets the requirements of local communities and Neighbourhood Policing Teams.

Some buildings will be upgraded, in other towns police will look at sharing premises with partner agencies and in some instances, if buildings are underused, the Police Authority will have to consider whether they should remain open. All options are being considered.

Examples of shared premises can already be seen working successfully in Carlisle city centre, where police officers and PCSOs share office space with Carlisle City Council in the Civic Centre, and in Sedbergh, where the local police and fire officers will begin sharing office space later this month.

The review will consider the cost of running and maintaining each building and compare that to how it is being utilised by the community and local police officers and PCSOs. They will consider the size and age of the buildings, how many officers and staff work from each building, and how it is used by the community.

The Chairman of Cumbria Police Authority, Ray Cole, said: “The way Cumbria is policed has changed dramatically over recent years, and officers are no longer reliant upon static police buildings to conduct their role.
“Twenty or thirty years ago, members of the community would have to attend a police station to report an incident, produce documents or speak to an officer, but these days most people contact police via telephone or email.
“People no longer need to produce papers as often, as officers have access to databases that instantly provide insurance and registration details of vehicles and motorists. Officers can conduct paperwork and access police systems on the move and we have invested heavily in mobile working technology. Detectives can also interview people using mobile recording equipment.
“All of this means that the traditional view of a police station is no longer a reality. Officers spend the majority of their time in the community, leaving many of our buildings under-utilised, oversized and outdated.
“Consequently, it doesn’t make financial sense to keep investing in them, when the funds could be used to maintain our service to the community.
“We are looking closely at each building and working with local councils and the fire service to consider how we could share office space, and save money for all public services in Cumbria.
“The review is ongoing, and we expect to make decisions about the future of our estate in the Autumn.”

Chief Constable Craig Mackey added: “As a result of Government spending cuts, Cumbria Constabulary has to save £20.3million by 2016. To achieve this, we are conducting a series of reviews to identify savings and, where possible, protect policing in communities.

“We have already made significant savings by implementing a recruitment freeze, restructuring back office functions and changing the way we work, so we must now look at making the police estate more efficient, by ensuring that our buildings are fit for purpose and are being used to their full potential.


There are difficult decisions to be made, but whatever happens, we will maintain a presence in your community. Police officers and PCSOs will continue patrolling every town and village, will be available to speak to face-to-face and will continue responding to community priorities and individual calls for service.
"Our ultimate aim is to provide the best policing service that we can afford so that Cumbria remains a safe place to live, work and visit.”



David Taylor pleaded guilty to careless driving

David TAYLOR, aged 55, appeared at Carlisle Crown Court on 6th September, when he pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving.


On 4th November 2009 a collision occurred at Gilpin Bridge on the A590. Taylor, who was aged 53 at the time of the collision, of Foulshaw Lane, Levens was the driver of a fairground wagon that manoeuvred across the dual-carriageway from Foulshaw Lane, making a right turn to head in an eastbound direction.

41 year old mother of two, Michelle Jurd from Grange was the driver of a Citroen Xsara car which was travelling westbound along the A590 with her two young children in the vehicle with her. Michelle’s vehicle collided with Taylor’s vehicle as it moved across the westbound carriageway in front of her.

Michelle sadly died in hospital shortly after the collision as a result of the injuries she received. The children received minor injuries.

Taylor was remanded on bail until 21st October 2011 when he will return for sentencing. Taylor was also given an interim disqualification from driving by the Judge, the length of the disqualification will be determined at the sentencing hearing in October.







Thursday, 8 September 2011

Four men sentenced to over 19 years for assault

Four men have been sentenced to over 19 years at Carlisle Crown Court after assaulting a man at Haverigg prison on 23 September 2010.

Daryl Worrall

Anthony Stephenson



  Daryl Worrall, aged 23, Louis Otway, aged 31, Anthony Stephenson, aged 24 and James Stewart, aged 32, were all prisoners at Haverigg Prison, when they seriously assaulted a fellow prisoner.



 

Louis Otway

James Stewart


All four pleaded guilty to the offence, Worrall was sentenced to five years, nine months. Otway, Stephenson and Stewart all received sentences of four and a half years each.






Detective Sergeant Ralph Henderson, said; “Cumbria Constabulary takes all allegations of violent crime seriously and investigates these matters thoroughly, irrespective of where they occur. People detained in Her Majesties Prisons have a right to serve their sentences in a safe and secure environment. The sentencing today reflects the gravity of the attack"




Update following dawn drugs raid

Following dawn drugs raids earlier this week, EIGHTEEN men have now been charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs.  The series of coordinated police raids took place in Cumbria, Preston, Blackburn and Merseyside on Tuesday 6 September.


Four of the men were from  Barrow-in-Furness and were all charged with conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine.

All 18 were due to appear befor Preston Magistrates Court today (8th September).

The full story can be seen at the link below:
http://barrowcdrp.blogspot.com/2011/09/four-barrow-men-were-arrested-on.html


Help keep granny and grandad safe by warning them about bogus callers


Sunday 11th September is national Grandparents Day so, to mark the occasion, Police in Cumbria are asking young people to talk to their Grandparents and older people in the community to give them valuable crime prevention advice.

Not all burglars break into homes - some target the elderly and vulnerable by tricking and conning their way into people’s homes. These unscrupulous criminals are known as ‘bogus callers’ and will pretend to be an official representative from respectable companies such as gas, electricity and water providers, or even local councils. Some may also claim to be tradesmen or workmen calling to carry out urgent repairs.

Top tips to avoid being conned by bogus callers:
• Think before you open the door - use your chain and spy hole or look out of the window to see if you recognise them. Keep your front and back doors locked.
• Ask callers for proof of identity. Genuine tradesmen should carry an identification card including their photograph.
• Check this carefully. If you are unsure, telephone the company the caller claims to represent.
• The Utilities now offer a password identification system. Any caller from one of these companies should be able to give a pre-arranged password as additional proof of identity.
• Beware of callers who attempt to distract you by claiming that they have seen something untoward in your rear garden or somewhere which may encourage you to leave your house - they may have an accomplice waiting in the background to enter your house while you are distracted.
• If you are not convinced of the identity of the caller, don't let them in. Ask the caller to come back later and arrange for a friend, relative or neighbour to be present on their return.
• Be extremely wary of callers who offer to sell you products, make repairs to the house or do other work for you. Always discuss it with relatives or friends and consider contacting your local Trading Standards Office for advice.
• Think carefully about any telephone calls or emails you receive and do not give out any personal information or bank or credit card details.
• Trading Standards and Police advise that if you are considering home security, take time to research the providers in your area, get recommendations from friends or family or look on your local Trading Standards website for approved traders.
• If in doubt, keep them out!

Treat every stranger with caution. If you are still worried, and it’s an emergency, dial 999 immediately and ask for the police.

If it is not an emergency you can contact Cumbria Police on 0845 33 00 247 and further advice and information can be found on www.cumbria.police.uk  

Further advice can also be found in our short film “Bill the Burglar”, which you can show to your grandparents to highlight the problem. You can find it on the Cumbria Constabulary website at the following link:
http://www.cumbria.police.uk/advice-and-information/security/bogus-callers

Man arrested on suspicion of possessing dangerous dog

Following information received from the public, police officers from West Cumbria Neighborhood Policing Team and the Dog Section conducted a search at an address on Queen Street, Workington today (8 September) to locate what was suspected to be a dangerous dog.


A man aged 25 years old from Queen Street, was arrested on suspicion of possessing a dangerous dog under Section 1 of the dangerous dog’s act 1991.

The animal which is suspected to be a Pit-bull type dog was seized by Police officers during the search and taken to a kennel. The man is currently in police custody at Workington.

If you have any information on persons you believe are in possession of dangerous dogs please contact police on 0845 33 00 247 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.



Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Junior PCSO scheme finishes on a high


Junior PCSO scheme in Whitehaven finished last week with an activity day and presentation.

On Friday 2 September, twelve children, who had been Junior PCSOs over the summer holidays, were awarded with an activity day, when they went indoor rock climbing and canoeing.

Following this they were presented with certificates for their participation, by Chief Superintendent Steve Johnson and local MP Jamie Reed, in a ceremony attended by family members.

Over the six weeks of the summer holidays, for one day a week, the children were taught about their local community and the environment. The aim was to reduce antisocial behaviour and promote good citizenship. Activities included a crime prevention day and going into their local community to speak to residents about their concerns and issues.

Chief Superintendent Steve Johnson said: “This has been a great initiative for all of the children who were able to participate.
“I hope these children have enjoyed their time as a Junior PCSO and will take away fond memories and remember what they have learned and will take pride in their local community and influence others to do the same.
“Specific thanks should go to all of the PCSOs who organised and ran the scheme and the hard work and effort they put in. I would also like to thank all of the organisations who supported this scheme and hope that with there support and any other agencies wanting to participate we are able to run this initiative again in the future.”

Jamie Reed, MP, added: “Thank you to all of the people who helped to support this and to the police for organising the scheme. It is another example of how our local officers are willing to invest their time and effort in the youngsters in the area. This is a fantastic achievement for the children who took part in the events.”

Two Castle’s regional manager, Stephen Soars, who supported scheme, said: “This is a great investment into these youngsters’ futures. It is good to see them having fun, but also being taught about their local community and the environment, which will help them to take pride in where they live. We would be very happy to support this scheme again.”



Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Four Barrow men were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs this morning

North West Police Forces unite to tackle drug supply in dawn raids.


Four people have been arrested this morning in Cumbria (Tuesday 6 September) following a series of simultaneous dawn raids that have taken place across the North West.

Cumbria Constabulary joined forces with police officers from Lancashire and Merseyside to carry out raids across Barrow, Preston, Blackburn and Merseyside as part of a dedicated cross-border operation led by Lancashire Constabulary, dubbed Operation Oak, to tackle the supply of Class A drugs in the North West of England.

At 7.15am this morning, 34 officers from Cumbria’s Targeting Unit and Tactical Support Group swooped on premises on Sloop Street, St Andrews Street, Harrison Street and Hood Street in Barrow. At the same time, colleagues from other forces conducted simultaneous raids on addresses in Preston, Blackburn and Merseyside.

Four Barrow men, two aged 26 and two aged 29, have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply class A and class B controlled drugs. They are in police custody and are due to be interviewed later today.

Detective Chief Inspector Tim Leeson, of Lancashire Constabulary’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit, who is heading Operation Oak, said: “This morning’s raids are part of an ongoing investigation into the activities of a suspected organised crime group and a drugs supply chain that has seen heroin and cocaine being moved across, and sold in, Lancashire, Cumbria and Merseyside.”

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Forrester from Cumbria Constabulary, said: “We are committed to ridding our communities of illegal drugs and sending out a strong message to criminals who think they can cross over counties borders to commit crime.
“We work closely with colleagues in other forces and this Operation is an example of what happens when we unite. We now have four men in police custody, helping us with our enquiries.
“The supply, production and use of drugs can ruin individual’s lives, pull families apart and cause huge damage to communities.
It is hugely important that people within our communities keep telling us about those involved in drugs. If you know or suspect someone of drug dealing then please give us the information and we will do the rest. The police will only carry on successfully tackling drugs crime if we have the support of our communities.”

Anyone with information or who wants to speak to their local police officer about drug supply should contact 0845 33 00 247.

You can also provide information ANONYMOUSLY to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111


Did you see or speak to Mark Salton after 24th August?

Just over a week ago, 38 year old Mark Salton was sadly found dead on Emlyn Street in Barrow. Detectives are again appealing for friends or anyone who may have seen him during the last few days of his life to get in touch.


Mr Salton was sadly found dead on Emlyn Street in Barrow at around 8am on Saturday 27 August. After he was found, a police investigation was launched and detectives have been working to piece together his last movements.

Last Friday, Detective Sergeant Paul Yates said: “We have spent the last week making enquiries and speaking to Mark’s friends and family in a bid to trace his last movements but there are still some gaps that we need to fill.
“So far, we have traced several people who had been in contact with Mark but we are still appealing for anybody who saw, or was with Mark to let us know.
We are working hard to provide his family with some answers so if you spoke to Mark or saw him on or after Wednesday 24 August we need to speak to you. Please contact Barrow CID on 0845 33 00 247.”

A 40 year old man from Barrow was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and has been released on bail until 11 October 2011 pending further enquiries.

Information can be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.



Flu can be a killer, so vulnerable should get protected


Last winter, 232 extra people died in Cumbria than would normally be expected.

These people died from a variety of conditions including coronary heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and directly from flu, as a result of complications and the cold weather.

In addition 1102 people across Cumbria and Lancashire ended up very ill and in hospital in critical care directly due to flu and its complications from the end of November to early February.

The best way that people with existing health problems and those over 65 can protect themselves from flu, is by making sure they get the free flu jab available every autumn and winter.

“Flu is a killer, yet still every year we have people in Cumbria who are already ill or aged over 65 who decide not to take the chance to protect themselves by getting the flu vaccination,” said Dr Nigel Calvert, a public health doctor from NHS Cumbria.
Last winter was a particularly bad one and we saw cases of flu drastically increase on previous years as immunity in people was quite low and only around three quarters of people aged over 65 got protected by having the flu vaccine.”

Every year the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the most common strains of flu which are circulating in the community. The vaccine is designed to protect those most vulnerable to the effects of flu and the complications it can cause such as chest infections and pneumonia.

For people who are otherwise fit and health, flu is usually a mild illness that can be self-treated at home. People at risk of getting very ill from flu should have the vaccine whilst others who contract flu should stay at home, look after themselves, drink plenty of fluids and avoid visiting vulnerable people or health venues such as GP surgeries or hospitals. If concerned, they should call their GP surgery and ask for a telephone consultation.

The following groups all qualify for a seasonal flu vaccine and should contact their GP surgery to arrange:
- People aged 65 and older,
- Pregnant women (where both mother and baby will be protected),
- People living in a residential or nursing home,
- People with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, chronic asthma, cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, COPD, bronchitis, liver disease, neurological disease such as Parkinson or motor neurone disease, or a weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as for cancer),
- Main carers for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill,
- And healthcare or social care professionals directly involved in patient care.

“Everyone knows that flu can be serious and last year over 200 more people than we’d normally expect to die in winter sadly succumbed to illness due to flu and the cold weather. Flu can be serious and cause serious health complications in people with existing health conditions. This includes children and adults with existing conditions from asthma to cancer, pregnant women, where both mother and baby can be at risk, and people aged 65 and over. This is why it is vital that we all encourage our loved ones to qualify to be sensible and have the vaccine”, said Dr Calvert.

Barrow Landlords fight back against loan sharks

Pub landlords in Barrow have been learning about the perils of borrowing from illegal money lenders, in order to help their customers.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team, a specialist unit in place to investigate and prosecute loan sharks hosted a presentation for bar staff at the Barrow Barwatch meeting, which explained how illegal lenders operate and what help is available for those who fall victim.

The Team who work in partnership Cumbria County Council, also worked alongside Barrow Crime and Disorder Partnership, to distribute 5000 beer mats with the Teams contact details, throughout the town's pubs and bars.

Loan sharks usually operate by word of mouth, very few advertise and most people fall victim after the loan shark was recommended to them by a friend.

They often meet their victims in bars or pubs, which is why the Team are asking landlords and bar staff to be alert.

Loan sharks are usually friendly at first but their behaviour changes when payments are missed. They can make their victims lives a misery, by adding additional amounts to the debt and charging exorbitant rates of interest- the Team have prosecuted illegal lenders who were charging up to 131,000% APR. Many will trap their victims into spiralling debt and then resort to extreme methods such as intimidation, threats or violence to enforce repayment.

Tony Quigley Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team said “Illegal money lenders are a scourge on our communities. These criminals are motivated by greed and have been known to the worst kinds of bully tactics, to force people to pay back over the odds. We would urge anyone who is the victim of an illegal lender to call us in confidence on 0300 555 2222. Calls are answered by a trained investigator 24/7

Dave Coverdale Chair of the Barrow Crime and Disorder Partnership said “Barrow CDRP would like to commend the work of the Illegal Money Lending Team and their efforts to eradicate unscrupulous individuals who prey on members of the Community through unlicensed money lending. Recent presentations from the Team have highlighted how this can impact massively on both individuals and their families, creating misery and additional hardship to those members of the public who are vulnerable and very often, already financially deprived.
The Partnership will continue to seek ways to raise awareness regarding issues around illegal money lending and highlight how individuals can access support should they be approached or become involved.”

Angela Jones, Cumbria County Council's Trading Standards Service Manager, said: "People who borrow money from loan sharks feel they have nowhere to turn for help but through partnership working we can combat illegal money lending and raise awareness of the pitfalls of borrowing in this way.

I would urge residents to report suspicious loan shark activity and help make a stand against illegal money lending in our communities. We need to send a strong message that loan sharks will not be tolerated in Cumbria.‬‪"

Nationally the Stop Loan Shark Project has secured over 190 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to 113 years worth of custodial sentences. They have written off almost £40 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 16,000 victims.

To report a loan shark:
Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222
Text ‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003
E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk  
Log-on to www.direct.gov.uk/stoploansharks

Monday, 5 September 2011

Anne’s Story...being a victim of a loan shark


Loan sharks will trap people in a spiral of debt, and resort to the most extreme bully tactics to enforce repayment. Anne* from Manchester learnt this the hard way, when she fell into an illegal money lenders trap:

It was coming up to Christmas, and Anne was worrying about affording presents for her two young children. Spotting an advert in her local paper for unsecured loans and believing it was a legitimate company who could help tide her over, she decided to call the number.

A man answered, and told her he would be able to lend her £150, but it would need to be secured on something. He came to her home and took her passport, explaining that this would be returned once she had repaid in full. He explained that she would need to repay £15 each week plus an extra £10 a week in interest. She knew this was steep but she was desperate and believed she would be able to pay back within a few months with her wages from working in a shop.

Christmas passed, and in the January, Anne fell ill and was unable to work. As a result of this she defaulted on a couple of payments. She was resting at home with her six year old daughter, when the loan shark barged in with two other men, demanding to know why she hadn’t paid. They pulled electrical items out of her living room, claiming the loan was secured against these.

Anne was terrified. “There was nowhere to go” she said “I wasn’t even safe in my own house. I was screaming, crying, pleading with him not take my stuff. To think, that my little girl had to see that.”

A few days later she received a note from the loan shark through her door, to tell her that an extra £100 had been added to the debt for the ‘bailiff’ visit. From that point onwards, she paid the loan shark religiously retaining the post office slips as proof of payment.

However the loan shark still appeared at her door, alleging she’d missed payments. He would turn up late at night and on one occasion Anne had to hide, as he tried to climb in through her kitchen window. For every visit he would add an extra charge of £80 to £100.

This continued for 5 years, with Anne paying back around £5000 on the loan of £150.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team caught the loan shark, and discovered Anne was not alone in her experience. The loan shark had around 900 ‘customers’ who he was harassing for payments, he believed to be due. He was given a lengthy custodial sentence and stripped of £270,000, money he had made illegally.

Anne said “It was such a weight of my shoulders. It had got to the point where my nerves were shot and I was too frightened to answer the door. I’d realised he was never ever going to go away. If he hadn’t been arrested I’d probably still be paying him now”

Remember illegal debts are not enforceable in law. If you have borrowed from an illegal lender, you have not committed a crime - they have. Most loan sharks will appear friendly at first, but their behaviour can quickly change.

If you believe you have borrowed from a loan shark, contact the England Illegal Money Lending Team in confidence as we can help

To report a loan shark:
Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222
Text ‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003
E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk  
Log-on to www.direct.gov.uk/stoploansharks

* Name has been changed.





Policing Summary delivered to every household in Cumbria


Every household in Cumbria will receive a Local Policing Summary in the post over the coming weeks.

The Local Policing Summary, produced by Cumbria Constabulary and Cumbria Police Authority is produced annually to ensure local communities are kept up-to-date with policing priorities and how the police have performed in their fight against crime.

This year the Local Policing Summary will be included in the County Council’s ‘Your Cumbria – Adult Education Supplement’ magazine which will be delivered from Monday 22 August and contains details of how the Constabulary has performed over the last 12 months and how to contact them.

Chief Constable Craig Mackey said: “We have made a commitment to keep the community informed about what we are doing and how we are performing. Not everyone has access to the internet, or can attend public meetings, so this summary ensures that every household in Cumbria stays informed about policing in the county.
“Cumbria has seen yet another reduction in crime over the past year, it is important that we continue to listen to the views and concerns of local residents so that we tackle the issues that mean the most to them, and continue to make Cumbria safer and stronger.
“We would encourage people to contact us by attending community meetings available in your area and online so that we can share information, listen to your views, and provide the best policing service possible to the people of Cumbria.”

Ray Cole, Chairman of Cumbria Police Authority, said: “We are pleased to be able to report that public concerns like anti-social behaviour are being addressed. We continue to face difficult decisions about how to maintain this service to the public in the face of reductions in our budget. The public’s comments and feedback will help us to make those difficult decisions and that is why the Authority is holding consultation events across the county. Details can be found on the Authority’s website of in the local press.”

Copies of the Summary can be found on the Constabulary’s website: http://www.cumbria.police.uk/, Cumbria Police Authority’s website: www.cumbriapoliceauthority.org.uk/ and can be picked up from any Police Station across the county from 22nd August.



Suspected loan shark arrested following operation in Wirral.


A man has been arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering following an operation in Birkenhead.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team, working in partnership with Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council Trading Standards executed a warrant at a residential property, seizing documentation and cash.


The man aged 51 was questioned by officers from the Team, and has now been released on bail until Thursday 10th November 2010, pending further enquiries.

Nationally the Stop Loan Shark Project has secured over 190 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to 113 years worth of custodial sentences. They have written off almost £40 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 16,000 victims.

To report a loan shark:
Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222 Text ‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003
E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk  Log-on to www.direct.gov.uk/stoploansharks