Thursday, December 12 - Wednesday, December 18, 2013
FFRREE EE IN INSSIIDE
CENTRAL OXFORDSHIRE Inside Oxfordshire pays its respects this week: to freedom fighter Mandela p5
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Holidays are coming, holidays are coming…
YOU know it’s nearly Christmas when you see the CocaCola Truck on your television screens. But shoppers in Oxford on Monday got the exciting opportunity to see the truck for real. Scores of people flocked to see the lorry on Broad Street to have their photo taken with the truck, as it continues on its UK tour until December 23, just two days before Christmas. The iconic vehicles, now synonymous with the countdown to the Christmas holidays, were fi rst seen on TV screens back in 1995. An advert featuring three of the 18-wheel vehicles, each covered in more than 30,000 bulbs to create c the visual effect of a n never-ending fleet of trucks, was w the start of the craze.
SURGE IN THEFTS PROMPTS ACTION
POLICE in Oxford have launched three separate operations for the Christmas period, with the aim of reducing the number of thefts and burglaries across the city. Operation Blitzen is being run by police to deal with shoplifting
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incidents in the weeks leading up to Christmas, while Operation Big Dipper is aiming to tackle thefts taking place at licensed premises. It follows a 19 per cent increase in thefts from a person charges between April 1 and December 9 compared to the same period
last year, while reported shoplifting incidents rose by 10 per cent. At the same time, Operation Bells is also in force to deal with burglaries across the city, although there has already been a 20.8 per cent drop in incidents over the same time period. Supt Christian Bunt, local policing area commander for Oxford, said: “Although no analysis has been done, the increase
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in thefts could be linked to the austerity measures. “As times get harder, we see an increase in these types of crimes, so in response we have launched these operations. “Our big message is to look after your property, as three quarters of thefts are likely avoidable. There is a trend of leaving bags on a table and phones are then stolen. “There are opportunists out
there, so make sure you are looking after your property.” Sergeant Joanne Hutchings added: “Footfall is higher in the city centre around Christmas, and people can get easily distracted while shopping or at Christmas parties. “There has been a lot of planning, and while the operations started in late November, they were being planned in June and July.
“We have done lots of work around licensed premises to help them get the crime prevention message across, and help staff identify those who are putting their property at risk.” As part of the operations, police officers, plain clothes officers and PCSOs will be patrolling the city centre and other areas of Oxford. Anyone who witnesses a crime is asked to contact 101.
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Know your limits this Christmas… CELEBRATIONS are common at this time of year but county council chiefs are reminding festive revellers to know their limits during the Christmas and New Year period. A campaign targeting everybody who will be celebrating at parties across Oxfordshire began last week with the intention of increasing people’s knowledge and understanding of alcohol. The county council’s public
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health team also want to raise the understanding of drinking more than the government’s recommended daily guidelines where men should not regularly exceed 3-4 units a day and 2-3 units for women. However, there is no safe level of drinking and staying within the guidelines can make a positive difference to people’s health. Cllr Hilary Hibbert Biles, the council’s lead member for public health, said: “December can be
a really busy month with Christmas parties, drinks and meals every weekend and sometimes throughout the week as well. “It’s very easy to fi nd your diary full of occasions where the drink will be flowing which means keeping within the guideline number of units can difficult. “Everyone wants to have a good time enjoying all the Christmas season has to offer and we aren’t in the business of telling people they can’t have fun. “There are lots of ways to keep the alcohol in check and plenty of places to fi nd out all the facts about drink so that you can enjoy
yourself without putting yourself at risk.” To coincide with the campaign the county council have issued some tips to help avoid accidental binge drinking. It is recommended to download a unit calculator app to help you stick to the guidelines while eating carbohydrates or protein will prevent alcohol from going to your head too quickly. Other bits of advice include drinking once you are out rather than at home, having a break between beverages and cutting down by, for example, choosing a lower-strength lager.
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Police hunt laser pen offenders TWO teenage boys shone a laser pen into the faces of cyclists, pedestrians and bus drivers in Queen Street on December 2. A 17-year-old boy from Oxford has since been arrested in connection to the incident which happened between 2.30pm and 2.45pm. He has since been bailed until January 14. PC Ben Simmons who is investigating the incident said: “We are very keen to hear from anyone who was in this area last Monday afternoon. “It was a busy time as the streets were full of Christmas shoppers and if any of the victims had been temporarily blinded by the pens, especially the bus drivers, there could have been a terrible accident. “We would urge anyone who was in Queen Street at that time and saw what happened or who was actually a target for the laser pen to please get in touch as soon as possible.” If you have any information contact PC Simmons via the Thames Valley Police Enquiry Centre on 101. Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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• Skaters performing Oliver! at last year’s event FAIRY Tales on Ice is back this year with what promises to be the best show yet. Taking place this Saturday and Sunday at Oxford Ice Rink, international, national and local skating championships will put on performances to get everybody in the mood for Christmas. The show is produced by Oxford Ice Rink and local skate coaches Jane de Lange, Sue Hands and Alison Morrell. John Harris, general manager
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of the Rink, said: “This year’s show should be the best ever. “In addition to some great international quality skaters we have a hundred of our own skaters and even Marvin the Penguin taking part. “The coaches, Ice Rink team, skaters and families have put a lot of work into making this show one of the premier Christmas events in the city and I would encourage everyone to come to the show and get in the Christ-
mas spirit.” Councillor Mike Rowley, board member for Leisure Services, added: “This should be a great event with some of Britain’s biggest ice skating stars. It is an ideal way to get into the Christmas holiday mood.” Tickets are on sale now from Oxford Ice Rink and cost £9.50 for adults and £7.50 for under 16s. Performances are held twice a day at 3pm and 6pm.
POLICE are continuing to investigate the death of a 20-year-old student, who was found dead in a tent at Port Meadow on Sunday afternoon. The body of Andrew Kirkman, who had been studying physics and philosophy at Balliol College, was discovered by a passer-by at 12.25pm in the tent, which presented a strong odour of chemicals. At present the death is being treated as unexplained, but police are saying there are no suspicious circumstances.
Supt Steve Hockin said: “Early indications are that the chemical involved in the death of the man is hydrogen sulphide.” The area was cordoned off overnight while further investigations were made, with Port Meadow being completely reopened on Monday. Supt Christian Bunt said: “These types of incidents are fairly uncommon and tricky to deal with. I can’t remember a similar incident in the past, certainly not during my tenure over the last 12 months.”
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Thursday, December 12 - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 3
Plans for 2,500 homes on airfield are granted PLANS have finally been granted to build 2,500 homes on Grove airfield. The development, over 10 years in planning, will also include a shopping centre, two primary schools and a secondary school. The decisions was made at a Vale of White Horse District Council (VWHDC) planning committee meeting last week. Cllr Roger Cox, VWHDC cabinet member for planning development, said: â€œThis project has been on the drawing board for a decade and forms a major part of the Councilâ€™s five-year housing land supply calculations.
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â€œThanks to fresh initiatives in the last two years and the active co-operation of all parties, we have progressed to granting outline permission and I am very pleased.â€? The homes will be built in three phases, the fi rst of 500, followed by two more phases of 1,000 each. The expected delivery rate is approximately 250 homes a year. The plans are part of a project to bring 5,500 new homes to the Wantage and Grove area. Cllr Matthew Barber, leader of the Vale, said: â€œGrove airfield is an important step towards providing a five year land supply, and once the next planning
stages have been completed we look forward to seeing houses being built, which will make a real difference to our housing supply. â€œItâ€™s been a long time coming, but it was vitally important to make sure that a development on this scale is done properly. â€œPeople in Grove and Wantage can rest assured we have been working very hard to make sure their concerns have been taken into account in this process.â€? Cllr Zoe Patrick, Oxfordshire County Councilâ€™s ward member for Wantage and Grove, said it was â€˜essentialâ€™ to get the proper infrastructure in place along with the housing. â€œThis will be a huge challenge for the whole area as we struggle to cope with the sheer amount of housing scheduled for the site.
â€œTimely delivery of the essential infrastructure is absolutely essential to make it work. â€œGrove deserves to have the best possible facilities to ensure that the old and new communities bind together. â€œThe roads access problems have to be sorted out right at the start to ensure that residents can easily get on and off the site. â€œIt is vitally important that all the legal agreements to secure the ÂŁ49million package is taken on board and managed effectively.â€? Wantage town Mayor Fiona Roper echoed Cllr Patrick sentiments about infrastructure, and added she was â€˜pleasedâ€™ the development had fi nally been approved. Some concern has been expressed about the decision,
and its knock-on effects. Julie Mabberley, of Wantage and Grove Campaign Group, has written to Cllr Barber expressing concerns about young people wishing to buy, congestion of the link roads, and lack of leisure facilities to accommodate the increase in the areaâ€™s population. Ms Mabberley also raised the issue of potential lack of school places during the transition period of people moving to the area and the school buildings being fi nalised. â€œYou are our elected representatives and we urge you to represent us and ensure we are not swamped with houses without the investment in infrastructure to put in place what is needed, when needed and not 3-5 years later,â€? she added.
Police appeal after girl disappears from Iffley home
â€˘ Jayden Parkinson
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POLICE are appealing for help following the disappearance of a 17-year-old Oxford girl, who went missing from the city on December 3. Jayden Parkinson was last seen leaving 1 Foot Forward in Iffley Road during the afternoon, but didnâ€™t return home that evening as planned. It is understood she could be in the Oxford or Reading area. She is described as white, of slim build with shoulder length dark brown hair and brown eyes. Inspector Chris Simpson, who is leading the search, said: â€œWe are becoming increasingly concerned for Jaydenâ€™s welfare as she has little access to money and she has not been in phone contact, which is out of character for her. â€œShe could be in Oxford or Reading areas with friends, and if this is the case, we would urge her or them to get in contact. â€œJayden is not in any trouble but
we need to get in touch with her to ensure she is safe and well.â€? Anyone with information as to Jaydenâ€™s whereabouts is asked to contact Inspector Simpson on 101.
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â€˘ Do you know her? THAMES Valley Police would like to speak to a woman in connection to a theft from a shop in Witney. At 1.15pm on November 1, three women and three children entered Cotswold Kids store on the Market Square and spent around 15 minutes looking around the shop. During this time the children were very loud and distracting to the staff member while several items of childrenâ€™s clothing were stolen. A silver Vauxhall Insignia was seen around the area at the time of the incident. If you have any information contact PC Richard Sanders on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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