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WatchOut Herts edition

Where reputation matters

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Part worn tyres may be cheap but they could end up costing you your life

Cheap tyres are KILLERS By Staff Reporter MOTORISTS trying to save money could be dicing with death by buying dangerous second-hand tyres, with as many as 83 per cent of used tyres in some areas being sold illegally, warn councils. Part-worn tyres are being sold with serious safety defects, unsafe repairs and incorrect labelling, with some used tyres on sale found to be 23 years old, according to council Trading Standards teams across the country who are cracking down on irresponsible businesses flouting the law. The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, is urging motorists buying second-hand tyres to check they are in good condition and bear the required 'PART-WORN' tyre marking. The stamp lets drivers know that the tyre has been checked and meets legal requirements. Latest government figures show there were 16 people killed and 908 road casualties – more than two a day – in reported accidents in the UK in 2015 where illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor. With research showing that around 4.5 million part-worn tyres are being sold in the UK

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every year, the LGA is warning sellers of illegal used tyres they face confiscation of their stock and prosecution which could lead to a hefty fine and a prison sentence. The warning follows recent operations by council Trading Standards teams. They include: Brent and Harrow Trading Standards officers found that only two of 12 (17 per cent) used tyres bought from 12 different traders met legally acceptable standards, while at least six of them had defects that could pose a serious safety risk if they were put back on a car. A trader is being prosecuted as a result. Durham County Council officers found that only one of 39 (2.6 per cent) tyres stocked at various dealers bore the required 'PARTWORN' tyre marking, with 25 tyres having problems that could impair safety. Ten tyres had unsafe repairs, nine were over 10 years old and one was 23 years old Enfield Trading Standards bought several part-worn tyres from local businesses and found half of them to be unsafe, with 83 per cent of the tyres not having the required ‘PART-WORN' stamp applied to them before being exposed for sale. The LGA is advising motorists to avoid buying dangerous second-hand tyres and urging traders to comply with used tyre laws. Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the LGA's

Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “The prevalence of dangerous used tyres for sale at some businesses is alarming and irresponsible traders are putting lives at risk. “Cheap part-worn tyres might be tempting to buy but if they don't have the correct legal markings, motorists risk buying illegal tyres which could contribute to a major accident. “Motorists buying used tyres should go to a reputable trader and check they have ‘PARTWORN' stamped on them as without this mark, they are unlikely to have been checked and the retailer is breaking the law. They should also look out for any cracks, tears, lumps and check the state of the thread before buying. “It's also worth looking at how good a deal used tyres offer. New tyres are available to suit all budgets, provide a safer option and should last longer, meaning they may offer better value for money in the long term. “Trading Standards teams nationwide will continue to advise traders on their responsibilities, carry out test purchasing and won't hesitate to prosecute anyone selling unsafe used tyres. Anyone who suspects that part-worn tyres being sold do not comply with legislation should contact Trading Standards via Citizens Advice on 03454 040506.



Home and away Hospice cheated by crooks DOROTHY House Hospice Care has become the latest victim of scammers after the charity was fleeced out of £130,000, which could have been used to pay for three full time specialist nurses, by a "sophisticated" phone call. The attack on the Winsley-based charity, which provides compassionate care and support for people with terminal illnesses, was branded despicable by chief executive John Davies. The money, which came out of the charity's general funds, is equivalent to four-anda-half days of running costs or three full time specialist nurses. “We are fortunate to be in a strong financial position - we spend £12.5m on health and social care costs every year - so this figure is less than one per cent of our running costs," said Mr Davies. "However this money has been given to us in good faith and I am determined to tell them that we will scrutinize everything."

Fake Budweiser factory A FAKE Budweiser factory producing counterfeit beer has been uncovered by cops in Dongguan, China.. The famous beer brewery is an international brand but that makes it prey to bootleggers wishing to cash in on the name. And now footage has shown the innerworkings of a factory where cheap booze is packaged up as the American beer. In the first clip, female workers can be seen handling the recycled cans which are then canned by a machine on a conveyor belt in the next clip. Then, the third clip shows a Trade and Industry Bureau taskforce arriving at the factory to check out the products at the factory According to city authorities, the under-

ground factory was able to churn out 600,000 crates of fake Bud a month, which were then distributed to bars and nightclubs. Budweiser has become the third largest beer brand in China and has 14 breweries there.

Isle of Wight Against scams THE Isle of Wight Council Trading Standards service has launched the Isle of Wight Against Scams Partnership to present a united front against fraudsters. They’ve launched a charter which aims to: •Raise awareness and destigmatise scams •Prevent and protect •Identify and record •Enforce, seek access to justice and restore a sense of wellbeing and confidence to victims Dr Keith Brown, a Professor of Social Work at Bournemouth University, leads the national research team for Trading Standards: “Scammers play on victims who are usually lonely and we do need to think about loneliness in our society. “Isolation and loneliness is a terrible … curse, evil, problem, and we are only beginning to really understand the impact on people. So we do need to think about our neighbours, our relatives, our friends around and make sure they’re not lonely.”

Dance star jailed FORMER Dance Moms star Abby Lee Miller is going to prison for a year and a day after being sentenced on Tuesday in a Pittsburgh federal courtroom over fraud charges. The reality television star received the sentence after she had been indicted on 20 counts of fraud related to hiding $755,000 in earning from the U.S. government last year. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Melucci told the court that Miller went from being a 'dance mom in the bankruptcy case to dance con.' Dance Moms is a reality series on the Lifetime network, which follows the early training and careers of children in dance under the guidance of Miller as their dance instructor.

Barclays shamed BARCLAYS has the worst record for unfairly rejecting fraud claims, a study found. Its customers made around 5,800 complaints to the Financial Omdbusman about card fraud and disputed payments from April 2015 to February 2017. In more than a third of cases involving Barclays, the Ombudsman found the bank had wrongly rejected the customer’s complaint. Santander was next worst with 33 per cent, while Nationwide Building Society was third, with 28 per cent, according to consumer group Which?


Card fraud victims should be refunded unless the bank proves the customer acted negligently — by sharing card details, for example. But not all banks do this.

White collar crooks A NEW app and website called White Collar Crime Risk Zones , which goes by the initials WCCRZ, shows exactly what neighbourhoods are occupied by financial criminals, how much damage they're doing and even what they might look like. Using data from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a team of technologists affiliated with the left-wing magazine New Inquiry created the open-source tool so that anyone can put a face on the world of white collar crime hidden in their own home town. The app was created in the image of socalled "predictive policing" apps — the new spectrum of apps and tools used by police to map out where crime is likely to occur so they know what neighbourhoods to patrol.

Jude’s mum scammed ACTOR Jude Law's elderly late grandmother was conned out of £60,000 by cowboy builders, who conned elderly and vulnerable householders into paying huge bills in what a judge describes as "merciless deceit in their own homes." Retired biology teacher Meinwen Parry, in her 80s, from Bangor, Mr Law's grandmother, had memory problems, and was defrauded of £60,900. An 84-year-old former caretaker who had health and mobility problems was also swindled out of his £656,000 life savings for unnecessary and substandard roofing work Caernarfon crown court heard Builder Steven Jones, 38, a professional roofer from Llangefni, who admitted fraud, was one of those involved and was jailed for eight years.

Filthy takeaway fined AN INDIAN restaurant and takeaway in Newport which was given a zero hygiene rating after a rodent infestation has been fined more than £33,330. Duldul Miah, owner of the New Delhi in Caerleon Road, which is now closed, and his company Doleshori Ltd appeared at Cwmbran Magistrates Court where both pleaded guilty to 10 food hygiene offences and two of failing to display a valid rating sticker. Mr Miah was fined £11,570 and his firm £21,760. Newport City Council’s environmental health team found an established and widespread rodent infestation and cleaning and disinfection across the business was poor and the building was poor .

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Barbecues can be fun, but they can also be dangerous if you don’t take proper safety precautions

Top tips for barbecue safety FIREFIGHTERS are telling families across the country to make the most of the summer sun and enjoy family barbecues...but they offer a serious word of warning. Following incidents where people have been badly burned by using petrol to get the barbecue started, fire chiefs have issued advice to keep everhyone safe. During the summer months, it's only natural to want to be outside, enjoying a barbecue with family and friends. But there are dangers that lurk behind such fun pursuits. Using petrol to light your barbecue or leaving it unattended are two of the most common mistakes people make. Every summer this results in firefighters being called to fires caused by barbecues that have got out of control. In some instances, this has led to serious injuries and damage to property. A top ingredient for a great barbecue is to make sure that you cook with safety in mind. Barbecue safety advice nNever leave the barbecue unattended nKeep a bucket of sand or water nearby for emergencies nEnsure the barbecue is cool before attempting to move it

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nDispose of barbecue coals carefully and only when completely cooled nKeep your barbecue well away from trees, shrubs, fences or sheds nNever use petrol or other accelerants to get your barbecue started Barbecue tips Charcoal barbecues nMake sure that your barbecue is in good working order nMake sure the site chosen for the barbecue is flat and well away from sheds, fences and overhanging branches and other foliage nUse only enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbecue to a depth of about 50mm (two inches) nUse only recognised fire lighters or starter fuel, and only use on cold coals. Use the minimum quantity necessary to start the fire nKeep children and garden games well away from the cooking area nNever leave the barbecue unattended When the cooking is finished, make sure the barbecue is cool before trying to move it nEmpty the spent ashes onto bare garden soil nNever put ashes straight into a dustbin or wheelie bin

Gas barbecues - these use bottled gas, so follow these simple rules: nMake sure the tap is turned off before changing the gas cylinder nChange gas cylinders in the open air if possible, otherwise open doors and windows to provide good ventilation nIf you suspect a leak in the gas cylinder or pipework brush soapy water around all joints and watch for bubbles nIf you find a leaky joint, try to tighten it, but do not over-tighten nDo not keep more spare gas cylinders than you need nStore gas cylinders outside (protect from frost and direct sunlight) nDo not store gas cylinders under the stairs of your home. If you are upstairs this is your means of escape from a fire nWhen you have finished cooking with a gas barbecue, turn off the gas cylinder before the barbecue controls, this makes sure that any residue gas in the pipeline is used up Enjoy yourselves, but remember... excessive alcohol and fire are a lethal mix



HERTS NEWS IN BRIEF Get off your bikes POLICE in Hatfield are warning anyone who rides a motorbike or moped in an antisocial manner at the quarry on Symondshyde Lane, that vehicles of repeat offenders will be confiscated. Over the past couple of months police have received over 20 reports from members of the public about people riding motorbikes or mopeds around the quarry. Not only are those responsible causing a noise nuisance to the residents who live close to the location, they are also putting themselves at risk of injury as the area is not a safe location designed to facilitate this type of activity. Also, as the quarry is private land the riders are also illegally trespassing. To tackle the problem, police officers from Welwyn Hatfield’s Safer Neighbourhood Team have put on extra patrols around the area. A 13-year-old boy was also caught by officers riding an off-road bike in the quarry with his father and both were given a warning. PC Balal Miah, from Welwyn Hatfield’s Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “Riding mopeds and motorcycles on bridle paths, footpaths and areas such as the quarry can be quite a typical occurrence during the spring and summer months and causes a nuisance to local people, which is unacceptable. “We will not tolerate this behaviour and anyone caught involved in this activity is seriously running the risk of having their vehicles seized.” If you are experiencing antisocial behaviour in your local area, it’s important to report it to police via the non-emergency number 101 or contact one of the officers on your local Safer Neighbourhood Team.

Judge halves sentence ACROOK who tried to break into the home of an 88-year-old woman, just months after being released from a long jail term, has had his sentence halved. Glen Lawrence, 27, had only been out of jail for 12 weeks, after being handed more than five years for a drugs conspiracy. He tried to force the back door of the pensioner's home in Ashwell, near Royston, in December 2015. Lawrence, of Letchworth, was jailed for three years at Cambridge Crown Court earlier this year, having been convicted of attempted burglary. But Lady Justice Sharp, sitting at London's Criminal Appeal Court, cut that sentence in half to 18 months. The judge, sitting with Mr Justice Popplewell and Judge Melbourne Inman QC, heard how Lawrence damaged the pensioner's patio doors in a bid to raid her house while she was out. The 88-year-old had been left "shaken up" by the incident and later took steps to beef up security at her home, the court heard. Lawrence, who has 27 previous convictions, was "released on licence less than three


months before committing this burglary," said the judge. But she concluded: "The gravity of this offending as a whole is properly reflected in a sentence of 18 months and, to that extent, this appeal is allowed.

Marijuana factory raided POLICE have seized £15,000 worth of marijuana after discovering a cannabis factory in Stevenage. A total of 160 cannabis plants were found at a house on Oak Cross when officers entered the property after receiving intelligence from members of the public. The plants are estimated to have a street value of at least £15,000. Police have released a CCTV image of a man they would like to speak to as part of their enquiries. If have any further information that could assist the investigation, please contact Hertfordshire Constabulary via the non-emergency number 101, quoting crime reference number E1/17/4064.

Justice for plonkers TWO men have been sentenced to more than nine years in prison for fraud. Fraudsters Onur Kemal Aslan, 30, of Mapleton Crescent, Enfield and Abu Hanza (Mas) Bin Khalek, 30, of West Close, Hoddesdon, ran companies which targeted vulnerable and elderly victims interested in investing in wine. The scams were run under the cover of two outwardly separate, but intrinsically linked businesses: Clarex Wines and Permas. These companies were a cover for the wine fraud, run as ‘legitimate’ businesses, with some employees seemingly appearing to think that they were working for genuine wine investment companies. In reality the victims were convinced to either invest their life savings in wine, which never existed, or to transfer their existing wine assets to these bogus companies, which were subsequently sold without the victims’ knowledge and the proceeds stolen by the offenders. Aslan was sentenced to six years and six months and Bin Khalek to two years and seven months, at St Albans Crown Court, after both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud charges.

Pickpockets to be deported TWO women who were jailed for a series of purse-dipping offences are to be deported. Viorica Calescu, aged 44, and SimonaCarmen Barabas, aged 42, both of Chester Close in Luton, were arrested for purse-dipping (pickpocketing) offences, which occurred in St Albans, Harpenden and Watford, during February and March this year. They were jointly charged with: •Stealing a purse from underneath a pushchair at 4.20pm on March 17, 2017 in Boots in St Peter’s Street, St Albans.

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•Stealing a purse from a coat in the back office of JoJo Maman Bebe in Church Green, Harpenden, on March 7, 2017. •Stealing a purse in Poundland in High Street, Watford, on February 28, 2017. •Stealing a £400 mobile phone from a woman’s pocket in M&S in High Street, Watford, on January 31, 2017. Calescu was additionally charged with: •Stealing a purse from a woman in Sumpter Yard, St Albans. •Handling stolen goods in relation to receiving a stolen bank card on February 16, 2017. Following their conviction both women, who are from Romania, were told they would be deported. Earlier this year, Calescu was sentenced to 58 weeks imprisonment and Barabas was sentenced to 40 weeks imprisonment. They were both also ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge. The decision to deport them was made by the Home Office after officers from Hertfordshire Constabulary carried out checks with international partners that revealed that the women had a history of prolific offending overseas. PC Shaun Woods, from the St Albans Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “Due to their overseas offending and their convictions here in the UK these women have lost their right to live here.”

Guilty of child sex offences A DRAGON’S Den contestant accused of multiple child sex offences faces a prison sentence after a jury found him guilty at St Albans Crown Court. The allegations related to four different girls and the court heard how Richard Hazell, 48, of Plumpton Road, Hoddesdon, had 2,957 indecent images of children on various laptops and computers he owned. Hazell, who is self-employed and runs his business 365 Drills from home, was arrested on in August last year for sexual offences committed against a young girl on August 19. The girl’s father complained to social services and police visited Hazell’s home to interview him and his wife, who is divorcing him. Prosecuting, Tim Forster read out a search made on Hazell’s computer on August 30 last year, which said 'can you be found guilty for downloading child porn if the files are deleted on your computer'. This search was entered on the only laptop police had not seized on his arrest on August 22 last year, when only one allegation was made, relating to an incident at his house on August 19 when he allegedly touched a primary school-aged girl inappropriately. He was convicted of 13 charges: two of sexual assault on a child under 13; two of sexual assault; one of taking indecent photos of children; seven of making (downloading) indecent photos of children; one of making an indecent pseudo photo of a child. He was cleared of two offences of sexual assault on a child under 13and was remanded in custody for sentence on July 7.

Four examples of how flytippers are blighting our countryside and the streets of London

The cost of dumping rubbish By Peter Faulkner THE rising cost of clearing up fly-tipped rubbish is putting pressure on local authorities struggling with funding problems. Some 70% of local authorities say fly-tipping is a major problem, according to a poll commissioned by Keep Britain Tidy. It comes as a separate Ipsos MORI survey shows that over a third of people (36%) said they thought it was OK to do things legally defined as fly-tipping. More than 50% of local authorities who said fly-tipping was a major problem think that changes – including the increase of bulky waste charges and closing recycling centres have contributed to the problem. Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton said increases in waste disposal charges and closing recycling centres had

contributed to an increase in fly-tipping. “We know that local authorities are at their wits' end trying to tackle the growing crisis of dumped rubbish," she said. “There is a real challenge here to educate the public that not only is it not OK to fly-tip, it is illegal and can result in a substantial fine for householders and a criminal record." The Ipsos MORI nationwide survey revealed that 47% of people don't know that they're responsible in law if their waste is fly-tipped by a third party. Some 36% of people think it is acceptable to get rid of an unwanted sofa or mattress in a way that is legally classed as fly-tipping. The latest figures show there were more than 900,000 reported fly-tipping incidents in 2014/15 – costing local councils in excess of £50million a year to deal with.

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Keep Britain Tidy has launched an action plan to tackle the blight of fly-tipping to raise awareness that people have a legal duty of care to dispose of waste properly. To deliver this plan, the group wants councils and waste contractors to join their experts to tackle fly-tipping at local level where communities are being hit. Keep Britain Tidy is also are calling on the government to direct revenue generated through the landfill tax to local authorities to support a free collection and recycling service. It says this would enable local authorities to remove charges that might be contributing to increases in fly-tipping. Currently, the maximum fine for fly-tipping in the magistrates' court is £50,000 or 12 months in prison but 95% of the fines issued are less than £1,000.

Where reputation matters



NEWS in brief GP trafficked woman

Shock crime figures

GP Ayodeji Adewakun, 45, and her husband Abimbola. 49, a nurse, have been jailed for trafficking a woman to the UK in order to exploit her. Ayodeji was sentenced to six months' imprisonment for one count of trafficking, Abimbola was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment for one count of trafficking. The pair were each also ordered to pay £10,000 in compensation to the victim and £2,520 to cover court costs. The couple had brought the 29-year-old female victim to the UK from Nigeria to work at their home. She was contracted to work from 7am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, looking after the Adewakuns' children for £500 per month. In reality they didn't pay her anythinguntil May 2009 when she complained.

Tasers to fight crime ABOUT 1,800 more London police officers will be armed with Tasers to boost public safety following rising crime and violent crime including the recent terror attacks. The move will arm about a quarter of all officers with the stun guns, with more than 6,400 of the capital's 27,000 officers using the devices. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has linked the boost to an increase in violent crime, including knife crime, as well as increasing assaults sustained by officers in recent years. However, she did not specifically mention the terror attacks which have shocked the country for their violence and involved knife crime, including the stabbing death of one officer.

Fighting budget fraud TWENTY European member states have decided to establish a new European public prosecutor's office in a bid to speed up the fight against budget fraud. The European Parliament will now have to give its consent to the plan. Once in place, the independent EU public prosecutor will be given the power to investigate and prosecute criminal cases affecting the EU budget, such as corruption or fraud with EU funds, or cross-border VAT fraud. Every year at least 50bn of revenues from VAT are lost for national budgets all over Europe through cross-border fraud. Transnational organised crime is making billions in profit by evading national rules and escaping criminal prosecution. Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger, in charge of budget and human resources, said: "We are strengthening our efforts in protecting taxpayers' money

Latest statistics show that moped crime is on the increase

THEFTS by moped-riding gangs are partly behind the largest increase in police-recorded crime in ten years, latest figures show. Statistics released by the Office for National Statistics for England and Wales showed that almost five million crimes were recorded in the year to March 2017, a 10 per cent rise on the previous year. Among this was a 7 per cent rise in theft, including a 20 per cent rise in theft of a vehicle and a 10 per cent increase in shoplifting. Reported influences of motor theft reached 91,433, an increase of more than 15,000 from the previous year and the highest level since 2011. Bicycle theft increased by 9 per cent and there was also a 21 per cent increase in "dine and dash" offences, which rose from 64,538 to 77,917. The ONS said that a recent increase in moped crimes in cities such as London could be behind some of the rise in theft. Pedestrians have reported having their mobile phones snatched from their hands as they walk on the pavement by thieves riding mopeds. Last month drivers protested against a spate of attacks by other moped riders, including a

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recent flurry of acid attacks on delivery drivers in east London. Five of the attacks took place within 90 minutes. Moped drivers were doused with a corrosive liquid by attackers who pulled up alongside them. Two teenagers aged 15 and 16 were subsequently arrested. The figures also showed a 20 per cent rise in knife crime and a 23 per cent rise in gun crime. The police-recorded figures were released alongside figures from the crime survey for England and Wales, which showed a seven per cent drop. The survey data records people's experiences of crime and does not include offences such as homicide, sexual offences, shoplifting, harassment, public order, drug and weapon possession. Separate statistics released today show that police numbers have fallen to the lowest level in 30 years. A Home Office report showed that there were 123,142 officers in England and Wales at the end of March this year - the lowest number since 1985.

Where reputation matters

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New free app is making communities safer and linking friends and neighbours

Sign up to be safe and h-appy IT’S late at night and Rachel is walking home from the tube alone. She sees a large, rowdy group of men blocking the footpath ahead. She feels nervous. She pulls out her phone which already has her Trygve Personal Safety Alarm activated and hovers her finger over the ‘Send Alarm NOW’ button. One tap, and she could instantly alert everyone in the area that she’s in trouble and needs assistance. One street away, Trygve-user Tony would receive Rachel’s alarm as a push notification on his phone. Over the road, Mark and Jennifer would also receive Rachel’s alarm on theirs. A street away, 10 other households containing Trygve users would receive the alarm. If necessary, Rachel could have a collection of supportive neighbours at her side within minutes. The power of active neighbours is already proven through crime-reducing initiatives like Neighbourhood Watch. Even in today’s busy society, trends in social media show that neighbours still want to connect and support each other. But what if we could go further than just socialising? What if residents could collaboratively work with each other, local police and

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councils to make their neighbourhoods the safest they can be? Communities across London are having success doing exactly that. On several occasions, residents and police working together using Trygve has led to the arrests of local criminals. But no matter where you live, Trygve can be downloaded and operated in your area making the district safe for you, your family, your friends and neighbours. One example was when a resident used her local police-led group in Trygve to report that a known suspicious car had turned up in her street and the passengers were doing drugs. As she watched the police arrive, she noticed one of the suspects quickly hide something in a nearby garden. She alerted the Trygve group again, which included the police on scene, telling them to check the garden. The police searched the garden and found a dangerous assault weapon, leading to the suspect’s arrest. “Several arrests would not have happened without Trygve, said PC Tom Curtis of Hackney Police. “Trygve gives us instant information, but also allows us to have a more positive relationship with our residents. “It also allows the community to appreciate

and support the work that police do,” The Trygve app works in real time, meaning crime can be reported and actioned as it happens, informing people at the time of the incident, rather than afterwards. Incidents (‘events’) can be posted on the map by any Trygve user and users collaborate on the events together. Communication can be to the public, to selected groups or direct to local organisations. “We see a great potential for Trygve in London, especially in the intra-watch communication area and the multitude of watches yet to be. Anything that binds communities is actively encouraged by us,” London Community Watch Trust chairman, Mark Glazer, said. The Trygve mentality believes that everyone within a community can be helpful and supportive resources. If residents are informed and equipped with the right tools, they are empowered to support each other and work together to keep their neighbourhoods safe. Trygve is completely free for private users and available on iOS, Android and computers. Join now and be part of the new supportive digital environment sweeping the country and making communities safer.


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Katie Piper, scarred after the attack by her boyfriend

Naomi Oni, attacked near her home in East London

The truth about acid attacks RECENT acid attacks on innocent members of the public have suggested that this is a new and ugly phenomenom about to hit the country. But almost 1,500 acid attacks were reported in Britain between 2011-2106 proving that this is a growing problem that needs addressing. Even school children as young as 13 have been using corrosive substances as weapons. Crime statistics show that there was more than 450 acid attacks in London alone last year, with the number of attacks in the capital more than doubling since 2014. Between 2011 and 2016, there was almost 1,500 reports of attacks involving corrosive fluids in the capital. There were 431 attacks in 2016 alone, compared to 261 the previous year. In London, The borough with the most acid attacks was Newham which had three times more attacks than the next highest borough, with a total of 398 attacks from 2011 to 2016. The borough in second spot, Barking & Dagenham, had 134 acid attacks between the same period while the lowest number of acid attacks took place in Lambeth and Kensington and Chelsea, which has 15 acid attacks each between 2011 and 2016.

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But experts say the real figure is much higher, with the true scale of the problem hidden because people are afraid to come forward. The news comes after assistant chief constable Rachel Kearton, the National Police Chiefs Council spokesperson on corrosive attacks, said many victims are staying silent. She said: “I do fear that this is a hidden crime and that some of the victims are in fear of reprisal and don't come forward.� It is believed criminal gang members are carrying acid in drinks bottles because they are less likely to get caught than if they carry a knife or gun. Schoolchildren as young as 13 have also told how 'squirting' rivals with acid is easier than trying to stab or fight them. The figures have added to calls to ban the sale of corrosive substances to youngsters, a cal stepped up following a series of acid attacks last month. Shops currently have to report children or teenagers acting suspiciously when they buy acid or strong household cleaners, but there is no age restriction on its sale. The issue first came to widespread public attention when model Katie Piper was attacked with sulphuric acid by her exboyfriend Daniel Lynch in 2008.

Ms Piper has since led campaigns to raise awareness of the problem, founding her own charity to help people living with burns and scars and releasing an autobiography about her life entitled Beautiful. Another high-profile victim of the sickening weapon was Naomi Oni, who suffered burns to her face and chest in an attack near her east London home in December 2012. She later hit out at authorities over the lack of support and the 'incompetant' way in which her complaint was handled'. Victim Adele Bellis, who lost an ear and suffered permanent scarring in the sulphuric acid attack in Suffolk in 2014, also bravely spoke publicly about rebuilding her life after the attack. The issue has received renewed attention in recent weeks after clubbers were doused with a corrosive substance at Mangle nightclub in Dalston, London, on April 17, leaving two people blind in one eye and 18 others with multiple burns. Arthur Collins, the former boyfriend of TOWIE star Fern McCann, has since appeared in court, alongside another man, Andre Phoenix.


Wizard Sir Ian has Watch members spellbound WHEN you have a wizard on your side you know your audience is likely to be spellbound. Well, Sir Ian McKellan has always kept his worldwide audiences under his spell and now he has got Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch OWL-ing with delight. Sir Ian, one of the biggest and most versatile screen stars in the world, has agreed to support the OWL messaging service. And as we all know every good wizard has an owl on his side. Sir Ian, who owns The Grapes pub in Narrow Street,Limehouse, and lives next door, was approached by Andy Ager of Tower Hamlets NHW and asked if he would support the OWL initiative. The star of stage and big screen, from Shakespeare to Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, took the OWL leaflets and suggested that Andy contact his PA. Sir Ian’s PA not only agreed to the link-up but even took the photographs and sent them to Andy. “I just happened to be in the pub and popped out for a ciggie,” said Andy. !Ian came out and I took the opportunity to be a bit cheeky and ask him to give his support to OWL. “He said he was always supportive of schemes like this and it is great to have him on board. Sir Ian has won every theatrical award going. He was also made a Freeman of the City of London in 2014. OWL helps both the police and residents stay alert to incidents if crime in their community and is one of the most popular systems in operation today. Sir Ian, as well as being one of the most popular actors of our generation, is now joining the fight against crime in London....and NHW members think that is a wizard idea.

Sir Ian McKellan gave his approval to the OWLmessaging system

Thieving midwife struck off A FORMER midwife at Lister Hospital in Stevenage has been struck off after she pleaded guilty to theft and fraud charges late last year. Samantha Louise Barratt, 30, of Fold Croft, Harlow, when she was convicted, was struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) last month following herguilty plea at Stevenage Magistrates Court in November last year. She had been facing a single charge of theft and multiple charges of fraud, committed between June and July in 2015. Barratt was accused of committing fraud to book holidays to Florida, and buy nice clothes. A spokesman for the East and North NHS Trust, which operates Lister Hospital, said they had referred Barratt to the police and

had dismissed her from the trust. In a statement they said: “This case dates back to May 2014, when the Trust referred Ms Barratt to Hertfordshire police and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) over a case of alleged theft. “Ms Barratt was suspended immediately and following the trust's own investigation, she was dismissed from the trust. “The trust expects high standards of professional and personal conduct from all its staff and notes the decision made by the NMC following its own hearing to strike Ms Barratt from its register." The NMC report stated: “The panel was very concerned about the level of pre-meditated dishonesty that Ms Barratt engaged in, harming both patients and her colleagues with her deceit.

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“The panel considered the evidence from Ms Barratt and noted the complete absence of any real remorse towards her profession, her patients, or her colleagues; or any efforts towards remediating her deficiencies." The NMC gave Barratt a striking off order and a interim suspension for 18-months. The report stated: “The panel was of the view that Ms Barratt's actions fell significantly short of the standards expected of a registered nurse, and her actions amounted to numerous breaches of the code." Barratt was given a four month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and was forced to pay a victim surcharge of £80 and costs of £85 when she appeared at Stevenage Magistrates Court.

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Herts Watch Out magazine - August 2017  
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