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Issue 1 June 2019

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CELEBRITY SCAMS 3

‘Jason Statham conman took thousands off me’ FRAUDSTERS prey on a person’s gullibility regardless of their age and many of them claim to be a celebrity to give their claims more credibility. It’s happened to money expert Martin Lewis, who had to take legal action in the end to stop his name being used by a criminal on Facebook. Piers Morgan, Oprah Winfrey, Cher, Jennifer Aniston, Robert De Niro, Candice Bergen, Will Smith, Anne Hathaway and even Steven Spielberg. But this is the tip of the iceberg. Now there’s a warning to women in Great Britain to beware of a caller claiming to be Hollywood actor Jason Statham who has already fleeced one woman out of thousands of pounds. Because many victims never come forward because of the embarrassment it is difficult to know how many people are tricked by these scams. Without doubt though it is in the thousands and people should be on their guard when dealing with ‘strangers’ or ‘celebrities’ on social media. The victim of the Jason Stathamscam, who asked not to be named, said she was targeted at a vulnerable time following the deaths of both her mother and fiancé. “I'm quite a strong person but obviously certain things get to you and you let your guard down," she said. The woman said she was first contacted online by someone posing as Mr Statham while she was on a Facebook page dedicated to the Fast and Furious star. “I thought 'Oh, that's nice of him, talking to his fans'. I might have been star-struck then, I don't know," she said. The fraudster then encouraged her to use the encrypted WhatsApp service, sending her hundreds of messages over several months. The woman said it felt like she was build-

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ing a relationship with the actor, although looking back "I don't feel like I was in the right place myself because of what I'd been through". The fraudster posing as Mr Statham told her he loved her and eventually asked her to help with some financial difficulties, claiming a film payment was delayed. She then made a series of payments to the fraudster, totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds. While the woman declined to say the exact figure she transferred, "it was a substantial amount, which would have made a difference to my life and my family". Eventually, she contacted the police Economic Crime Unit who said: “This lady has been subject to somebody who just tricked her at a very vulnerable time in her life. “When you see the relentless messaging that this lady got from this person and you see the grooming and the exploitation... the impact is extraordinary. "The amount of people that report fraud is probably about 5-10% of the amount of people who actually are victims. “Fraud is an epidemic. We've got big problems that we're trying to tackle.” There were an estimated 3.6 million fraud offences in England and Wales in 2018. The latest Crime Survey for England and Wales shows it is much more likely for an adult…to experi-

ence fraud than a violent offence. The survey results, published by the Office for National Statistics, suggested 6.6% of adults, just over 3 million people, had experienced some form of fraud in the year ending December 2018. Police have been unable to prosecute anyone over the Jason Statham fraud because it is believed he is operating from overseas and is probably part of a criminal network. If you think that you have been the victim of online fraud or identity theft, you can report it to Action Fraud, the

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national fraud reporting service.


4 WATER SAFETY ALERT

Reservoirs spell danger

Hanningfield Reservoir is fine for ducks to swim in but there are hidden dangers for youngsters

AS summer begins to get into full swing Essex & Suffolk Water has issued safety advice for people tempted to play in or around water during the warmer months. The company is warning people of the dangers they face when they attempt to swim in its reservoirs. The operational sites have many hidden dangers underneath the water. These can include unknown depths, extremely cold water, machinery and really strong underwater currents as the water is pumped from the reservoir through to the water supply chain so even the strongest of swimmers can get into serious difficulty. Don Coe, Essex & Suffolk Water's Waterside Parks operations manager, said: “We want people to have fun and enjoy the sunshine, but not at the expense of their own safety and that of their friends and family. “Learning to swim really can save your life and, while swimming pools are the safest places to swim, there is always the temptation to have fun wherever there is water, such as reservoirs or lakes. “This is especially true during periods of warm weather. “Essex & Suffolk Water has a 'no unauthorised swimming' policy in place on all of its reservoirs. “Reservoirs are operational assets, which contain unseen hazards that have the potential to be life threatening if water sports, including swimming, are not car-

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ried out by authorised clubs and personnel. “People are also often not as aware as they should be of issues such as cold water shock. This can prove fatal as people's bodies react to the temperature change and they lose their ability to respond and save their own lives.” Essex & Suffolk Water has two major reservoirs - Hanningfield and Abberton. Hanningfield is 3.5 miles) long and covers an area of 1,000 acres. The maximum depth of the water is 30m at the dam. Abberton is one of Europe’s top wetland sites and attracts thousands of visitors.

Having fun at Abberton Reservoir

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Safety advice The company's nine point checklist of safety precautions advises: • Take notice of any safety advice or warning signs, such as, no swimming signs, a red flag or "danger deep water" signs. • Always accompany children. Stay close to the group you are with and stay in sight at all times. • Never go near water if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs - this is the number one cause of water -related deaths. • Stay clear of strong currents, weirs, rapids and reservoir edges. • Watch out for slippery banks, soft sand and rocks. • Messing around can be dangerous don't splash water at other people or push them over. • Never go deeper than welly height when playing in rivers as the strong current can easily knock you over. • Cover any cuts and scratches with water proof plasters. Weil's Disease can be caught from rat urine. • Learn to swim - it could save your life. More information at: www.eswater .co.uk/your-home/learn-about-water/ water-safety.asp

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DATING FRAUD 5

Trying to find romance online could cost you thousands IF you’re looking for love online then the latest police statistics should make you think again about trying to find Mr or Mrs Right on the internet. One victim reports dating fraud every three hours according to the latest national figures from City of London Police. On average fraudsters ask their victims to transfer money within one month of first contact. Almost half (45%) of victims indicated that dating fraud had a ‘significant’ impact on their health or financial wellbeing. The average amount lost by a dating fraud victim in the UK is £10,000 New multi-agency partnership created to work with the Online Dating Association to reduce the number of people who fall victim to dating fraud Every day, seven reports of dating fraud are received by Action Fraud – one every three hours – an increase of 32% over a two year period. In less than one month - 30 days - of contact, the average victim of dating fraud will make their first transfer of money to the fraudster, demonstrating how quickly and easily these situations can escalate, and will lose £10,000. On average it takes only nine more days before a report is made to Action Fraud about the fraudulent activity.

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Our advice 1. Get to know the person, not the profile and ask plenty of questions don’t rush into an online relationship. 2. Check the person is genuine by putting their name, profile pictures or repeatedly used phrases and the term ‘dating scam’ into your search engine. 3. Talk to your friends and family about dating choices. Be wary of anyone who tells you not to tell others about them. 4. Never send money to someone you’ve met online, no matter what reason they give or how long you've been speaking to them. 5. Don’t move the conversation off the dating site messenger until you’re confident the person is who they say they are.

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Nearly £40m was lost through dating fraud with 3,889 reports made in total. However, evidence suggests that this doesn’t accurately represent the true scale of dating fraud due to the embarrassment felt by some victims of fraud which can discourage them from coming forward to report their experience. Almost half of victims who reported to Action Fraud said that the crime had a ‘significant’ impact on their health or financial wellbeing. Victim Support and Age UK along with the City of London Police, London Metropolitan Police (FALCON) and Get Safe Online will, in a first for the UK, all work in partnership with the Online Dating Association. Their aim is to better understand how fraudsters operate and how they can most effectively share safety messages to users of online dating sites and apps with the aim of reducing the numbers falling victim to fraud. The partnership will bring together leaders from multiple sectors: technology; law enforcement and the charity sector, working together collaboratively for the first time. They will also widely publicise five #datesafe tips across their websites and social media platforms for users of dating sites and apps.

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6 FLIGHT DELAY PAYOUTS

Don’t delay, cash in now By Peter Faulkner AS we are building up for one of the busiest times for holiday travel, it is worth remembering that if you are on a flight that arrives at least three hours late there could be money waiting for you to claim. Not only that but if you have been delayed any time in the last six years there’s money to be collected. I know from personal experience that this works because I have recently received £1,120 fromThomas Cook Airlines for a delayed trip to Tunisia three years ago. You may be able to claim compensation of between £200 and £480 for each person affected thanks to a European Directive and two recent High Court judgements. Compensation for delayed flights can be on a sliding scale, depending on distance and length of delay First, the High Court has decided unanimously that airlines could no longer use

technical issues as an excuse for not paying compensation. The European Directive, which makes the compensation rules, gives airlines a get out clause for what it calls 'exceptional circumstances'. And many airlines have been claiming technical issues with their aeroplanes exceptional circumstances and refusing to pay compensation for the delays they cause. But ithe Court of Appeal decided in a case against budget airline Jet2 that technical issues were part and parcel of running an airline and that the delays they caused could in no sense be 'exceptional'.

The judgement released thousands of claims which had been held pending the court case and many travellers have already received thousands back in compensation. But the Court of Appeal decided unanimously that local UK law prevailed and claims could go back for six years. If you're travelling with an airline based in the EU or with a non-EU based airline flying from an EU airport, then you're protected by the Denied Boarding Regulation. The regulation states that the airline has an obligation to offer you assistance if your flight delay is expected to go beyond a certain point. If you're travelling with a non-EU based airline flying from a non-EU destination, the airline doesn't have the same duty to look after you. Check the airline's Condition of Carriage to see what compensation you are entitled to.


HAJJ FRAUDSTERS 7

Muslim festival-goers are warned about ticket scam EVERY year more than two million Muslims, many of them from Essex and London, celebrate Hajj by making the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in August There are thousands of them who will have saved for years in the knowledge that, for them, this will be a once-in-alifetime trip.

exist while others will find that their whole trip is a scam set up by bogus travel operators who have disappeared with thousands of pounds of their money. In response to this on-going threat the City of London Police, the UK’s policing lead for fraud, has launched its annual national Hajj fraud prevention campaign to try and prevent heartbreak.. HOW TO SAFEGUARD YOURSELF Muslims shop around for the best deals, often in their  Do your research. Don’t book without carrying out some basic checks on your travel own community, and are agency/ tour operator. A recommendation does not guarantee the authenticity of the outfit. attracted by what appear to Go online and run a search on the travel company to see how they are rated. be good value for money  Make sure your travel company is a member of a recognised trade association such as offers. Individuals often pay in ABTA. All ABTA members have to follow a code of conduct and meet rigorous entry criteria, cash or make a direct bank minimising the chance of fraudulent companies joining. You can verify a company’s ABTA transfer, but very often their membership at abta.com/go-travel/before-you-travel/find-a-member. travel documents never  If you are booking a flight-based package make sure your travel company is ATOL protected arrive. by the Civil Aviation Authority. If the travel company closes down whilst you are in Saudi Don’t suffer in silence or Arabia your return air ticket should still be valid but you will probably be asked to repay for feel embarrassed about your accommodation. You can claim this cost from the CAA as well as a refund of your coming forward. It is very money if you have not travelled yet. important that you report  Get everything in writing. Always get written terms and conditions as this details your conthe crime to Action Fraud tract with the travel company. Make sure your flight details, accommodation and Hajj visa on 0300 123 2040 or at are valid. www.actionfraud.police.uk  Establish an auditable paper trail and keep records of financial transactions.  Do not pay the travel company by cash or by direct bank transfer into an individual’s account. Most legitimate companies will have facilities with a bank to accept credit or debit cards. If it’s a fraudulent you won’t get your money back.

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Unfortunately as Hajj approaches there will also be a significant number of Muslims who have paid for a tour package for themselves and their family only to discover their dreams have been shattered by fraudsters. Some will arrive in Saudi Arabia to discover their accommodation does not

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9 Think you need work doing? Follow our advice to make sure you don't fall victim to a rogue trader.  Choose a ‘Buy With Confidence’ accredited trader  Obtain several quotes  Get written quotes detailing exactly what work will be carried out, how much it will cost and what the terms of payment are.  Take your time to make sure you’re happy with what you’re undertaking  Ask a trusted friend/relative for advice  Ask to see identity A genuine trader will not:  Call without an appointment  Ask you or offer to take you to the bank to withdraw cash or make a money transfer  Ask you to pay in full before the work is complete  Insist that you decide about the work they're offering to do on the spot  Bully or scare you into doing the work www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for useful leaflets to share with your friends and family. Don’t take chances, follow our advice and stay safe.

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Fake tree surgeons should get the axe THE weather is getting better and you may be thinking about tidying up the garden and getting trees cut back, but be on your guard. Essex Trading Standards has seen an upsurge in leaflets through the door offering gardening and tree services, often using leaflets with fake or incomplete address details. This is not the best way for legitimate traders to advertise and can result in very poor workmanship, overcharging and links to distraction burglaries. Tree work (arboriculture) requires a high degree of technical competence, supported by training and experience.

For these reasons tree work should only be carried out by competent arborists, working to nationally recognised standards. They will be pleased to supply copies of their insurance, qualifications and professional memberships. Many will be Approved Contractors of the Arboricultural Association. Tree surgeons operating without licences or qualifications are putting you in danger. Do your research first and do not deal with traders who cold call at the door as happened in the following case. CASE STUDY ‘An older lady living alone responded to a flyer received through her door to trim/remove large conifers from her garden and was quoted £2,500. The flyer only contained mobile numbers and a trading name. When the trader and his workforce visited she felt pressurised to agree as they wanted to start immediately. He insisted on cash upfront which she agreed to.

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Once started, she was told there was an additional £3.75 per kilo charge to remove the waste and asked for an additional £2,750. Family intervention stopped this additional payment, but the job was only partially completed with waste scattered everywhere when the 'trader' walked off the job. A quote from a reliable trader was £1,800 in total including waste removal.’ Check the trader is a licensed waste carrier and will dispose of the waste correctly, as this time of year always sees an increase in fly tipping garden waste. To be sure at the door, follow the advice in our advice column.

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10 ESSEX POLICE NEWS

Chip hits the jackpot

Charity bike ride ESSEX Police assessment officer Steven Lawrence is gearing up to cycle from his home in Harlow to Rome this month to raise money for a suicide prevention charity. Steven, (pictured above) a member of the public protection team, aims to cycle almost 1,500 miles through six countries during a month’s annual leave to raise money and awareness about CALM (The Campaign Against Living Miserably) a leading charity that helps to prevent male suicide. He will be cycling alone from Harlow in June where he’ll hop on the ferry to Calais and from there he’ll make his way through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, then Switzerland before reaching Italy. To sponsor Steven in his fundraising efforts, visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/StevenLawrence8

Peak of success ONE of the Essex volunteer police officers braved the elements to conquer Everest base camp in Nepal while flying the ‘thin blue line’ flag. Special Constable George Longhurst from Chelmsford flew to Kathmandu to trek 5,364 metres above sea level to challenge himself while showing the world how proud he is to be a police officer. The 19-year-old Special and soon to be Police Constable wanted to do something different to challenge himself and took the flag with him to represent police officers in the UK. He spent the next two weeks trekking at high altitude and reached the South Base Camp.

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POLICE Dog Chip hit the jackpot earlier this year when his super senses led officers to uncover £720,000 of cocaine hidden in a van which saw a man jailed for nine years. Chip and his handler PC Luke Pitchford were called to search a suspicious van that had been stopped on the A130 at South Wodham Ferrers. Chip, a mixed breed who came from the Dogs Trust in Basildon, followed his nose to a hidden metal compartment. Using his super senses, Chip persistently indicated that something was hidden in what looked like an empty professionally fitted metal store. The van was taken to Harwich International Port where it was x-rayed and six kilograms of cocaine and 35 grams of cannabis were revealed. This find led to a 25-year-old Jake Layzell, 25, of Newland Street being jailed for nine years at a hearing at Basildon Crown Court.

Backing dementia AS part of this year's Dementia Action Week last month, officers from Uttlesford's local and community policing teams have recently undertaken training to get a better understanding of dementia and how they can help and support those who live with disease. Statistics show that in comparison to the UK average, Uttlesford has a higher percentage of older people living in the district. Whilst dementia isn't exclusive to the elderly community, it mainly affects people over the age of 65 with the likelihood of developing dementia increasing significantly with age. With this in mind more than 25 officers from Uttlesford took the steps to become 'Dementia Friends' by taking part in a Dementia Awareness course run by Dementia Action Alliance. The officers learnt about what it's like to live with dementia and how they can communicate better with, and help, those who have the illness. Community Policing Team officer, PC Helen Stewart, who arranged the training for her colleagues said: "Having dementia can be a frightening and confusing experience and it's important for officers to know how we can best help

those people who have the disease. "Our aging community means that the likelihood of officers getting called to an incident involving someone with dementia is increased and therefore understanding how people with the disease may feel and react to a situation, can help us to make them feel reassured, less distressed and ultimately ensure their safety." "We wanted to build upon schemes which are already in place, like the Herbert Protocol, which encourage those looking after people with dementia to complete a form with information, which will be useful to police." added PC Stewart. "We are very much hoping to continue our work with Saffron Walden Dementia Action Alliance and increase the number of Uttlesford officers who become ‘Dementia Friends’." For more information about Dementia or to become a Dementia Friend visit: https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/ For more information about the Herbert Protocol visit: www.essex. police.uk/herbertprotocol.

It’s payback time A FRAUDSTER has been ordered to repay more than £580,000 to his victims. Jeffrey Gadsden stole £700,000 from clients at Walkers Professional Property Management Ltd. He was the sole director of the firm, which went into liquidation in 2013, and police believe he used the money to pay wages and prop up his failing business. The 69-year-old was summonsed to court in May 2017 following a complex investigation by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate. Gadsden, formerly of Bear Street, Nayland, stood trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court and was convicted him of eight counts of fraud by abusing a position of trust and jailed for five years. A confiscation hearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court heard Gadsen had earned £700,000 from crime. Based on his available assets, he was ordered to pay £580,747.99 to his seven victims. If he fails to repay by August 1, he will face another five years.


ESSEX POLICE NEWS 11

Hitting new heights SEVENTEEN officers from Essex Police Dog Section raised more than £5,000 for retired canine colleagues after conquering the Welsh three peaks in just 17 hours. The team spent their day off climbing the three main summits in North, Mid and South Wales to raise money for the Essex Retired Police Dogs Fund, an independent registered charity set up and run by volunteers to help towards veterinary and welfare costs associated with caring for retired police dogs to ensure our canine colleagues enjoy the retirement they deserve. The team set themselves the challenge of walking 17 miles with a total ascent of 2,334 metres in just 24 hours last month. After battling the elements, they conquered the three highest Welsh mountains Snowdon, Cader Idris and Pen y Fan in just 17 hours. Through their fundraising page, the team has raised more than £4,000 and

has raised a further £1,000 through other fundraising efforts that will go towards helping their four-legged friends live out their retirements enjoying a welldeserved rest. One retired police dog who will benefit from the Essex Retired Police Dogs Fund is, RPD Baloo, a two-year-old Belgian Malinois who served with us from March 2018. She sadly had her career cut short after sustaining life-changing injuries. Baloo and her handler, PC Ross Ashcroft, were deployed to a theft of a motor vehicle incident in October 2018 where Baloo was struck by a vehicle after a number of cars made off from the scene. Baloo was left with a broken pelvis and a badly broken front leg which had to be amputated. Due to the nature of Ross’ role, he was unable to keep Baloo and with a heavy heart, looked for a loving home for Baloo to enjoy a well-earned rest. She is now with new owners.

Essex Police raised £5,000 for their canine colleagues

Tim’s in charge CHIEF Constable BJ Harrington is pleased to announce that, following his recent promotion in Kent to the rank of Assistant Chief Constable, Tim Smith (above) will be the new Head of Serious Crime Directorate for Essex Police and Kent Police. Essex Police Chief Constable BJ Harrington said:”I would like to congratulate Tim on his appointment to ACC for the Serious Crime Directorate and I am confident that he will continue with the positive leadership both T/ACC Fordham and ACC Nick Downing have shown in the role. “Continuing to work with Kent to tackle the range of harm and offending that SCD focuses on is a critical part of both our forces’ fights against crime.” Chief Constable Alan Pughsley said:”I am delighted that Mr Smith is to lead SCD. Having led this directorate myself I know the challenges it poses to any new leader. “I am confident that Tim, with his wealth of experience and the respect he commands across this force, plus the good relationships he has forged with Essex, will be a welcome asset to SCD Command and the leadership team in both forces. “I also want to thank our temporary ACC Rob Fordham who has led SCD incredibly well for many months now, during a period of complexity and demand.”

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LEISURE P3 Issue 1 June 2019

LEISURE P6

LEISURE P7

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A NEW code has come into effect to ensure that victims of complex bank scams are reimbursed. More than 34,000 cases of authorised push payment (APP) fraud were reported in the UK in the first half of 2018, with bank customers losing £145 million. In the majority of these cases, banks refused to return the lost funds to customers because they had authorised the payment after being tricked by scammers. But a campaign by consumer groups and an investigation by the Payment Systems Regulator has finally persuaded the top banks to establish a voluntary code to tighten their security. The code also ensures that victims are reimbursed when neither the bank nor the customer is to blame for the fraud. Criminals are stealing around £1 million a day via social engineering, in which they groom and manipulate people into transferring money from their bank into another account. Often the fraudster will contact a customer by phone, text message, email or social media pretending to be a genuine organisation, such as a bank, the police, a utility company or a government department. The scammers often claim there has been suspicious activity on a bank or card account and use a sense of urgency to persuade victims to act immediately. In other forms of APP, fraudsters have hacked into business email accounts and sent out fake

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Cashback code will save you heartbreak

invoices with altered bank details. A third popular type of scam is fraudulent investments. Victims have lost their life savings in these scams, with one Essex couple losing £120,000 when they sent money to what they thought was their solicitor’s bank account. Rachel Duffy, chief executive of PayPlan, says: “Being a victim of financial fraud can have disastrous consequences for people, often resulting in long-term money problems and even bankruptcy. “It’s a frightening and distressing experience, which can really affect people’s mental wellbeing, particularly if they’re already vulnerable.” Until now, banks and payment service providers have been reluctant to refund

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victims of APP fraud, saying that the responsibility lies with the customer who authorised the payment. But now a new voluntary code of good practice will take effect, which will be backed up by a pot of money to reimburse genuine victims. The burden of proof will now be on banks rather than customers and they will have to prove that a customer acted carelessly when they were scammed. For example, if a customer ignores warnings when setting up a new payee it could still be argued that they were negligent. Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC, RBS and Metro banks have all signed up to the code, and Santander and Nationwide have also agreed to join, according to the Payment Systems Regulator. Katy Worobec, managing director of Economic Crime at industry body UK Finance, says the code means that customers will be reimbursed when their bank or payment service provider is at fault as long as the customer “has met the standards expected of them under the code”. The funds will come from the sending or receiving bank depending on which is at fault.

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Skin cream may be a killer

HIGHLY flammable skin care products, that have contributed to a series of fatal fires will finally be label as a fire hazard following lobbying by London Fire Brigade. Their study showed that 10 people died in fires in 2015,2016 and 2017 where emollient creams have been noted as a contributory factor in the spread and growth of the fire. Following a campaign by the Brigade and the NFCC, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has recommended that labeling and product information for certain emollient products include a warning about the fire hazard and clear advice not to smoke or go near naked flames. Many commonly used moisturising products, or emollient skin products, contain ingredients like paraffin or petroleum and are highly flammable. These products are widely used by elderly people and those with mobili-

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ty problems, and help with conditions like eczema, or to prevent bed sores. Emollients are an important and effective treatment for chronic dry skin conditions and people should continue to use these products but for far too long the fire risks associated with these products have been not widely known. Assistant Commissioner Dan Daly said: “This announcement will help spread awareness of the risk and make it easier for people to check the products they are using. “But as well as clear labeling in order to ensure no more lives are put at risk we urgently need carers, nurses, care homes to be educated and trained about the very real risk these creams pose. “The creams soak into bedding and bed clothes and a dropped cigarette can be enough to set a person and their bedding alight and spread very quickly.”

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What steps can carers and healthcare professionals take to ensure people are safer? Below are eight steps you can take to protect yourself. • Speak to a GP and/or pharmacist about possible alternative products that may be more suitable for the patient’s circumstances • Carers should discourage users of emollient products from smoking unsupervised, especially if they could become confused or fall asleep while smoking. • Never smoke in bed • It’s very difficult to wash the product out as it seeps into material so clothing and bed linen should be washed daily on a hot wash to prevent a potentially hazardous build up of paraffin or petroleum residue. If dressings are used with an emollient, they should be changed daily. • Be aware of the risks for people who also have an airflow mattress which can act as a blowtorch if it comes into contact with a flame, intensifying the fire. • Seek a Home Fire Safety visit from your local fire service. Firefighters can identify fire risks and offer advice on staying safe. • Quitting smoking is the best option but switching to vaping poses a much reduced fire risk. • Use fire retardant bedding and night clothes.

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THIS month we are looking at setting up power of attorney and what it means to individuals and families. Simply, if you want to give one or more people the power to completely manage your money and property if you lose mental capacity, that is Power of Attorney. That is, if you can’t make decisions for yourself – you have to set up a permanent power of attorney. The people who will manage your finances are called your ‘attorneys’, and they’re usually friends or family members. Setting up a power of attorney is a big step. You should make sure you understand all the implications, and you might want to get advice from a solicitor. What’s in a name? A permanent power of attorney has different names in different parts of the UK: England and Wales: lasting power of attorney; Scotland: continuing power of attorney; Northern Ireland: enduring power of attorney How you get them and what they cover differs slightly, but the principles are the same wherever you are. When to think about setting up a power of attorney You must have the capacity to make your own decisions when you set up a power of attorney. And if you get it set up now, it’s there if something happens to you suddenly like an accident or a stroke. Setting it up doesn’t mean you have to give up control. Choosing your attorney Your attorney should be someone

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Get the power and take over control you trust. For most people, that’s their husband, wife, partner, another family member or a close friend. Your attorney could also be a company, for example part of a bank – but that usually costs money. You might want to choose more than one attorney. If you do, you can say whether they need to make decisions jointly (a good idea if you want two opinions on your finances) or whether each can decide things without the other (good for spreading the load). You should also choose at least one replacement attorney who would take over if your attorney died or could no longer act for you. If you are older and the people you choose are all the same age as you too, they might not end up being the best people to act for you if and when you need their help. Types of lasting power of attorney There are two types of lasting power of attorney: A property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney lets someone manage all your financial affairs – for example, running your bank and savings accounts, managing your tax affairs, and buying and selling investments and property. A health and welfare lasting power

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of attorney lets someone make decisions about your health, care and welfare – for example, what medical treatment you receive and whether you move into a care home. You can set up one or both. Setting up a power of attorney You can get the forms and guidance you need to create a lasting power of attorney online from the agency that deals with your part of the UK. These are different for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. They’ll check that the forms have been completed accurately and that any special rules you’ve asked for – for example, restrictions on what the attorney is allowed to do – are practical.If there are errors or problems they’ll return the form to you. When you fill in the form you’ll usually need to write down some friends or family members who should be told about your application. This is to give other people a chance to object. If everything goes smoothly the whole process takes several weeks. Registration and costs It costs nothing to draw up a lasting power of attorne and the fee is £82 in England and Wales.

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Take care of pets in the sun

SUMMER is on our doorsteps and that could mean rocketing temperatures offering the opportunity for family fun. But have your considered your pet in extreme heat? Well, to make sure you look after your dogs during the summer,here's some handy tips from the Blue Cross animal charity. Heatstroke in dogs Dogs can suffer fatal heatstroke within minutes. Unlike humans, dogs can’t sweat through their skin and so they rely on panting and releasing heat through their paw pads and nose to regulate their body temperature and keep cool. Imagine wearing a thick winter coat on a hot summer’s day and you’ll understand why dogs succumb to heatstroke so easily. Signs of heatstroke in dogs include collapse, excessive panting, and dribbling. If you suspect your pet is suffering from the condition, move them to a cool place, preferably with a draught, wet their coat with cool - not freezing - water, and contact your vet immediately. Once a dog shows signs of heatstroke the damage is often already done, which is why it’s so important to prevent it. Dogs in hot cars Dogs succumb to heatstroke quickly.

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As above, they cannot sweat in the same way that people can and cannot keep cool as easily as we can. A car can become an oven very quickly even when it doesn’t feel that warm. When it is 22°c outside - within an hour - the temperature in a car can reach an unbearable 47°c. Never leave a dog in a car, even for a moment. "Not long" is too long. Can I smash a window to free a dog from a hot car? If you see a dog in distress inside a car, official advice is to dial 999 immediately and ask for the police. A dog in distress in a hot car is an emergency and the police will advise you what to do based on the situation. Depending on the severity of the situation, the police may break into the car to gain access to the dog, or they may advise you to do this. If you decide to break into a car without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage and you may be taken to court. Call the police using 999 and tell them what you intend to do and why. Take pictures and/or videos of the dog in distress and the names and phone numbers of witnesses. How to keep a dog cool and prevent heatstroke Make sure your dog has access to

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clean water at all times, ideally a large bowl filled to the brim. Carry water and a bowl with you on walks. On hot days, walk your dog during the cooler parts of the day, in the early morning and late evening Watch your pet for signs of overheating, including heavy panting and loss of energy. If you recognise these signs when on a walk, stop, find a shady spot and give your dog water. Never leave your dog (or any pet) alone in a car, even with the windows open Make cooling tasty treats by making ice cubes with your dog’s favourite food inside or stuff a Kong and pop it in the freezer Be extra careful with short nosed dogs such as bull breeds, boxers, pugs, older dogs, and those that are overweight. These dogs can get heatstroke simply by running around. Summer skin and coat Pale-coloured dogs are vulnerable to sunburn, particularly on their ears, noses and sparsely haired areas. Sun damage can lead to skin cancer which may require extensive surgery – even amputation in severe cases. Sunlight can also make existing skin conditions worse, particularly if your dog has allergies.

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CICAR - top marks from customers

GOLDSTAR - bottom of the pile

FAMILIES jetting off to the sunshine could find themselves forking up to £190 for car insurance policies worth just £30 when they arrive at their destination. Car hire companies have been accused of ripping off customers by charging customers up to seven times the rate of basic car insurance for a week’s cover. Research from comparison website TravelSupermarket found that some car hire rental companies are charging £190 for a policy that covers against damage and theft for eight days - 579% more than stand-alone policies available online. TravelSupermarket says it is a “scandal” that car hire companies are charging these excessive amounts for excess waiver policies at the desk when people arrive to pick up their car. Emma Coulthurst, the company’a consumer advocate, saaid: “It is not an accident that these policies tend not to be able to be purchased on the car hire companies’ websites but have to be bought on arrival. “The lack of transparency suggests that the companies are wanting you to not compare policies before your trip but be sold the policies at extortionate amounts, once you’ve arrived tired from your journey and are a captive audience.” If you have an accident driving when you are abroad, you usually have to pay an excess towards the cost of the repair, which can be anything between £500 up to £2,000. Excess waiver policies can reduce this amount to zero and are available online for as little as £3.49 per day. TravelSupermarket compared the costs of insurance from the major car hire rental companies with the cheapest stand-alone policy online. It found that damage and theft excess cover at the Hertz pick-up desk for a Seat Leon would cost £189.93 to insure at Barcelona El Prat airport even though rental costs were £253.47. This is seven times as much a stand-alone policy at £27.96. At Alicante airport in Spain, Avis charged £175.88 to insure the same car, £146.72 more than the specialist poli-

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HERTZ - insurance policy shock

Insurance costs ...just a rip-off cy and nearly as much the £183 to hire it. Cover with Budget at Palma airport in Majorca costs £180 for eight days’ cover, £152.04 more than a standard policy online. The research also found that in every case the car hire companies charged extra for tyre and windscreen excess cover whereas the stand-alone policy included it. An Avis Budget UK spokesperson says: “Customer service and transparency of fees is of paramount importance to us. “We provide standard cover with all rentals, as well as the optional choice of additional cover that reduces excess and gives our customers peace of mind during the rental experience. “Customers are always welcome to use their own providers if they so wish. In addition, for complete transparency, we encourage all customers to review items and charges highlighted in the contract before signing, and to ask our highly trained rental agents if they have any questions.” A similar survey by Which? magazine into car hire abroad found that budget operator Goldcar was rated the worst holiday car hire company for the fifth time in six years, receiving a car-crash customer score of just 39%. Which? found that the best companies were CICAR in the Canary Islands, Auto Risen and big player Enterprise. So if you’re planning to hire out a car during your holiday abroad, make sure you do your research first so that you don’t get hit with unexpected charges.

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Allotment life...time to plan ALLOTMENTS are wonderful things, but they must be cared for and nurtured in order to get the best out of them. The type of soil you have, the way the sun hits your plot and direction of the wind will all play a part in the types of plants you’ll be able to grow. It is often worth having a chat with some of the longer established allotment holders as they will know instantly what does and doesn’t work on your site, thus saving you time and effort. If however you need to clear your site of weeds before you can even see the soil, then we recommend not using a rotavator as some weeds, particularly the more persistent (couch grass, docks, nettles, bindweed) will be chopped up and will spread and multiply as a result. It may seem tedious, but cut your weeds back to stubble height and then dig them out, also regularly hoeing in dry weather is the best way to kill off weeds. Traditionally allotments are set in rows, on a three year crop rotation system (brassicas, roots and then ‘other veg’), but today the style of allotment planting is much looser – with people choosing to mix up their beds, breaking up the formality of the rows. It is really up to the gardener to choose what works well for them, but the notion of rotating your crops is worth sticking to – as it helps to keep the soil in good condition and certain types of pests and diseases at bay. It is also worth considering what type of crops you intend to grow, as some will take years to establish and will need a bed to themselves for the duration of their life. If your soil isn’t ideal, or you’re not sure the land you’re growing on has been treated well in the past, then raised beds are an excellent option. They allow you to access your crops easily, especially handy for weeding and watering and you can choose the type of soil you want to grow in.

Jobs for July July is usually one of the driest months, so watering can be essential. To help with this, hoe regularly to break up the soil and remove weeds. Water in the cool of the morning or evening. Harvest Keep up with the harvesting of all crops because the allotment is now in full production. Lift early potatoes and carry on earthing up the rows. Harvest garlic and shallots as the foliage begins to become yellow and strawy. Pick the first of the early tomatoes. July is the start of globe artichoke season. If your plant is into its second year then cut off the top bulb once big and swollen with a couple of inches of stem attached. Lift autumn planted onions for immediate use. Continue to pick rhubarb until the end of the month and begin to harvest the main crop of your strawberries. Start to pick plums, early pears and apples.

Sowing and planting Start sowing the seeds of the overwintering crops of kales, spring cabbage, radicchio, chicory, spinach beet and a hardy type of onion to mature in the early summer of next year. Now is the best time to sow the main crop of carrots to avoid attack from root fly. Continue with successional sowings of beetroot and lettuce. Plant out the last of your marrow, pumpkins, squashes, overwintering cabbages and leeks. Cover with netting to help protect them from the birds. General Aim to keep the hoe moving at every opportunity. Water all crops at least once a week. Start to draw the soil up around the base of Brussels sprouts and sweet corn plants to encourage extra roots. Pest and diseases This is the start of potato blight season, and if the weather is wet and humid in July then your crop is likely to be at risk. You can use fungicides containing copper to help protect your crop from the blight; these should be sprayed from June onwards if a wet July is predicted. (Crop rotation the following year is advisable). An infected plant will have a watery rot on its leaves, causing them to collapse – the infected matter should be binned or burned and not placed into your compost, as this will not kill the disease and it will reoccur the following year. The main pests are aphids, cabbage white butterfly caterpillars and pea moth. Spray to control the aphids and pea moth with an insecticidal soap brought from the garden centre. Use the biological control of a pathogenic nematode, Steinernema carpocapsae, (trade name Nemasys Caterpillar Killer) to kill the caterpillars. (The other bio control often cited is Bacillus Thuringiensis, but unfortunately this is not available to amateur gardeners.) www.nsalg.org.uk/wp-content/uploads /2012/05/NAW-2017-eventsv6.pdf

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Essex Community Watch magazine  

Essex Community Watch magazine is published every six weeks and offers residents information and advice on how to stay safe from scammers, f...

Essex Community Watch magazine  

Essex Community Watch magazine is published every six weeks and offers residents information and advice on how to stay safe from scammers, f...

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