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Issue 11

August 2017

Community Watch magazine

If you want to know what Gandalf has got to do with NHW turn to Page 13


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THE holiday season is in full swing and with the six weeks school summer break upon us, thousands of people will be heading for the glorious coastlines of Britain or even sunsplashed islands abroad. Their summer break will have been planned for months by most families and now it's time to pack away the bucket and spade and inflateables and look forward to a week or two relaxing. But wait, have you made double sure that your tickets or your accommodation is what you asked for – and does it exist? That might seem a strange thing to ask just as you are about to go off with the family and enjoy yourself, but last year £7.2 million was lost because criminals targeted holidaymakers at home and abroad. The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), City of London Police and Get Safe Online are again joining forces to warn the public about the dangers of holiday booking fraud, a huge problem year after year. Every year cases of fraud have risen almost 20% with the number of cases going up from 4,910 to 5,826. The three campaign partners believe that these figures are only the tip of the iceberg with many victims not reporting the fact that they have been defrauded. Findings from a new report reveal the scale of reported crime and expose common tactics used by fraudsters The average amount lost per person to holiday fraud last year was approximately £1,200, but losses are not just financial; they can also have an impact on health. Over a quarter (26%) of victims say that the fraud had also had a significant impact on their health or financial well-being. Most worryingly of all, 259 people said the impact on them was severe, meaning that they had to receive medical treatment or were at risk of bankruptcy. The most common types of holiday fraud relate to the sale of airline tickets, booking accommodation online as well as timeshare sales. Types of holiday booking fraud In 2016, 5,826 cases of holiday booking fraud were reported to Action Fraud. The most common types of fraud related to: Holiday accommodation: Fraudsters are making full use of the internet to con holidaymakers by setting up fake websites, hacking into legitimate accounts and posting fake adverts on websites and social media. Airline tickets Where a customer believes they are booking a flight and receives a fake ticket or pays for a ticket that never turns up. In 2016, flights to Africa and the Indian sub-continent were particularly targeted, suggesting that fraudsters are targeting the visiting friends and family market and may well be making use of lack of knowledge of the strict regulations in place for

Don’t let criminals wreck your family holiday

Enjoy the sun, but don’t get burnt by the crooks

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the legitimate UK based travel industry. Sports and religious trips A popular target for fraud due to limited availability of tickets and consequently higher prices. Timeshares and holiday clubs The sums involved with this form of fraud are particularly high with victims often losing tens of thousands of pounds each. In common with previous years, the numbers of people reporting travel fraud to the police jumps in the summer and in December. This is a very clear indication that fraudsters are targeting the most popular travel periods. Customers may be particularly vulnerable in 2017 as the overseas travel industry is reporting good early booking levels with accommodation and flights at a premium. Fraudsters could take advantage of this by offering “good deals” over the summer. These will then fail to materialise, leaving people out of pocket and with either no flights or nowhere to stay. Bank transfer bookings The two age groups most commonly targeted

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are those aged 20-29 and 30-39, with older generations less likely to fall victim, particularly those over 50 who are perhaps more wary of “too good to be true” offers. The majority of those who are defrauded pay by methods such as bank transfer or cash with no means of getting their money back. Some fraudsters now actively encourage these payment methods by claiming that only these payment methods are protected by their own bogus insurance schemes. Simple tips to follow nCheck that a company belongs to a trade body like ABTA nCheck the web address is legitimate Research the company online nPay by credit or debit card and not into a private individual’s account nDouble check receipts,invoices and terms and conditions nUse your instinct - if it sounds to good to be true it probably is nGet free expert advice - log onto Get Safe Online

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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?

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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 grandmother was conned out of £60,000 by cowboy builders, who conned elderly and vulnerable householders, including the actor's late grandmother, into paying huge bills were jailed for what a judge called "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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Part worn tyres may be cheap but they could end up costing you your life

Cheap tyres are 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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KILLERS

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

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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.

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London court round-up Hairdresser ran a counterfeit cigarettes operation A BUSINESSMAN’S illicit fake cigarettes operation has been stubbed out after sniffer dogs discovered a huge stash kept within the business. Trading Standards at Westminster City Council found 28,000 cigarettes with £8,000 stockpiled and carefully concealed at Star hairdresser, at 124 Shaftesbury Avenue. The under the counter supply was discovered by tobacco detection dogs, and resulted in the business and its sole director being hit with fines totalling £42,544. Cheng Cai Wang, 47, pleaded guilty to eight offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and Consumer Protection Act 1987 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. The Trading Standards operation on January 21 was filmed, and shows sniffer dogs hunting out boxes of cigarettes hidden in various areas including two suitcases in an enclosed yard at the rear of the premises. Packets of cigarettes were also disguised in a box designed for a laptop plus a dummy security camera, hair dryer, toy Lego car and fitness equipment. Some of the suspect cigarettes bore the trademarks of Benson & Hedges and Marlboro whilst others were not intended for the British market and did not have the required UK health warning labelling. The detection dog also found large bundles of £20 notes banded together in bundles of £1,000 hidden in wash bags and a large quantity of cash in a footstool within the premises.

Constable dismissed A METROPOLITAN Police Constable based in Ealing has been dismissed following a misconduct hearing. PC Christopher Bees had a case to answer in respect of the Standards of Professional Behaviour under 'Use of Force’, ‘Authority', 'Respect and Courtesy’ and ‘Discreditable Conduct'. It was alleged that between March and September 2015, whilst off duty, the officer assaulted the victim. The officer had been placed on restricted duties during the investigation into his conduct that was led by the Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS). The panel found the allegations proven as gross misconduct and an additional allegation under ‘honesty and integrity’ was also found to be proven. This further breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour related to an incident on March 28-29 2015, whereby the officer was dishonest in his account in the subsequent investigation. PC Bees was dismissed without notice.

Sent offensive messages MICHAEL McAlpine, 25, of Cephas Street, Bethnal Green, has received a suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court to sending offensive messages to aMember of Parliament. McAlpine was sentenced on two counts of sending a message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing nature, contrary to section 127 of the Communications Act 2003. He was sentenced to 10 weeks' imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, 200 hours of unpaid work and he was ordered to pay £500 to the victim in compensation and costs of £150. This is in relation to messages sent to the MP via Twitter on 2 December 2016. The MP took screenshots of the Tweets and reported the messages to police. McAlpine was arrested on 3 December 2016.

Officers carried out a number of enquiries and the court heard McAlpine tried to cover his tracks by deleting his Twitter account and going on to a website to delete his tweets.

Smile, you’re on camera OFFICERS from Hounslow have to the taken streets wearing Body Worn Video (BWV), following the borough's official launch. The cameras have been issued to 330 of Hounslow's frontline police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). Additional cameras will also be available for specialist departments. The cameras have already shown they can help bring speedier justice for victims. They have proved particularly successful in domestic abuse cases where there has been an increase in earlier guilty pleas from offenders who know their actions have been recorded. BWV will offer greater transparency for those in front of the camera as well as behind it. Londoners can feel reassured during their interactions with the police, whilst BWV will also help officers gather evidence and demonstrate their professionalism in the face of the many challenges involved in policing the capital.

Jailed for sex predator A TEENAGER who targeted and sexually assaulted lone women on London buses has been jailed. Muhammad Mohsan, 18, of Ash Grove, Hounslow, was sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court to 16 months' imprisonment. He pleaded guilty to nine counts of sexual assault at the same court on Tuesday, 9 May. Between March 2015 and January this year, Mohsan carried out five separate sexual assaults on women, aged between 15 and 55, travelling on London buses. The attacks happened at various times of day and at several boroughs across London, including Brent, Westminster, Richmond and Hammersmith & Fulham. DC Simon Osborne, the investigating officer from

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One of the dogs that found the ciggie haul

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the Met's Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said:”Mohsan is a predatory offender who has brazenly targeted lone women in public, counting on their isolation and vulnerability to avoid being detected. “He has shown little remorse for his actions or empathy for those he has assaulted. “The lives of several of the women he attacked have been significantly impacted by his actions and the court has rightly taken this into consideration in determining his sentence.”

Ordeal of terror TWO brothers have been jailed for a terrifying raid in which a 69 year old pensioner was slashed with a Stanley knife, tied up and terrorised in his Upton Park, Newham, home. In February 2016, the victim answered the front door to a woman dressed as a courier, who claimed to be delivering a parcel. While the pensioner spoke on his doorstep to Ioana Ruxandra Costache, 28, her husband Mohammed Auckburally, 43, forced his way in and attacked the man with a Stanley knife. Once inside, Auckburally hit the victim over his head. He bound the pensioner's hands, legs and mouth with tape. Auckburally's brother Abdool Auckburally, 26, came in to help tie up the victim. They put a towel over his head and put him on the floor. The final man to enter was Rajdeo Aubeelock, 35, who searched the house. They stole jewellery and cash before making off. Police recovered £2,000 in cash from Costache's address and £10,000 from Aubeelock's, believed by investigators to have been stolen in the raid. Abdool Auckburally, 26, and Rajdeo Aubeelock, 35, were also found guilty of conspiracy to rob and sentenced to nine and seven years respectively. Ms Costache, who was also found guilty of conspiracy, was due to appear in court, but did not attend and will be sentenced later. Detective Constable Chloe Wilson, of Newham CID, said: “Whilst the victim suffered relatively minor physical injuries as a result of the incident, it is the mental scars that still remain”.

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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.

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NEWS in brief Female burglar A WOMAN has been jailed for four years after committing a distraction burglary against a vulnerable 83-year-old woman which led to her falling down the stairs. Rachel Dineen, 35, of Well Street, Hackney, was sentenced at Wood Green Crown Court to four years' imprisonment after pleading guilty to burglary. On Monday March 27, the victim was at her home address in Lauriston Road, Hackney, when she heard a knock on her door. She as confronted by Dineen who claimed that someone had died in an upstairs premises and asked the victim to use her telephone. Without warning, she then entered and walked immediately into the victim's bedroom. After several moments she emerged attempting to conceal the victim's handbag which she had stolen. When challenged by the victim, Dineen, a self-confessed drug addict, made a bid to leave the flat. The victim attempted to

retrieve her handbag which led to her falling down the stairs. Dineen then fled the scene, ignoring the victim's plight and failing to seek medical assistance for her. Fortunately, the victim was able to summon assistance from neighbours who immediately alerted police. She was taken to hospital and required stitches to a leg injury.

Keeping a tag on the crooks

20 year sentence A 20-year-old drug-runner from London has been sentenced to 20 years behind bars for murdering a Norwich man. Hassiem Baqir, from Howberry Road, Thornton Heath, was found guilty of murdering 38-year-old Steve Stannard at Norwich Crown Court. Steve Stannard was found dead outside his flat in Bowers Avenue on Saturday November 5, 2016. He had been stabbed six times. The court heard Baqir had travelled from London to Norwich to deal drugs from Steve Stannard’s home in Bowers Avenue. It was during

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By Peter Faulkner EIGHT London boroughs are to share a £620,000 pot in a bid to keep track of their most prolific criminals. Up to 100 of London’s most prolific criminals are being fitted with satellite tagging technology to track their movements 24 hours a day. And London mayor, Mr Sadiq Khan also announced an extra £620,000 over the next 18 months for his wider criminal justice programme in Camden, Enfield, Haringey, Islington, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest to focus on serial offenders. Mr Khan told the London Assembly: “These tags will monitor the offenders who cause the most harm to communities and greatest expense to the justice system, while also helping to detect whether someone was present at the scene of a crime and supporting victims by alerting probation officers if conditions are breached.” The scheme, the first in the country, will help drive down re-offending rates as police or probation officers will be alerted if individuals break a court order or bail conditions. Magistrates in all eight London boroughs have been given the power to order the wearing of GPS tags as part of a community or suspended sentence. The pilot scheme ensures offenders abide by conditions such as a

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sex offender not going near a school, or a gang member staying out of rivals’ territory. The original system using existing tags only confirms if someone is at a designated address during a curfew period. But now the authorities will know if tagged suspects who do reoffend were at a crime scene. Data from the GPS tags is captured continuously and looked at when required. The first one was fitted on Monday. Young adults and female offenders will be a priority. They will be monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and face a potential prison sentence if they breach the terms of their court order. Adult re-offending costs the capital £2.25 billion a year, with 82 per cent of London’s 4,000 most prolific offenders estimated to commit new crimes. The overall rate is 24 per cent. The £150,000 pilot, funded by a Home Office grant, was first proposed by Mayor Boris Johnson but has been delivered by his successor Sadiq Khan, who has made tackling re-offending a priority. Metropolitan Police Commander Neil Jerome said: “Tackling those offenders who cause the most harm is a key priority for keeping London safe. We know there are a small number of offenders who repeatedly commit offences... this will play an important part in reducing offending and preventing people falling victim to crime.”

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New free app ismaking communitiessafer 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

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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. www.trygve.co.uk/get-started

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RECENT acid attacks on innocent members of the public have suggested that this is a new and ugly phenomenom about to hit the country.

“They are a global problem, but their frequency is growing in the UK. Last month, there were five acid attacks within 90 minutes, carried out from a moped on moped delivery drivers across Hackney and Islington.” The UK has one of the highest per capita rates of recorded acid attacks in the world. Last year, there were 451 crimes in London, up from 261 in 2015. In 2016, almost a third of them were carried out in the borough of Newham. Since 2010 there have been 446 acid attacks in the borough. It is thought other attacks may go unreported. Police statistics suggest only two attacks in London in the last year were hate crimes, including the incident in Beckton. “Rather, it appears that acid is becoming the preferred weapon for gangs carrying out robberies, because it is less risky for the criminal than carrying a knife or a gun. “It is easy to obtain, cheap, and hard East Ham MP Stephen Timms, who wants to trace back to the perpetrator. There tougher sentences for acid attacks is strong support for Government action

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. East Ham MP, Stephen Timms, has taken the fight against acid attacks to the Government and has forced Home Secretary Amanda Rudd to consider tougher sentences against the perpetrators. “Last month, Jamel Muhktar and his cousin Resham Khan were sitting in a car in Newham on their way to celebrate Resham’s twenty first birthday. A man leant threw the window and threw acid over them both, inflicting severe, lifechanging injuries,” said Mr Timms. “There was a wave of revulsion across the borough, and a vigil organised by ‘Stand Up to Racism’. Women, in particular, started to worry if it was now safe to walk down the street. “Soon after the atack against Jamel and Resham I opened a debate in Parliamen, calling on the Government to respond quickly and effectively to curb the rise in this form of violence. “SoI welcomed the announcement by the Home Secretary of a review of the law and criminal justice response to acid attacks. I am pleased she has promised to review sentencing guidelines, as I called for last month, with a view to tougher and more consistent sentencing for those convicted.” Mr Timms has pressed for two specific changes in the law: 1. That it should be an offence to carry acid, in the same way that it is already an offence to carry a knife; and 2. That sulphuric acid – commonly used as a drain cleaner – should be reclassified under the Explosive Precursor Regulations 2015 into the higher of the two categories, so that purchase would require a licence, as advocated by the British Retail Consortium and Association for Convenience Stores. The Home Office Minister, Sarah Newton, has assured Mr Timms that the Government would consider both these possibilities, and look at guidance to ensure acid and other corrosive substances can be classed as ‘dangerous’ weapons. She promised to report back to Parliament on the Government’s plans when Parliament re-assembles in September. “Acid attacks are abhorrent. The consequences can include permanent disfigurement and blindness. The psychological trauma can leave survivors feeling isolated and depressed,” added Mr Timms.

Let’s get tough with acid attackers - MP

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to prevent further attacks. An online petition for a licensing scheme for acid sales has reached over 460,000 signatures,” said Mr Timms. “Jabed Hussain, an UberEats driver and a victim of one of the attack, led a protest of hundreds of delivery drivers outside Parliament. He is demanding greater protections from this type of violence. “I am convinced that carrying acid without good reason should be a criminal offence, as carrying a knife already is. Whilst I appreciate there are wholly legitimate reasons for wishing to obtain acid, we do not want people carrying it in the streets. “The ‘two-strikes and you’re out’ rule currently used for possession of knives should also be applied to possession of acid. “There is a minimum custodial sentence for those aged 16 and over convicted of a second offence of possession of a knife or offensive weapon. Offenders aged 18 or above when convicted are given a minimum six-month sentence. “A licence should be required for the purchase of sulphuric acid – a highly noxious substance. This move was proposed by the British Retail Consortium, whose members have agreed voluntarily to no longer sell sulphuric acid products. “Sulphuric acid is currently a ‘reportable substance’, with retailers required to report suspicious purchases. I recommend it is promoted to the ‘regulated substance’ category, so that a licence is required to purchase it. The Association of Convenience Stores also support this move. “Licensing and restrictions have the support of many of my constituents, as well as the local authority. Newham Council has backed tougher licensing conditions and robust codes of practice on the sale of noxious substances, as well as measures to raise awareness of the issue amongst those working with young people.”

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News in brief Boy injured in shooting A TEENAGER who shot a man at close range and injured an 11-year-old boy in the process, has been jailed for 26 years. The incident happened in Ilford when the 22-year-old victim was shot at close range. The 11-year-old boy who was in a nearby play-ground was hit by a stray pellet from the shots which hit him in the cheek. Joshan Addison, 19, unemployed of Thornton Road, Ilford was found guilty of attempted murder, wounding and possession of firearm and was sentenced to 26 years at Snaresbrook Crown Court. Three other males who helped the gunman were also sentenced. Mohammad Jabir, 22, a student from Staines Road, Ilford, who pleaded guilty to assisting an offender, was sentenced to one year and eight months imprisonment. Ali Sheikh, 24, unemployed of Buttsbury Road, Ilford, was found guilty of assisting an offender and was today sentenced to one year and eight months imprisonment. A 17-year-old youth from Ilford was found guilty of assisting an offender and was sentenced to a 24 month training order.

Cruel conman jailed A CONMAN who scammed elderly people aged 77 to 95 out of thousands of pounds has been jailed for 20 months. Hamit Hamit, 34, from Croydon, targeted eight vulnerable pensioners in Southend, Westcliff and Leigh-on-Sea last year. The victims were contacted by unknown accomplices of Hamit, posing as bank workers. They then claimed the victims needed to return their bank cards so they could be re-issued, and that a courier would come and collect them. The victims were also asked for personal details and pin numbers. Hamit then posed as the courier and collected the cards before withdrawing thousands of pounds.

Capital top for card debt THE capital has the highest level of credit card debt of all the cities in Britain, according to a new analysis by credit score provider Experian. The high proportion of young people in the capital is one of the driving force behind the high debt levels. Young, employed renters in parts of London such as Wandsworth and Putney are more likely to adopt more debt. The Liverpool Street and Bishopsgate area was the highest-scoring area in the capital for credit card debt, followed by the West End and Cheapside.

Police commissioner Cressida Dick with mayor Khan

Magic wand to help tackle knife crime LONDON’S knife crime continues to cause headaches for the police and three deaths in one day last month illustrate the scale of the problem. Now the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is to continue his crackdown on users by offering all knife wands to all secondary schools in the capital. Secondary schools across the city are being invited to apply for a metal detecting “wand” to screen students. In addition every school will get its own “safer schools” police officer as part of a package of measures. The wands are not a new phenomenom and are already being used by about a dozen schools in the capital, according to the mayor’s office. The plan is to extend their availability to other schools, particularly in areas where knife crime is most prevalent. Mayor Khan said: “Every death on the streets of London is an utter tragedy, and I am deeply concerned about the rise in knife crime on London’s streets. “Dozens of families have been bereaved; many more have seen their loved ones severely injured. We need to send a strong signal that carrying and using knives is totally and utterly unacceptable. “And we need to do more to educate young people around the dangers of carrying knives if

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we are to cut injuries and deaths.” According to the mayor’s office, 24 Londoners under the age of 25 have been fatally stabbed on London’s streets so far this year. Attacks with bladed weapons rose by 24% last year in London “Knife wands may be a useful measure in preventing weapons being brought on to school premises, and school leaders are best placed to judge if, when and how to use them,” said Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders that represents many secondary school leaders. “We would reassure the public that schools already have robust policies and procedures in place to protect their pupils, and that schools are supremely safe places.” Schools will be invited to apply to the mayor’s office for a knife wand and will use them in consultation with both the mayor’s team and the Metropolitan police. A high-risk school may choose to use its detector regularly to screen students entering the premises, or at individual school events. Cressida Dick, the Met police commissioner, said: “Despite everything that has been happening in London in recent weeks – knife crime remains a top priority for me and the Met. But headteachers said the final decision on the use of security screening should be left up to individual schools.

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Acton members get in the mood MEMBERS of Acton Neighbourhood Watch were in carnival mood - and quite right too. The Acton Cluster police officers, led by Inspector Aaron Clarke and Sgt Gail Staton of Southfield, Ealing

Police made sure everyone had a great day out

(pictured right)), were present and provided safety and surveillance so families could enjoy a great time. The Acton Cluster Neighbourhood watch, led by Dr Suzanne Tanswell, were also present and provided SmartWater registrations as part of their continuous efforts to further reinforce safety and home protection. The Police also took part in the procession driving an old school vintage car. The Acton Cluster is a large community event where various organizations from within Acton/Ealing attended had a representation and display of their service for example the Felix Project, The Acton Children's Centre, and Ealing Council adults learning, and various Inspector Aaron Clarke and Sgt Gail Staton independent retailers.

A wizard idea from Sir Ian

Sir Ian McKellan, backing OWL messaging

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

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The Tower Hamlets borough commander Det Chief Supt Sue Williams 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.

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13


NEWS in brief Fraudsters hunted POLICE are trying to track down a married couple from Dagenham who are believed to have fled to Nigeria after being involved in a £10m tax credits fraud. Oluwagbenga Odeyemi, 39, and his wife Oluwatumininu Banjo, 40, are being hunted by police. Last month at the Old Bailey Oyebode, from Lewisham, was given a two year suspended jail sentence, community service and a three month curfew. Odeyemi, from Gravesend, Kent, was jailed for three-and-a-half years, Kayode Sanni, 39,from Leeds, was handed down a five years and three months prison term and Chantell Gumbs, 34 Gumbs, also from Leeds, was given a suspended jail sentence and a rehabilitation order. Odeyemi spearheaded the multi-million scam and his friend Sanni, ensured the details were used to apply for tax credits and Gumbs requested the application packs from the HMRC. Out of the 10,300 identities stolen, 2,504 were used to make claims that netted £2.4m.

Car parts were fake FRAUDSTER Antonis Antzouli has been jailed after selling fake car parts and vehicles with false service histories online. Antzouli, 34,of Farndale Avenue, Palmers Green, admitted fraud and counterfeit charges at Wood Green Crown Court, and was sentenced to six months for counterfeit goods charges and 12 months for fraud charges, to run consecutively. Antzouli started trading in counterfeit goods in 2008. Seven years later in June 2015 he was caught in possession of unauthorised trademarked goods which he sold on online auction sites under vehicle manufacturers including Peugeot, BMW, Renault and Volvo. He was found to have forged the service histories of at least 18 vehicles making around £79,500 from his various illegal activities.

Fakes gang finally caught after four year stakeout FIVE fraudsters enjoyed a luxury lifestyle selling counterfeit handbags, purses, watches, clothing, perfume and other accessories across Essex and London. What they didn’t know was that for four years Thurrock Council’s Trading Standards officers had them in their sights and were carrying out an investigation into the gang. The people suspected of importing, manufacturing, distributing and selling counterfeit goods were finally caught, but were spared jail when they appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court. The gang were Laura O’Keefe, 36, of Howell Drive, Corringham, Kimberley Chalk, 41, of Rookery View, Grays, Toni Noonan, 45, of Oakway, Grays, Jacklyn Grimes, 47, of Cample Lane, South Ockendon and Mohammed Haydari, 37, of Great Galley Close, Barking. The court heard that in 2013 and 2014, several warrants were carried out at their homes after officers received complaints about suspect Facebook pages. Mobile phones and computers were taken away for inspection and suspected counterfeit goods were seized and found to be fake after analysis by experts. In October 2014, officers teamed up with colleagues from Essex Police, Metropolitan Police and Waltham Forest Trading Standards to execute three more warrants simultaneously.

Officers targeted the home of Grimes, the former home of Haydrari in Walthamstow and two storage units used by Haydari in Leytonstone. At Haydari’s home, officers seized mobile phones, a laptop, self-storage paperwork and cash. In the self-storage units officers found more than 1,200 fake handbags, purses, watches and accessories. They also seized 5,900 unbranded handbags and 7,500 branded badges and zips ready to make counterfeit goods. At Grimes’ home, officers seized 1,100 fake handbags, purses and accessories as well as 600 branded badges ready to be applied to handbags and purses. The investigation revealed that Grimes was importing the badges and supplying products to Noonan and others – including via her Facebook page Jackies Bits and Bobs. Judge Ian Graham said: “This was a significant and long-running enterprise and it is clear that large quantities of income and profit were generated.” He described Haydari as being “at the top of the supply chain” and “instrumental in the importation of these goods”. They were each handed suspended sentences, totalling 70 months, and order to carry out 700 hours of community service between them.

Pin code was ISIS A MAN whose PIN code for his phone was 'ISIS' has been sentenced to life imprisonment. He will serve at least 15 years. Haroon Ali Syed, 19, from Hounslow, pleaded guilty to preparing for acts of terrorism between April 12 and September 9,2016, contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006. Syed admitted trying to get a machine gun, handguns, suicide vest and trying to source a bomb.

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The gang made a lot of money selling fake handbags and watches

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Dagenham Police station - under threat

Bexleyheath Police station - under threat

Notting Hill Police station - under threat

Wimbledon Police station - under threat

Ello, ello, who’s that calling? LONDON’S police force is moving into the digital age - and that means the axe for up to half of the capital’s 180 police stations. A new telephone and digital investigation unit will in future investigate crimes such as burglary where it is not necessary for officers to attend a crime scene. This means officers will spend more time at the end of the phone line while closure of stations will save cash and streamline the force. At least one station will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week in each of the capital’s 32 boroughs. But it makes sense to shut and sell off police stations as figures reveal that less and less people are visiting stations today and more residents are making contact by phone. The Metropolitan Police investigates about 20% of crime on the phone or online while in Merseyside the figure is 40%. So it suggests all forces are moving more and more into the digital age. Across the country forces are selling off police stations primarily because they are really relics of the Dixon of Dock Green era but also because as they are underused, selling them off provides forces with much needed funds. The Met has cut costs by £600 million in

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recent years and now faces further cutbacks of at least £400 million. But it doesn’t mean the end of the visible presence of a copper on the beat. On the contrary, it could mean a more visible presence. In the new strategy, set out in a consultation document by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, police are in the process of equipping all front line officers with portable tablets to create a more mobile workforce which can stay on the street longer. Police say more people are happy to have crimes dealt with over the phone and say that if there is evidence to support an investigation or a victim needs an officer, for instance if they are vulnerable, police will always visiit. The new strategy states that some crimes such as domestic and sexual abuse and hate crime will always involve a visit from a police officer. Victims of crime will be able to provide statements and other information remotely, without having to wait for officers to attend. Officers who man the telephone investigation unit, based in west London, will be moved from desk jobs, not front line posts, the Met said. Police are also encouraging people to report offences such as road traffic collisions

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or stalking online through Twitter, for example. The Mayor says that closing stations and front counters will put an extra £10 million a year — equivalent to the cost of 170 police constables — into front-line policing. The sale of buildings will raise £170 million to fund new technology for officers and extra officers on neighbourhood wards. Over the past 10 years the number of crimes reported at police stations and front counters has fallen by three quarters. Today just eight per cent of all crimes are reported at front counters, compared to 22 per cent in 2006. Among stations earmarked for closure are Notting Hill, Dagenham, Bexleyheath, Uxbridge and Wimbledon. Mr Khan said: “The huge Government cuts to the Met have left us with no choice but to take drastic action to protect the front line of policing. “My top priority is keeping Londoners safe, and every pound saved by closing a front counter is a pound of savings that we do not have to find by reducing the front line. “The Government urgently needs to properly fund the Met police so that they can do their job and keep Londoners safe.”

LONDON COMMUNITY WATCH MAGAZINE 15


Pedestrians being mugged for their phones by moped gangs MOPED thefts in London are at their highest ever with 11,389 bikes stolen during 2016 – a seven fold increase on the previous year. It is a major concern for the police because the robbers are using the bikes to speed round the capital stealing mobile phones from pedestrians. Figures have been rising over the last two years despite the setting up of Operation Venice, the crack team formed to target this new young breed of motorised bandit. The shocking number of mobile phone thefts by muggers speeding around central London on mopeds has now been mapped by police. Officers in Bloomsbury – where police last year warned was a hotbed for phone snatching from criminals on two wheels – recorded a spate of 20 moped thefts in one square mile of London in just one week. The figures follow a string of reports of terrifying attempted robberies around London from scooter-riders. In 2015, motorcycle thefts in London were said to be have netted criminals £28 million a year. In one recent incident a terrified How police have mapped the moped thefts in one square mile of London tourist was surrounded by a gang of four moped thieves in Park Lane before one of the mopeds smashed him into the pavement. In a separate incident a moped gang were filmed tearing through the streets of London spraying strangers with a fire extinguisher. And another horrifying incident saw hammerwielding muggers on mopeds photographed targeting passers-by in the West End. Police in Bloomsbury released a map showing the 20 locations within one square mile where moped thieves have targeted victims in the first week of May. Thefts have been reported near to University College London buildings as well as along Tottenham Court Road and Goodge Street. Crimes were also reported near to Great Ormond Street Hospital and towards the West End. The phone-snatchers often mount the pavement and prey on people who are unaware they are near or perhaps using their mobile phone. Moped crooks escape after smashing a pawnbrokers window with a sledgehammer The Met have drawn up a list of around 200 people who they believe may be responsible from victims in Camden and Islington. Last year the Met and City of London police for the majority of the moped-related crimes. They put out a warning to students at launched a joint campaign, Operation But crimes such as these are often hard to University College London, where many of the Attrition, to combat criminals who use mopeprosecuted because of difficulty of securing thefts were happening. ds, motorbikes and bikes to snatch phones evidence.

Menace of the moped crooks is accelerating

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London Community Watch magazine - August  

LCW magazine is an online publication reaching in excess of 100,000 people every month and distributed by Neighbourhood Watch groups, the po...