Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Portuguese truck driver sentenced to 20 weeks imprisonment

A Portuguese truck driver, appeared at Carlisle Crown Court on 24 February 2012 where he pleaded guilty to nine charges of forgery in May 2011 relating to the manipulation of his tachograph charts.

Carlos Antonio Martinc PINTO, aged 43, who drove for the Spanish haulage company Transportes Pepe El Correcaminos, from Murcia in South East Spain, was sentenced to 20 weeks imprisonment on each charge (to run concurrent) and was disqualified from driving in the UK for 12 months. He has been on remand since his arrest at the end of January 2012 and will serve the rest of his sentence prior to release.

Mr Pinto was initially stopped by VOSA officers in Kent in June 2011 where his charts were seized. These were passed to Cumbria Police as part of the ongoing Operation Oasby which is a joint VOSA and Cumbria Police operation investigating the Spanish haulage company. Following analysis of the charts observations were circulated and on the 23rd January 2012 Mr Pinto was stopped and arrested on the A1 in North Yorkshire buy North Yorkshire Police. Mr Pinto’s Scania 164 tractor unit was seized and examined along with other documentation.

Vehicle driven by Mr Pinto, seized by
Cumbria Police
and awaiting confiscation hearing at
Carlisle Crown Court

Mr Pinto pleaded guilty to the offences at first hearing at Carlisle Magistrates Court and was committed to Carlisle Crown Court for sentence.

Two previous cases heard at Carlisle Crown Court in October 2011 and January 2012 saw two colleagues of Pinto, Lopes Mello and Mohammed Issiali jailed for 6 months on each of a number of counts of making a false instruments, namely tachograph charts.

At the sentence of Mr Pinto, the Judge said: “Forging such documents or interfering in the recording devices allows drivers to use vehicles in excess of what is allowed by law…..whilst there was no report of improper driving by him it is only right to recognise and acknowledge that other drivers who commit such offences cannot claim never to have been involved in accidents which have had serious consequences. The sentence is there not only to punish but to send a clear message and therefore an immediate custodial sentence is called for.”

Sergeant Graeme Hodgson from the Road Policing Unit led the investigation for Cumbria Constabulary. “PCs Ivison and McKeown, together with colleagues from VOSA, have acted on the intelligence received on this Spanish company and have removed drivers and vehicles from the road.
Those drivers and vehicles were putting members of the public at risk, not only by their own actions, but also by placing unfair competitive pressure on legitimate hauliers. We will continue to work closely with VOSA to ensure that dishonest operators are removed from the road and that company directors are brought to court as well as the drivers.”
“A confiscation order has been applied for in relation to the vehicles driven by Mr Pinto and Mr Lopes Mello at the time of his being stopped and HH Judge Batty QC has ordered that the company represent themselves at a forthcoming hearing.
“Cumbria Constabulary and VOSA continue to target hauliers who deliberately flout the law and have a number of other investigations currently under way with other individuals awaiting court.”

Monday, 27 February 2012

A tribute to Joseph Took who sadly died yesterday

On Sunday 26th February, at approximately 02.50hrs, on Abbey Road, Barrow, a fatal road traffic collision occurred and tragically a 18 year old man died.

Joseph Took, from Walney, Barrow, was riding his motorcycle, a blue Yamaha 125cc, when he was involved in a road traffic collision, no other vehicles were involved. He was conveyed to Furness General hospital, but sadly and despite the best efforts of the medical staff, died a short time later owing to the injuries he sustained.

His family said: "Joseph was an angel; he was a wonderful son, brother and friend and was one of the kindest people you could ever meet. He was loved deeply by his family and words can not express how we feel at this moment.”

Police are continuing to investigate the incident, anyone with information should call PC 1618 Marc Holmes of Kendal Roads Policing Unit on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Barrow drug dealer ordered to repay more than £18k within one month or face longer jail term

A Barrow man convicted for drugs offences appeared in Preston Crown Court yesterday (Tuesday 21 February) where he was ordered to repay thousands or face longer in jail.

During the Proceeds of Crime Act Hearing, 49 year old Wayne Peter Moffatt was found to have benefited from his criminality to the tune of £22,622.52. The judge imposed a confiscation order for £2,680 and made a compensation order for £16,000 to be paid back to HMRC.

Moffatt, formally of Barrow and now of Ireleth Court Road, Ireleth, has 28 days to satisfy the order or he will be sent to prison for a period of up to 28 days in default.

His appearance in court follows an investigation into drugs supply in Barrow. On Friday 28th May 2010, Barrow police attended a pet shop owned by Moffatt on Duke Street, Barrow and executed a warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act. As a result, various controlled drugs and associated drugs paraphernalia were recovered along with £2,680 cash found on Moffatt’s person. Police then carried out a search of Moffatt’s home address and located in a safe was a further £16,000 cash and controlled drugs.

Moffatt was then charged with Possession with intent to supply Class B drugs, Supply of Class B drugs between 16th April to 25th May 2010 and Possession of Class C drugs. On Monday 3rd May 2011 he appeared at Lancaster Crown court and pleaded guilty to counts of possession of a class B and class C controlled drugs and possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply. On Monday 6th June 2011 Moffatt appeared at Lancaster Crown court where he was sentenced to 26 weeks imprisonment suspended for 24 months.

A Proceeds of Crime Act investigation was then launched by Cumbria Constabulary.

Dc Nick Doherty, a financial investigator from Cumbria Constabulary said: “This investigation initially centred on the drug dealing activities of Moffatt but through financial investigation we uncovered that he was also in receipt of tax credits. These are payments from the government directed at people who are responsible for at least one child or young person, who may be in work, but are on a low income.
“Through close liaison with HMRC, it transpired that Moffatt had not only falsely claimed tax credits but also failed to make any taxable returns on his income from his pet shop for a considerable period of time.
“In these tough economic times it is only right that people who abuse the public purse and the benefits system are brought to account for their actions. Moffatt has now been stripped of a substantial amount of cash that he had acquired illegally and if he fails to pay, he will lengthen his jail term.
Crime doesn’t pay and police will continue to work very closely with partner agencies to ensure that criminals are targeted and any financial gain they make as a result of their crimes is seized.”

Anyone with information about drug related crime in their area can ring Cumbria Police on 101.

If you would like to report drug related crime but do not want to say who you are then please ring the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.  For 23 years they have never revealed the identity of anyone who has given them information.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Barrow's Age Concern looks for Volunteers

Over the years Age Concern volunteers have made life easier for people who are lonely and isolated. There are a number of different ways in which you can give your time and become involved.

We are particularly keen to talk to people who could spare a couple of hours a week helping with Community Support. This is a short term service which helps to build confidence and stops people feeling socially isolated. You would be supporting people who have been bereaved or had a stay in hospital who need a little help getting back on their feet.

We are also looking for people who can become involved in delivering a variety of activities in Local Residential Homes. The activities include crafts, poetry reading, reminiscing, playing games and gardening. You will be given training on how to be an activities buddy.

Building bridges is a project that values the contribution of older people who have time to spare with young people aged 5-18 in a range of settings. These include reading and craft with primary school children.

Perhaps you are a handy person who can do odd jobs like fitting grab rails and fitting key safes. You may also make minor repairs and do odd DIY jobs. This role obviously involves going into people's homes.

If this is something you would like to take part in we would love to hear from you.

For more information please contact Helen on 01229 831425

Police re-appeal for help to trace missing Mark almost one month on

Police are renewing their appeal for help from the public to trace Mark Westall who went missing from his home in Ulverston almost one month ago.

Mark Westall
44 year old Mark Westall, of North Lonsdale Road, Ulverston was last seen at 9.30pm on Monday 23rd January 2012 on North Lonsdale Road in Ulverston.

Since then, officers have launched large scale searches and this weekend, a West Midlands police dog team (one handler and one dog) specially trained in following the scent of human skin follicles travelled to Cumbria to assist the Mountain Rescue Team. Together they retraced the area around Mark’s home on North Lonsdale Rd and searched the disused railway line which runs from Ulverston canal towards Plumpton but, unfortunately, Mark still hasn’t been found.

Police officers and Mark’s family remain dedicated to raising awareness of his disappearance within the local community but, as time goes on, his appearance may have changed so they are urging local people to be vigilant and report any potential sightings of him to police.

PC Steve Johnston said: “Alongside Mark’s family, we have been distributing posters within the community to raise awareness of Mark’s disappearance but with the amount of time that has passed, we are aware that his appearance may have changed.
“We know that Mark left home without his medication and, if he hasn’t managed to pick up medication from elsewhere, it is likely that he will have experienced a common side effect and lost quite a lot of weight. It is also possible that he has grown a beard by now.
“Despite searching for almost a month and receiving various calls with information from members of the public, we have not been able to confirm a positive sighting of Mark so we don’t know what his appearance is now like. One distinctive thing about Mark that will not change is his colourful tattoo on his left arm of a yellow and black spaceship.

“Our searches to date have involved more than six different agencies including Mountain Rescue Teams, Inshore Rescue, Specialist dog handlers and the underwater dive team with more than 60 specialist personnel involved. Our search for Mark will not be over until we can reunite him with his family and we are re-appealing to the community to be vigilant, keep Mark in mind and if you believe you’ve seen him anywhere, please contact us on 101 immediately.
“We remain in close contact with Mark’s family and are supporting them as best we can. Mark, if you are reading or listening to this, please contact your family to let them know you are safe. You are not in any trouble – your family are extremely worried about you and want to know that you are safe.”
Mark is described as white, 5' 6'' tall, and when he was last seen he was of a stocky build with dark brown, collar length wavy hair. He was last seen wearing an orange jacket and blue trousers, with a light coloured sweatshirt worn under his jacket.

If you think you have seen Mark or have any information about his whereabouts, please contact Ulverston police on 101 immediately.

You can also give information anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Police reappeal for info that will help them locate Barrow man who has been recalled to prison

Mr Wyatt has now been located by police.
27th February 2012
Police are again appealing for information to help them find Kevin Anthony Wyatt, 27, from Barrow, as he has been recalled to prison.

Wyatt failed to return to the Carlisle hostel he was living in while he was on license from prison.

Police believe he may still be in the Furness area.

Anybody who knows of Wyatt's whereabouts, or who has seen a man fitting his description, is asked to call Barrow CID on 101.

You can also give information anonymously to the independent Crimestoppers charity by ringing 0800 555 111.  For 23 years Crimestoppers has never revealed the identity of anyone who has provided them with information.

Witness appeal as police investigate Walney burglaries

Detectives in Barrow are appealing for information following a series of burglaries on Walney this weekend.

Between Friday night (17th February) and Sunday morning (19 Feb), five incidents of burglary and attempted burglary were reported to police within the same locality on Walney Island, Barrow-in-Furness.

Sometime between 2.30pm on Friday 17 February and 12pm on Sunday 19 February, a house on Plymouth Street was targeted by offender(s) who caused damage to the property by breaking in before stealing items and making off from the scene.

Close by and within the same time period in Shearwater Cresent, an attempted burglary occurred. The house was damaged but fortunately the offender(s) didn’t gain entry so nothing was stolen.

During the early hours of Friday 17 February, an attempted burglary occurred at a property on Andreas Avenue causing damage to the house but, fortunately, they did not gain entry so nothing was stolen.

Another house on Andreas Avenue was targeted between 10pm on Friday 17 February and 6.30am on Saturday 18th February. Offender(s) managed to break into this property and made off with money and other personal items.

An insecure shed at the rear of a property on Osprey Drive was also targeted during the early hours of this morning (Monday 20 February) and alcohol was stolen from inside. This burglary is being tentatively linked to the other incidents at this stage due to its location and may later be ruled as a separate and unrelated incident.  Five local people aged 27, 32, 34, 37 and 39 have been arrested on suspicion of burglary following this incident and are currently helping police with their enquiries.

Detective Constable Adam Ewart is investigating. He said: “We are appealing for witnesses who may have been in the Walney area over the weekend and may have witnessed somebody acting strangely to come forward.“We are linking the four burglaries and attempted burglaries due to the location of each one and the similarities in the way in which the offender(s) attempted to gain access to the homes.
“I am sure that someone in the neighbourhood will have seen or heard something that seemed odd over the weekend – and this information could be really important to our investigation. If you have any information, however small, please contact Barrow CID on 101.
“We have increased patrols in the area and are making local house-to-house enquiries in a bid to trace witnesses. Officers are handing out crime prevention advice and are urging people in the area to be extra vigilant and more security conscious by securing their homes, sheds and garages. If you see somebody or any vehicles in your neighbourhood that seem to be acting suspiciously, call police on 101 and try and make a note of descriptions of the people or vehicles, including registration numbers.
“This level of information could be really useful later on in a criminal investigation.”

Anyone with information they think could help police is urged to call Barrow CID on 101 or call Crimestoppers to provide information anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Thieves believed to be targeting gaming machines in South Cumbria's pubs

Police are issuing a warning to pubs across South Cumbria as they believe that a number of gaming and bandit machines are being targeted by offenders travelling from outside of the county.

The warning comes after officers stopped three men at around 3.45pm on Saturday 18 February in Ulverston town centre, and approximately £700 in coins and cash was seized from them. Two men from Blackpool aged 20 and 25, and a 44 year old man from Warrington were arrested and street bailed until 9 March 2012.

Detective Sergeant Helen Ellis said: “Enquires are ongoing to try and establish where this money may have come from but we are appealing to pubs and clubs that have bandit and gaming machines to be vigilant.
We suspect that machines across South Cumbria are being targeted and we need licensees to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity or individuals to police immediately on 101.
“It is important to try to make note of any vehicle registration details of cars involved and report it to us immediately so we can take action.
“We are also urging companies who manage the lease of gaming machines in public houses to check their machines and report any discrepancies or concerns to us.”

Warning after burglaries on Walney this weekend

Barrow Police are urging residents of Walney to be vigilant after a series of burglaries over the weekend.

Premises were either broken into or attempts made to enter houses on Osprey Drive, Shearwater Crescent, Plymouth Street, Verdun Avenue, and Andreas Avenue.

If we are burgled it is nobody's fault except that of the burglar, but we can make ourselves less of a target....don't make it easy for thieves...remember our message...Lock it or Lose it.

  • If you are leaving the house, even if it is just for a few minutes, remember to lock your doors and windows...Lock it or Lose it.
  • Keep doors to sheds and garages locked...Lock it or Lose it.
  • Lock all spades, ladders and tools away....don't leave tools that could be used to  break in to your house lying around.
  • If you are upstairs hoovering or in the back of the house cooking with music on...you probably would not hear someone come in the front door....remember....Lock it or Lose it...keep your doors and windows locked.
  • If you are in the front room, you probably would not hear someone come in the back door....keep it locked.
  • Establish a 'door locking routine' that you follow before you go out or to bed and encourage others in the house to do the same.
  • Don't leave money lying around and don't leave computers or valuables lyong around that could be seen from the window.

If you see anything suspicious, please contact police.
If it is an emergency or if a burglary is in progress, always ring 999.

If it is not an emergency or if you have information about suspicious activity or the break ins on Walney, please ring police on their non-emergency number - 101.

If you have information but would rather not ring the police, you can ring the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.  You will not be asked for your name.  For 23 years Crimestoppers has never revealed the identity if anyone who has given them information.

Training Facility opens to benefit of Police and Fire Service in Cumbria

A new training facility opens at Penrith Police Headquarters this month to the benefit of the Police and the Fire and Rescue Service.

The new facility, which has been jointly funded by Cumbria Constabulary and Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, will have a dual purpose in providing public order training for police officers and fire behaviour training for fire officers. The new facility will be opened on Friday 24th February 2012.

The facility cost £200,000, with £50,000 being funded by the Fire and Rescue Service and £150,00 being funded by the Police Authority. It will see a reduction in training costs for both organisations, with saving in expenditure for travel and accommodation.

At the moment police officers are required to travel to Durham or Warrington to participate in Public Order Training and fire officers have to travel to Chorley to receive their training. This means that they are out of the county for a period of time. The new facility will allow them training in the local area and be available if an emergency arises.

The facility is made from recycled material hardcore and has been design to reduce energy costs in a way that that during daylight hours there is no requirement for electrical lighting.

It consists of mock up walls and cells which will be able to be used to training for public order incidents and searching techniques. The Fire and Rescue Service has a fire behaviour unit, which allows them to train in extinguishing fires in a purpose built live-fire training facility.

Chief Constable Stuart Hyde said: “This facility means that we have the capability to train our officers in our own County. It is a major investment as it will reduce training costs. We will have more resilience by being able to reduce the number of police officers going out of the County for training.
“The collaboration with Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service on this project means we also have the facility to participate in joint training and will be of great benefit, ahead of the Olympics.”

Ian Cartwright, Cumbria’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer, said: “Having the ability to deliver specialist training in Cumbria that we’d previously had to travel to Chorley to undertake, is going to be a real step forward for the service.
“By working in partnership with the police we’ve been able to share the costs of delivering this excellent new facility that will play an important role in ensuring Cumbria’s emergency services get the training they need in their home county.”

Friday, 17 February 2012

Cumbria Police Authority agrees council tax precept rise

Cumbria Police Authority has voted to increase its share of council tax by 3.6% in Cumbria this year.

Members approved the increase following a vote at the Police Authority meeting held on 15th February at Police Headquarters, Penrith to reject a one-off grant of £1million offered by the Government. This grant is offered to Police Authorities that choose to freeze the amount of council tax each household in Cumbria pays in the next financial year. The Police Authority receives just over two thirds of its funding from central government and the further third from council tax.

Concerns centered around the grant being a one-off payment which would mean that the Police Authority would need to recoup the money in future years by raising council tax more than usual. However, a cap on the increase in annual council tax would mean that the shortfall of the £1million offered this year by the Government may not be recovered by the Constabulary in future years. This would result in the Constabulary needing to save an additional £1million on top of the £20m that needs to be saved by 2015/16.

The agreed council tax rise will equate to an estimated increase of 10p a week for residents in a band B property. The exact amount of the increase depends on the council tax band for residents’ properties.

The Constabulary is already making £20million savings as a result of the reduction in the government support grant.

Chair of the Police Authority Ray Cole said: “This is the last budget that the Police Authority will set ahead of the Police and Crime Commissioners and it was important to get it right for the future of policing in Cumbria.
“We have listened to what the people of Cumbria told us and have increased the council tax in order to maintain our front-line policing in the county.
“One option was to take the grant from the Government but longer-term this would have had resulted in significant difficulties for the Constabulary in maintaining police officer numbers.”

Chief Constable of Cumbria Constabulary, Stuart Hyde, said: “It was a difficult decision for the Police Authority today and I am extremely grateful that they have taken the bold move to help us address the reduction in central grant.
“Currently, the Constabulary is in the process of reducing its budget by 20% and will continue to find further efficiencies. It would have been difficult to sustain front-line policing at its current level had the Police Authority accepted the grant.”

Police puppy goes to school for the day

Following a competition to name one of the new police puppies, the winner, St Begh’s Junior School in Whitehaven will be visited this month.

The puppy, Ava and her trainer, PC Steve Jones, along with Sergeant Mark Yielder, will attend the school on Monday 20th February 2012, to visit the children and speak to them about the training she will receive to make her into a fully trained police dog.

The competition received 380 entries, with St Begh’s School being picked at random to receive the visit.

Mrs Louise Northern, the school’s headteacher, said: “We are delighted that Ava will be coming to the school. All of the children are really excited and are looking forward to the visit. It will be a great opportunity for them to learn about police dogs and how hard they have to train.”

Sergeant Mark Yielder, from Cumbria Constabulary Dog Unit, said: “This will be good environment training for Ava. Part of her training consists of her being exposed to different situations so that she does not become frightened or phased by her surroundings.
“This is important for her progression into becoming a police dog. We hope the visit will be an enjoyable and educational one for the children.”

Since the arrival of the puppies and the launch of twitter, @policedogunit, we have received 658 followers. The week the puppies arrived we gained 170 extra fans on facebook in just 4 days, which help us reach over 4,000 fans.

Special Constable of the Year 2012 announced

A Special Constable from Penrith has been awarded with the title, Special Constable of the Year

Rob Ewin from Eden Neighbourhood Policing Team has been nominated by his colleagues for his dedication and commitment to policing the local community.

The Special Constabulary is a team of volunteers who have the same powers as regular police officers who work with and support the police.

Rob has been a Special Constable since 2010 prior to which time he was a Police Support Volunteer in the North Area Crime Management Unit. Rob is now employed by Cumbria Constabulary whilst at the same time volunteers as a Special Constable.

Rob said, “I am extremely proud and delighted that I have been nominated and awarded the Special Constable of the year award and I look forward to working with Cumbria Constabulary, supporting operational policing and my community in the future.
“I am studying Policing (Community Safety) at the University of Cumbria which has focussed and developed my policing skills, knowledge of police legislation and practice. I look forward to graduating with a BSc (Hons) Policing, Investigation and Criminology in 2013. Working as a Special Constable gives me the opportunity to develop policing skills and supplement my studies.”

Rob has ambitions to join the regular constabulary in the future and adds: “Cumbria Constabulary is a must for anyone considering a career in the police. I have ambitions to progress my academic skills and policing career and become involved in some of the Specialist CID work as a Regular Police Constable.”

Special Chief Inspector Paul Cretney, who nominated Rob for the award, said: “I am delighted that Rob has been recognised. As an officer he has developed a great deal and is a valued member of the Eden Neighbourhood Policing Team. Rob has been inventive in resolving issues and has shown total commitment having volunteered for over 1,000 hours since April 2011.”

Inspector Dave Willetts, who is in charge of the policing team where Rob works, said: “Over the past two years Rob has become an officer who can work independently and greatly assists the Eden Policing Team. Only last week he left work early to come and help the public when the weather was bad and there were an unusually large number of car accidents. His enthusiasm and commitment to policing the Eden area is for all to see and he thoroughly deserves this award”

Cumbria Police are currently recruiting for Special Constables if you are interested please contact the resourcing department on 01768 217095 or visit their website www.cumbria.police.uk

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Police in Barrow are appealing for witnesses to what may have looked like a ‘road rage’ incident that occurred in Barrow on Monday 23rd January 2012.

Police in Barrow are appealing for witnesses to what may have looked like a ‘road rage’ incident that occurred in Barrow on Monday 23rd January 2012.

The incident occurred at around 8.20pm on Urswick Green and involved a green Vauxhall Frontera driven by a woman which was seen to ram into a large white van which was stationary and had a man inside. The driver of the Frontera then left the area.

Police officers attended and located a 60 year old woman from Barrow who was arrested on suspicion of affray and criminal damage. Upon attendance, officers also discovered that a domestic incident had occurred before the vehicles got damaged, and the man in the van – a 64 yr old local man - had been threatened with a knife. Fortunately he was uninjured.

Today a 60 year old woman was further arrested on suspicion of attempting to cause Grievous Bodily Harm and dangerous driving. She remains in police custody this afternoon.

Leading the investigation is Detective Sergeant John Carton of Barrow’s Public Protection Unit. He said: “This was a particularly nasty incident which occurred in a residential part of the town and was witnessed by a number of residents.
I am trying to trace some young people who saw this incident as they could be key witnesses to this investigation. I want to emphasise that they are not implicated in this offence - in fact it appears that they have attempted to intervene and prevent the situation from escalating.
“I realise that some time has passed but this must have been quite a shocking incident for someone to see and it’s not the type of sight someone would forget easily, so I’m sure that there are witnesses out there who can help us.
If you were there that evening, please contact me. You could have information that is vital to our investigation so please call us on 101.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Barrow Police station on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Friday, 10 February 2012


This is the gathering of friends and colleagues today to say goodbye to Dave Coverdale, Barrow's Fire Chief, and the 'old' chair of Barrow Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership.

Watch this space to meet Steve Healey, the new Locality Manager for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, and later this month, Lynda Shaw, the new Chair of Barrow Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership.

See Dave....you're gone already!  We'll all miss you, although everyone looks happy on this picture as they wave you goodbye!

South Cumbria Police appeal after series of heating oil thefts

Police are appealing for help from the public to tackle a series of heating oil thefts in the south of the county.

Since January 2012, six heating oil thefts have been reported to police from rural areas of South Cumbria from Chapel Stiles to Milnthorpe. Officers have found that thieves are mostly travelling to properties in isolated and rural areas to steal heating oil from storage containers.

Due to the locations of the thefts and the amount of oil stolen, police believe the offenders must be using vehicles that contain large storage tanks, or many smaller containers.

Inspector Rob Lampard from South Cumbria Police said: “We are investigating six reported heating oil thefts and we are appealing for help from the public to trace whoever is responsible.
“We are appealing for people to be vigilant – especially those who live in rural or isolated areas. Check your fuel supplies on a regular basis and secure the cap of the tank so that any disturbance is obvious.
“Generally, people don’t check their oil supplies on a regular basis so often only discover thefts when their heating stops altogether. This is incredibly frustrating for the victims and makes it difficult to establish the exact period when the theft occurred.
“I am appealing for people across South Cumbria to be vigilant. Please report anyone or any vehicles acting suspiciously around isolated premises, make a note of any vehicle registration numbers and phone police. You should dial 999 in an emergency or if you think you are witnessing a crime in action, or ring Cumbria Police on 101 to pass non urgent information.
“Finally, I would appeal for anyone who is offered, or knows of anyone trying to sell heating oil from a non official supply to come forward. You can pass information to us anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Remains found in December 2000 have been identified

In December 2000 human remains were discovered on Annaside Beach, Bootle and after extensive enquiries, they have now been identified as missing person, John Crawford.

Following the discovery of the human remains on 15th December 2000, an extensive investigation was launch to identify the deceased.

The examination of the remains involved a Home Office pathologist, a senior forensic anthropologist and the Forensic Science Service. A full DNA profile of the deceased was obtained. Cumbria Constabulary liaised extensively with the National Missing Persons Bureau but all enquiries to identify the deceased, over a number of months and years, proved negative.

In the autumn of 2011 the Garda, Ireland’s National Police Service, obtained the personal belongings of John Crawford, who had been missing from Dublin since 17th October 2000. From these belongings it was possible to obtain a DNA. Through the links established between The Garda, NPIA and Interpol the two DNA profiles were compared and a potential match identified.

Cumbria Constabulary was informed and DNA identification was confirmed. The deceased is believed to be John Crawford who was born on 2nd March 1972, who was from the Tallaght, Dublin.

Mr Crawford’s family have been informed by detectives from the Garda’s cold case review team, and enquiries are being conducted by the Garda on behalf of Cumbria Constabulary and the West Cumbria Coroner, who was informed of the circumstances.
Due to this new evidence, the Coroner will apply for the inquest into the deceased to be re-opened. From all of the information available to date there is nothing to suggest the death of John Crawford was suspicious.

Detective Sergeant Colin Edgar, from the Major Investigation Team, said: “From the recent work of the Garda Serious Crime Review Team, in liaison with Cumbria Constabulary we have been able to identify the remains and bring closure to a family.
“Without the hard work, time and dedication of the officers in the Garda Serious Crime Review Team and NPIA missing person bureau these remains would not have been identified.”

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Re-Appeal for Information on Scott Fletcher as Daughter’s Birthday Approaches

As Lucie Fletcher turns five, she will face her first birthday without the presence of her Dad next Tuesday, 14th February.

27-year-old Scott Fletcher was last seen on May 11th at around 8.20pm in the lay-by opposite the Jet garage on the A181 at Wheatley Hill in Durham.

The search for Scott has extended to the Durham, Cumbria and Liverpool areas, as it is believed he has connections there.

Scott’s ex-partner and mother of Lucie, Shelley Marshall, said: “Every day is difficult when we do not know where Scott is. Lucie is distraught and misses her Dad very much. She asks for him all the time and will no doubt be upset on her birthday as she wants to see him.
“We know that Scott would want to be with his daughter on her birthday and we really need some answers as to where he is.”

Scott’s Mum, Julie Fletcher, said: “Scott is a hands-on Father and Lucie still asks for her Daddy. It is out of character for Scott to miss so many milestones such as Christmas and his Father’s and sisters’ birthdays. We desperately hope that Scott gets in touch for Lucie’s birthday.”

Detective Chief Inspector Jon Green said: “Scott’s family have suffered immensely since he went missing and it is especially heartbreaking as his daughter Lucie is only a young girl and she cannot understand why her Dad did not visit her at Christmas or why he will not visit on her birthday.
"As Scott’s whereabouts remain unclear, his family continue to suffer and as more time passes we become increasingly concerned. I am certain that people locally can help us get the answers that Scott’s family so desperately need, and if necessary, those with information can contact police in confidence.”

Anyone with information regarding Scott’s whereabouts is asked to contact Detective Chief Inspector Jon Green of Hartlepool Police on 01642 302110.

You can also give information anonymously by ringing the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111

Road conditions improve but police advise care

The road conditions across the County are improving but the police are asking drivers to remain cautious and drive with care.

There have been over 100 reported road traffic incidents across the County today, and fortunately no-one was seriously injured. The incidents ranged from multiply cars skidding off the road to collisions.

Vast majority of the cars have been recovered now and all of the roads are now open. The A66 reopened both ways and the speed restriction on the M6 has been lifted.

Police are still advising drivers to travel with care and be aware that some roads, especially minor routes, may still be icy. Drive according to the conditions, reduce your speed and keep a safe distance from the car in front.

To keep up to date with the latest weather forecasts, visit the Met Office website: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/

For the latest traffic updates, please visit http://www.cumbria.police.uk/traffic-link-map

97 reported traffic collisions this morning

Police continue to warn drivers about icy conditions as since approximately 5 am this morning (9 February 2012) there have been 97 reported traffic collisions. No one has been seriously injured but police are continuing to warn people to take extreme care when driving on the County's roads.

The following is a snapshot of the incidents which have occurred across the county:
  • At 04:56 am a lorry jack-knifed near to the Stainmore Cafe, Kirby Stephen, the driver was not injured and the road was cleared at 06:14 am.
  • At 06:48 am at Haile, Egremont a Seat Altea driven by a female from Egremont and a Ford Focus driven by a male from Whitehaven were involved in a collision due to the icy conditions, no one was injured.
  • At 07:05 am on the A684 Kendal, multiple cars skidded off the road.
  • At 08:05 am on the A66 Eastbound Penrith near to the Newbiggin Junction there have been multiple cars involved in a collision. No one has been seriously injured, but police officers have closed the road at Darce Road and at the start of the duel carriageway at Kirkby Thore while they deal with the incidents. No further details are available at this time.
All of the County's roads has been affected by icy and the police are warning people to take care on every road. If your journey is not essential, then please do not drive. If you do have to travel, please take extreme care when driving, slow down and keep a substantial breaking distance from the car in front.

The A66 from Stainmore remains closed, the M6 between junction 36 and 38 is only passable with care and a 20 MPH speed limit has been issued, the A590 is passable with extreme care, but there have been wagon's which have jack-knifed at Lindale Hill, which is blocking traffic.

The Met Office have an Amber weather warning in place for ice across much of Cumbria. Throughout the course of today areas of rain and drizzle will edge further south to affect the whole region. Just about anywhere is at risk of icy conditions, especially in more rural areas.

Local residents are asked to take care when walking on pavements, as these are just as susceptible to freezing.

To keep up to date with the latest weather forecasts, visit the Met Office website: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/

Tune in to your local BBC Radio station to keep up to date with road and school closures and other community issues:   http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/stations/cumbria

You can also contact the Cumbria Highways Hotline on 0845 609 6609.

For the latest traffic updates, please visit http://www.cumbria.police.uk/traffic-link-map

Drivers urged to take care on icy roads

Drivers are being urged to take care this morning on the County’s roads with hazardous conditions being caused by ice.

Rain fall overnight and into this morning as caused thick ice on the County’s roads, with over 60 reported road traffic incidents so far across the county.

Police are urging drivers to slow down, drive with extreme care and, if possible, delay journeys.

The A66 from Stainmore is closed due to the conditions and the M6 and A684 is currently extremely hazardous and only passable with extreme care.

Local residents are asked to take care when walking on pavements, as these are just as susceptible to freezing.

To keep up to date with the latest weather forecasts, visit the Met Office website: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/

Tune in to your local BBC Radio station to keep up to date with road and school closures and other community issues: http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/cumbria  

You can also contact the Cumbria Highways Hotline on 0845 609 6609.

For the latest traffic updates, please visit http://www.cumbria.police.uk/traffic-link-map

Safety advice for motorists
• Plan your journey in advance
• Check local and national weather forecasts and tune into local radio stations to check on road conditions and closures
• Tell someone at your destination what time you expect to arrive and ensure you have a charged mobile phone with you
• Make sure you are equipped with warm clothes, food, boots and a torch. In snowy conditions, take a spade
• Clear your windows and mirrors fully before you set off and carry a screen scraper and de-icer

If you have an accident, break-down or become stuck in bad weather conditions:
• Do not use a mobile phone while driving. Stop somewhere safe or ask a passenger to make the call
• On a motorway, it is best to use a roadside emergency telephone because the emergency services and breakdown recovery services will be able to locate you easily. If you have to use a mobile phone, make sure you know your location from the numbers on the marker posts on the side of the hard shoulder
• If you have to leave your vehicle to get help, make sure other drivers can see you

Vehicle maintenance:
• Keep lights, windows and mirrors clean and free from ice and snow – remember also to clear your vehicle roof of compacted snow in case it dislodges while you drive, as this could be dangerous to other road users
• Keep your battery fully charged
• Add anti-freeze to the radiator and winter additive to the windscreen washer
• Make sure wipers and lights are in good working order
• Check that tyres have plenty of tread depth and are maintained at the correct pressure. Consider changing to high performance winter tyres.

Drive according to weather conditions:
• Allow extra time and distance to brake as it can take ten times longer to stop in wet or icy conditions
• Adapt your driving behaviour. Keep in mind the decreased visibility and changing road conditions.
• Slow down and avoid sudden or jerky movements
• When driving on ice or snow use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin
• To brake on ice or snow without locking your wheels, get into a low gear earlier than normal, allow your speed to fall and use the brake pedal gently
• Be wary of satellite navigation systems as they tend to direct you over high rural roads that are likely to be closed or particularly hazardous in winter
• Do not assume that pedestrians have seen you. They may be elderly, young or not be able to hear you
• Do not attempt to cross flooded roads if the water seems too deep
• Drive slowly through water in first gear but keep the engine speed high by slipping the clutch - this will stop you from stalling
• Test your brakes when you have driven through a flood before you drive again at normal speed

Advice on dealing with the thaw:
As temperatures begin to drop, the snow and ice that has built up will begin to thaw and melt. This will make driving conditions treacherous as water sits on top of ice, and again when melt-water refreezes overnight. Drive according to the conditions.

Pipes that have burst as the water inside them freezes and expands will begin to thaw out and may lead to flooding in properties and homes.

Check the Traffic Link section of Cumbria Constabulary’s website (www.cumbria.police.uk/traffic) which is designed to provide information about the current state of Cumbria’s roads and the immediate surrounding areas in relation to road traffic collisions, weather, and delays as a result of incidents and congestion. The information provided is sourced from police and the Highways Agency and is updated every 10 minutes.

Police ask residents to check sheds & outhouses in hunt for missing Mark

Police officers in Ulverston are continuing their efforts to locate Mark Westall who has been missing from home for more than two weeks.

Officers began to scale down the large area searches at the end of last week but officers remain dedicated to the enquiry in the hope of reuniting Mark with his family.

Police officers are re-visiting North Lonsdale Road and the surrounding area over the next few days to conduct leaflet drops with local residents and businesses, urging people to check in any sheds, garages or outhouses in case Mark is sheltering.

Sergeant Mark Lyon Maris said: “Our search for Mark is continuing and we haven’t given up hope of finding him safe.
"We have covered a lot of ground in our efforts to find him over the last 17 days and there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to try and establish his last known movements and any potential places he may have visited.
“We would continue to appeal to local people to be vigilant and keep Mark in mind – if you think you have seen someone matching his description, call us immediately. We are also asking Mark’s neighbours and local businesses to check in sheds and outhouses in case Mark is sheltering somewhere close to home.
“We remain in close contact with Mark’s family and are supporting them as best we can. Mark, if you are reading or listening to this, please contact your family to let them know you are safe. You are not in any trouble – your family are extremely worried about you and want to know that you are safe.”

Mark is described as white, 5' 6'' tall, of a stocky build with dark brown, collar length wavy hair. He was last seen wearing an orange jacket and blue trousers, with a light coloured sweatshirt worn under his jacket.

If you think you have seen Mark or have any information about his whereabouts, please contact Ulverston police on 101 immediately.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Meet your community police officer

Local community police officers will be ready to meet and greet the shoppers of Barrow on Dalton Road next Monday lunchtime, 13th February.

Officers from Barrow's Community Policing Team, along with the Borough Council's Neighbourhood Wardens and the Territorial Army will be on
Dalton Road opposite the Preston Street junction,
from 11am until 2pm.
Please come along and meet your local police community team

Freebies and information will be available on the day.

If you bring your bike along the Neighbourhood Wardens will mark it for FREE.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Are you smarter than the scammers?

Cumbria County Council's trading standards will be cracking down on scam correspondence this month with a Scamnesty campaign. The public are being encouraged to drop off dodgy letters or emails at collection points dotted all around the county so they can be properly investigated.

The drive against scammers will run throughout the month of February and is aimed to raise public awareness of the perils of engaging with companies or individuals who prey on some of the most vulnerable people in society. Scams can take many forms, from fake lottery and prize draw wins, to miracle health cures or ‘get rich quick’ investment cons.

Information collected at the designated bins can help trained trading standards officers obtain valuable intelligence which might assist in preventing more people becoming victims. As well as scam mail which drops through the letterbox, people can also put their scam emails into one of the collection boxes, or alternatively they can report scam emails online at www.actionfraud.org.uk/scam-emails. Consumers can be assured that all material will be treated in confidence.

Local drop off points will be situated in the following locations throughout February:
The Co-op, Market Street, Dalton
Morrisons, The Strand, Barrow
Age UK, Abbey Road, Barrow

Think Jessica
Cumbria Trading Standards also supports the ‘Think Jessica’ poster campaign. The campaign is named after a particularly tragic victim of scam mail. Jessica Looke was in her 70s when she was first scammed into believing that she had won large cash prizes. Her name was put on a 'suckers' list, by the scammer who sent the first scam letter. This meant that her details were sent to criminals all over the world. No one could convince Jessica that the 30 letters received every day were scams, and soon she was sending nearly all of her pension each week to keep up with their demands. It is believed that Jessica sent thousands of pounds to the scammers over five years. Jessica's daughter Marilyn Baldwin, was left horrified watching her mother suffer at the hands of criminals. Jessica sadly died aged 83 and needless to say never received the windfall she was conned into believing she would get.

Jessica's death certificate said the cause of death was pneumonia - but Marilyn blames the mental torment the scammers inflicted on her over the years for damaging her health.

Cumbria Trading Standards hope that the Scamnesty Bins and Think Jessica posters will raise awareness of postal scams and are advising people to think before sending money to claim fake prizes from bogus lotteries, competitions and catalogues. The poster is also designed to appeal to the families of victims and directly to the victims themselves so that they recognise that what they are doing is responding to a scam.

Angela Jones, Cumbria County Council's Trading Standards Manager, said:
"Scam mail can leave people in debt and misery and many of the victims are particularly vulnerable, for example those with age-related declining mental health and dementia, the recently bereaved or people who are socially isolated or over trusting. The cost to the victim can be thousands of pounds, but the emotional effects can be even more devastating. People need to be aware that scam mail can be very convincing and scammers can be very smart – we want Cumbrian residents to prove they’re smarter and bin the scam mail."

Cllr Gary Strong, Cumbria County Council's Cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said:
"I support this Scamnesty campaign and urge residents to help protect vulnerable neighbours or relatives from scam mail. If someone you know is receiving large volumes of scam letters or mail then report the matter to trading standards or the police and help disrupt these criminals who prey on our communities."

For general consumer advice contact Consumer Direct on 08454 040506 or to report a fraud contact Action Fraud UK on 0300 123 2040.

Cumbria police pledge support to National Internet Safety Day

How do you talk to your child about the difference between real and online friends, sexual experimentation and pornography on the internet, or what to do if something goes wrong?

Parents and across Cumbria can be given the answers to these and other difficult questions vital to bringing up children in the 21st Century during an online web chat being hosted by Cumbria Constabulary to mark Safer Internet Day today, 7th February 2012.

The dedicated day-long webchat window will be hosted on the Constabulary’s website, inviting local people to log on and ask any questions about how to stay safe online.

This chat will also be linked into the Constabulary’s Twitter account with officers inviting the tweeting community to direct questions about Internet safety to Cumbria police using #cumbriasafeonline. All questions and responses added on Twitter using this hashtag will automatically appear on the Constabulary’s webchat window.

Cumbria Constabulary’s Chief Constable, Stuart Hyde, is renowned as one of the UK’s leading lights in cybercrime within his role as President of the Society for the Policing of Cyberspace (POLCYB).
He said: “Your child being targeted by a criminal is every parent’s nightmare which is why it is so important to get up to speed with the risks that are out there and the simple steps that can be taken to protect children online.
“The internet opens up a world of opportunity along with a new world of risk. The online world is continually developing so it is important that parents feel comfortable enough to ask questions about technology so that they understand and are able to provide advice to help their children stay safe online.
“Cumbria Constabulary recognises the developing threats that the world of the Internet can pose to the people of Cumbria and we are dedicated to enhancing our own understanding so we can stay one step ahead of criminals.
“I hope that parents and youngsters use the opportunity to ask any questions they may have so that, together, we can try and prevent any young people falling foul of online criminals in Cumbria.”

Cumbria Constabulary will also be using its social networking accounts to promote national Safer Internet Day competitions, inviting young people to log onto the Safer Internet Day website to enter their posters and videos for a chance to win a host of prizes - including a trip to Romania!

The Constabulary will be encouraging people to log on and view a new TV-style show created by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, ‘The Parents’ and Carers’ Guide to the Internet’. This short video takes parents on a journey to the 1950’s and back, exploring the challenges of parenting in an online age.

While the risks to children may be different to those of the 1950s, parenting skills are still as relevant as they ever were. Talking to children about their online lives is one of the best things parents can do to protect them so they can enjoy the opportunities offered by the internet. The show sets out simple practical ideas for parents to make sure their children are protected from risks – which range from cyberbullying to grooming by those who wish them harm – as well as a few surprises about what children get up to online.

With 70% of parents of 12-15 year olds saying they know less about the internet than their children, the CEOP Centre are encouraging parents and carers to not be intimidated by how their children are using technology and to talk about any internet related concerns they have, in conjunction with teachers and schools across the country.

On 7 February, CEOP launches a new suite of resources to make it easier than ever for parents Cumbria to be as good parents online as they are offline. These include:
• ‘The Parents’ and Carers’ Guide to the Internet’, made with the support of CEOP’s partner Visa Europe and which takes an entertaining and light hearted look at what it’s like to bring up children in the online age – featuring practical tips and insights into what your child is up to online. Visit www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents from 7 February to view the show.
• A restyled parents’ area at www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents with updated advice and guidance for parents of children of any age. Thinkuknow is CEOP’s education and awareness raising programme. It’s a great place to start exploring online safety issues with your child.

Peter Davies, Chief Executive of the CEOP Centre, said: “Technology has transformed people’s lives, collectively and individually – in the way we work, communicate and socialise. It is an integral part of modern childhood.
“But the principles of good parenting, in terms of playing an active role in a child’s life and instilling good behaviour haven’t changed. Children have always taken risks but their lives online offer new opportunities for this, and there are some people who will try to exploit the perceived anonymity offered by the internet.
“We appreciate that some parents may feel daunted by the pace at which technology is changing and how its use has become second nature to their children. Our new film guide and other resources will make it easier for parents to take that step towards discussing issues that are crucial to parenting today in a way that is age appropriate.”

CEOP works with a range of industry partners including Microsoft. A new, customised ‘ClickCEOP’ browser developed by Microsoft for Internet Explorer 9 will be available from 7 February. This provides users with the opportunity to customise their browser so they can get direct access to CEOP’s advice pages, as well as being able to report inappropriate contact with their child. There are also links organisations such as the Internet Watch Foundation, Get Safe Online and Beatbullying. The browser is available to download at www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/browser-parents.

CCTV appeal to catch serial charity box thief

POLICE in Lancashire have issued CCTV images of an elderly man they need the public’s help to identify after at least a dozen charity boxes were stolen from shops across Lancashire, Cumbria and North Yorkshire.

The offences have taken place between July 2009 when the Royal National Lifeboat Institution charity box was targeted at the Barclays Bank in Carnforth and most recently on 27th January 2012 when a Childline charity box was stolen from Barclays Bank in Ingleton, North Yorkshire. There was also a spate of offences at Kirkby Lonsdale in Cumbria in November 2011.

Police believe all the incidents are linked and that the person responsible may be using public transport to travel between the various crime scenes.

The man is described as white and aged in his 60s. He is believed to be around 5ft 6inches or 5ft 7inches tall with receding dark hair and usually wears glasses.

He is often captured on CCTV wearing the same medium length camel coloured coat and has previously worn woollen hats, and shirts underneath a jumper.

PC Ben Hanley from Lancashire Police said: “This is a despicable crime and I would urge anybody that recognises this man or with any information about the offences to contact Lancashire Police on 101.”

People with information can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/ . No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Details of the charity boxes stolen are below.

1st July 2009 – Barclays Bank, Carnforth (Royal National Lifeboat Institution)
22nd November 2011 – Harris Pantry, Morecambe (MenCap)
10th December 2011 – Post Office, Scorton (North West Air Ambulance)
17th December 2011 – Cabus Garage, Preston (Help for Heroes)
21st December 2011 – Co-op Travel, Poulton-le-Fylde (MenCap)
21st December 2011 – Booths, Poulton-le-Fylde (Trinity Hospice)

North Yorkshire
6th September 2011 – Barclays Bank, High Bentham (MacMillan Cancer)
23rd November 2011 – HSBC Bank, High Bentham (NSPCC)
23rd November 2011 – Post Office, High Bentham (Bentham Christmas Lights Appeal)
27th January 2012 – Barclays Bank, Ingleton (Childline)

14th November 2011 – HSBC Bank, Kirkby Lonsdale (Poppy Appeal)
14th November 2011 – NatWest, Kirkby Lonsdale (Poppy Appeal)
11th November 2011 – Post Office, Kirkby Lonsdale (Unknown)

Monday, 6 February 2012

Crime figures for Barrow

For anyone who is interested in figures here is the crime picture for Barrow in numbers!

When we look at crime figures we usually compare a period this year with the same period in the previous year.  When we are looking at crime trends we tend to look at figures over a 3 year period.  It is also worht knowing that when we say 'this year' we mean this financial year which runs from 1st April one year to 31st March the following year. 

All these figures below are comparing the crime figures for April 2011-December 2011 with the same period the year before, namely April 2010-December 2010.

*The increase in violent crime is broken down into various sub-categories.  The category 'assault without injury' showed an increase of 48 incidents.  The category 'harassment and public order' had an increase of 27 incidents.  The other categories showed variations of between 1 and 5 incidents.

Hate Crime......
We have seen a reduction in Hate Crime but we know that this does not necessarily mean that there has been a reduction in reality.  If anyone has been a victim of Hate Crime we would urge them to report it.  You can report Hate Crime to the police using the non-emergency number 101.  You can also report incidents via the independent Crimestoppers charity if you want to report a crime but would like to remain anonymous on 0800 555 111. 
In an emergency you should aways ring 999.
And if you are wondering what Hate Crime is......
"A hate incident is where the victim or any other person perceives prejudice or hate to be based on someone’s:

  • disability
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sexual orientation
  • gender or gender identity"
Examples of hate crime are:
  • spitting
  • physical attacks
  • verbal abuse
  • damage to property
  • offensive letters, leaflets, emails and texts
  • bullying and threats
  • abusive gestures
Some incidents are crimes and will be prosecuted. The classification will in no way minimise the seriousness with which police will deal with your complaint.

Anyone can be a victim of a hate crime or incident. If you think that an event – however minor – shows hatred towards disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity, you should report it. You can report in the same manner as any other incident.

The information above can also be found on Cumbria Police's website and the following link will take you to their page on Hate Crime where there is more information on how and where you can report it: http://www.cumbria.police.uk/advice-and-information/reporting-a-crime/hate-crime-and-incidents

The figures above do not include figures for domestic violence which I will post separately next week.

If you have any comments or questions then please feel free to leave them on this blog or get in touch via e-mail: rrawlings@barrowbc.gov.uk or phone us up on: 01229 876475.

Kind regards, Rebecca

Police are investigating after an armed robbery occurred in Barrow yesterday afternoon

Just after 3.30pm on Sunday 5 February 2012, police were called to Marsh Street Stores, Barrow, after receiving reports that a robbery had taken place inside the premises.

A lone female shop assistant was threatened with a knife by a man who demanded money from her. He made off with approximately £200 in bank notes.

He is described as white, between 5’9” and 6’0” tall, in his early thirties and of medium build.

Detective Sergeant John Dilks said: “A full investigation is underway to trace the man responsible for this particularly nasty robbery.
“Fortunately, nobody was injured during the incident but naturally, the woman who was threatened with a knife has been traumatised by her ordeal.
We are very keen to speak to anyone who was in the area of Marsh Street Stores on Sunday afternoon. Did you see someone watching the shop prior to going inside? Or did you see someone running from the shop?
We are particularly keen to speak to two teenage boys who entered the store around 3.15pm. We really need them to come forward as we believe they may be key witnesses in our enquiry.
“The local community are all feeling the effects of this robbery and I am appealing to them to please come forward if they have any information.
“I also would appeal to any local shopkeepers to think back. If you think you may have had a man in your store that matches the description of the person we are looking for and who may have bought something either yesterday or this morning using a large quantity of notes, please contact us.”

Anyone with information that they think could help police is urged to contact Barrow CID on 101 or provide information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.  Crimestoppers will not ask for your name and it is a charity, completely independent from the police.

Derbyshire couple sentenced for defrauding elderly mother’s care account of £30k

A 60 year old woman was sentenced alongside her husband in Preston Crown Court on Friday 3 February for defrauding her elderly mother from Barrow-in-Furness out of almost £30,000 that was provided for her care.

The Judge handed 60 year old Janet Anne Lakhani of Snitterton Road, Matlock, Derbyshire a 36 week prison sentence which is suspended for two years, alongside her husband, 50 year old Amyn Abdullah Hasham Lakhani of the same address who was handed the same punishment. They were both also given a two year community order and 200 hours unpaid community work.

The sentencing follows a complex investigation that took place over the course of twelve months by financial investigators from Cumbria Constabulary. It began after Cumbria County Council failed to receive sufficient financial returns to show where the money they provided for the care of Mrs Lakhani’s mother was being spent. Mrs Lakhani’s mother was aged 86 and based in Barrow-in-Furness in 2008 when Cumbria County Council began the independent payments for her care.

A criminal investigation undertaken by Cumbria Constabulary uncovered evidence that Mr & Mrs Lakhani had created false invoices and made fraudulent withdrawals from her mother’s care account to the value of £29,671.83. Officers also discovered that the couple had applied for credit cards in her mother’s name and run up balances of £17,000.

They were arrested on 15 March 2011 and later charged. Consequently, the couple pleaded guilty on 21 October 2011 to two charges - fraud by false representation to gain £29,671.83 and, conceal/ disguise/ convert/ transfer/ remove criminal property, namely £29,671.83 by means of cash withdrawals, money transfers, cheque and card payments.

DC Cath Rogerson said: “This was a complex and challenging investigation that focused on funds that were provided for the care of an elderly and vulnerable woman from Barrow-in-Furness.
“Suspicions were raised after Cumbria County Council failed to receive sufficient returns on funds that were provided for the independent care of Mrs Lakhani’s mother.
“Our enquiries revealed that sadly, the elderly woman’s own daughter and her husband - Mr and Mrs Lakhani - had fraudulently obtained almost £30,000 from the care account. Further inquiries showed that they used this money to fund their own lavish lifestyles rather than investing it in the care of a relative who needed it.
A Proceeds of Crime order was also made and the £29,671.83 will be paid back to Cumbria County Council within the next 28 days.
“Police, along with partner agencies, are dedicated to protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities. We will do everything we can to keep them safe and will pursue those who target them and bring them to justice before the courts. Cumbria Constabulary is also committed to tracing assets belonging to the defendants so that they can be used to pay back victims of crime.”

Friday, 3 February 2012

Cumbria Police pledge to ‘Stand by’ people with a learning disability

Cumbria Police today signed up to Mencap’s ‘Stand by me’ police promise to show their commitment to ending hate crime against people with a learning disability.

Mencap launched the ‘Stand by me’ campaign during Learning Disability Week 2010 and has called on police services to commit to a police promise that will help make sure people with a learning disability can live their lives free from the fear of crime.

The ‘Stand by me’ charter consists of ten points of best practice that will complement their existing work to support people with a learning disability. This has included working with Eden Mencap and People First to host a Hate Crime Conference, which focussed on disability hate crime. This is due to be replicated countywide in the spring. Smaller workshops have also taken place to identify hate crime and the process in place for reporting incidents, and trainee police officers regularly complete projects with local care homes and charities to ensure they understand the issues faced by people with a learning disability.

Alongside the policing promise Mencap will work with officers to develop practical guidance and spell out the adjustments they need to make to sure they can support victims with a learning disability.

ACC Michelle Skeer
Assistant Chief Constable Michelle Skeer said: “It is the job of the police to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, and by signing up to Mencap’s ‘Stand by me’ pledge, we can make sure our service is tailored to the needs of people with a learning disability.
“We don’t want anyone to suffer in silence, so if you or anyone you know has been a victim of hate crime, then contact police immediately, so that we can support you and bring offenders to justice.”

David Congdon, Mencap’s head of campaigns and policy, said: “Many police services are doing good work, and their response is getting better. Other services are still failing to support victims of disability hate crime. Through the ‘Stand by me campaign’ we want to make sure that all police services are following the example set by the best services. We welcome Cumbria Constabulary's commitment to constantly strive to uphold these standards and help end disability hate crime in a generation.”

For more information on the 'Stand by me' campaign and charter, and to show your support, www.mencap.org.uk/standbyme

Birmingham loan shark jailed after failing to pay back to the courts

A convicted loan shark has been sentenced to two years in prison after falling to pay back the cash he had profited illegally.

Hudson Obetoh, 54 of Sutton Coldfield was ordered to pay back the full amount he made through the illegal business to the courts at a hearing in June 2010. This totalled more than £163,000. He was warned that failure to pay would leave him facing a jail sentence.

However having paid back less than £7000, he appeared again at Birmingham Magistrates Court last week and was ordered to serve 726 days.

Obetoh ran ‘Cash Operators’ on Lozells Road in Aston. When officers from the England Illegal Money Lending Team, which is hosted by Birmingham City Council, searched the business in September 2008, they found loan agreements and payment records along with a passport, computer, camera and MP3 player, all of which belonged to Obetoh’s customers.

A subsequent search of his home found £6,500 in cash as well as more items belonging to his customers including passports, travel documents, computers and jewellery.

Obetoh would confiscate his customers’ passports as security for the loans. He would then charge them £35 to take them out of the bank vault; despite the fact they were just kept in his home. He even refused to return one woman’s passport after she had repaid her loan, as her husband had not yet paid off his £1000 loan.

Obetoh was convicted of charges of deception, acquiring criminal property in 2009 and given a 12 month suspended sentence for the first two offences and a 22 week suspended sentence for the later, along with a 200 hour community service order.

Councillor Neil Eustace, Chair of Birmingham City Council’s Public Protection Committee, said: “Loan sharks will not be tolerated in Birmingham, as this case exemplifies. We will continue to tackle those who cause fear and misery in our communities and would always encourage people to steer clear of these criminals at all costs. We would urge anyone who has fallen prey to a loan shark or knows of any illegal money lending activity which is taking place to contact the England Illegal Money Lending Team in the strictest confidence on 0300 555 2222”

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Police searching for missing Ulverston man turn to online community for help

Police officers supporting family members in the search for missing Mark Westall have turned to the online community for help.

Mark Westall
Officers in Ulverston, Barrow and the South Lakes area have been searching for 44 year old Mr Westall on behalf of his family for 8 days and, as the search continues today, they have turned to their Twitter followers and Facebook friends for help.

Today’s search is concentrating on the area of the disused railway line just north of Plumpton House in Ulverston after it was confirmed that a jacket discovered there by the Duddon-in-Furness Mountain Rescue Team dog yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 31 January) belonged to Mark.

Kevin Spedding who is the policing Inspector for the Ulverston area said: “Our priority over the last week has been to find Mark safe and well so that he can be reunited with his friends and family. Our efforts today centre around the Plumpton area where a team of around 15 officers from Cumbria Constabulary and British Transport Police are thoroughly searching the area after Mark’s jacket was discovered in the area.
“Mark has been without money, a change of clothes or his medication for a week now which adds to his family’s worry about his safety and wellbeing.

Mark – you are not in trouble with the police and you haven’t done anything wrong. Your parents and friends are so worried about you and have asked us to help them find you. Please, if you see this, contact your mum or your family so that they know you are safe.”

Police officers have turned to Twitter to boost their appeal and are asking local people to help them start ‘trending’ #helpfindmark.

Inspector Spedding continued: “Over the last week we have been searching, issuing posters and speaking to local residents in a bid to establish Mark’s whereabouts and despite some information coming into us from the public, we are yet to find him.
“We hope that if local people start re-tweeting our appeals then this additional branch of our search will help to spread the word and generate more information from the public. Hopefully this will help us to reunite Mark with his family.”

He is described as white, 5' 6'' tall, of a stocky build with dark brown, collar length wavy hair. He was last seen wearing an orange jacket and blue trousers, with a light coloured sweatshirt worn under his jacket.
If you think you have seen Mark or have any information about his whereabouts, please contact Ulverston police on 101 immediately.