Friday, 13 December 2013

Stephen Shield sentenced to 12 months for sexual offences


A former canon at Lancaster's Catholic Cathedral, Stephen Shield, has been sentenced to 12 months in prison after he was convicted of three historic sexual offences.

He has been put on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

Shield, 53, of Balmoral Road, Lancaster, was found guilty last month of three counts of indecent assault following a trial at Preston Crown Court and was sentenced earlier today.

The three historic allegations related to one male victim aged between 17-24 years. The offences were committed between 1985 and 1992.


The Bishop of Lancaster, the Right Reverend Michael G Campbell, has described the case as a "tragic episode.

"Those directly involved in this case should know of my heartfelt prayer for each of them and those affected by this heart-breaking affair."



BBC News reports that during his sentencing Judge Anthony Russell QC said it was clear that from his evidence that the victim of the assault felt unable to resist you because of Shield's position as a priest and your authority over him.

"I am in no doubt that his experiences of those indecent assaults had had a profound effect upon him," he said.

During the trial, the victim said Shield abused him under the table at a dinner party in Preston where other priests were among the guests.

Detective Sergeant Alex Gornall, of Lancashire Constabulary’s Public Protection Unit, said: “I am pleased with today’s sentence.

“The victim in this case had lived with the knowledge of Mr Shield’s offending for a long period of time; this has had a significant impact upon him and I just hope that this provides some sort of closure and that he can move on with the rest of his life. It was a difficult decision for the victim to come forward and I am please that he felt confident enough in the Constabulary to help bring this man to justice.

“The fact that these convictions come a long time after they were committed shows that we will always take any allegations of sexual abuse extremely seriously and will investigate them thoroughly no matter how long ago they happened.

“I would encourage people with any information about sexual abuse or who has been a victim of sexual abuse to come forward and report their concerns confident in the knowledge it will be investigated appropriately and with sensitivity.”

The BBC also reports that Shield continues to maintain his innocence over the two presbytery assaults. A petition of support containing 240 signatures from former parishioners in Lancaster was also handed in, which stated Shield was "an excellent priest" who had served them well.

Changes to council services and opening times this Christmas

There will be a number of changes to the availability of Lancaster City Council services and facilities this Christmas.

Closure of public buildings

Lancaster and Morecambe town halls and the council's housing office on Cable Street, Lancaster will close for Christmas at 3pm on Christmas Eve and re-open at 9.00am (until 5.00pm) on Monday 30th December. 

On New Year's Eve, these buildings will close to members of the public at 3.00pm and re-open at 9.00am on Thursday 2nd January.

Christmas refuse and recycling collections
 
There will be changes to refuse and recycling collections over the Christmas and New Year period.

The changes will begin Saturday 21st December to Saturday 4th January 2014.
 
Normal collection day:           Will be collected on:

Monday December 23               Saturday 21 December
Tuesday December 24              Monday December 23
Wednesday December 25         Tuesday December 24
Thursday December 26             Friday December 27
Friday December 27                 Saturday December 28
Monday December 30               Monday December 30
Tuesday December 31              Tuesday December 31
Wednesday January 01             Thursday January 02
Thursday January 02                 Friday January 03
Friday January 03                     Saturday January 04

Recycle as much as possible this festive season. Most of the additional waste generated at Christmas can be recycled including glass, cans, plastic bottles, cardboard, Christmas cards and wrapping paper, and not forgetting your food waste.

Lancaster City Council will always collect extra recyclables put out for collection.  Additional paper, card, cans and plastic bottles can be put out in separate, clearly labelled carrier bags, but please ensure all glass is inside a recycling box.

If you have misplaced your collection calendar please visit www.lancaster.gov.uk/bins 

Real Christmas trees can be recycled by cutting them down to fit into your green wheelie bin or by taking them to Keer Bridge or Salt Ayre Household Waste Recycling Centres.  Alternatively, St John’s Hospice will once again be collecting recycling Christmas trees during the weekend of January 11 and 12, in exchange for a minimum donation of £5 to the charity.  Collections must be booked in advance.  For more information visit www.sjhospice.org.uk or telephone 01524 382538.

Extra Charter Markets

There will be slight changes to the opening times of Lancaster's Charter Market during the festive period.

As the market's normal Wednesday opening days will fall on Christmas and New Year's Day when the market will be closed, extra markets have been arranged.

These will take place on Christmas Eve (Tuesday, 24th December) and there will be a small market on Thursday 2nd January from 9.00am - 4.00pm.

• For information on the opening times of the council's markets, sport and leisure facilities including Williamson Park visit www.lancaster.gov.uk/christmas-opening

Government confirms funding for Heysham to M6 Link Road

Work will begin in earnest in the New Year on the Heysham to M6 Link Road after the government confirmed funding for the scheme.

The Department for Transport has finalised its £111m contribution towards the road today, a route which which will link the Heysham Peninsula to the M6 motorway, marking the start of a new era for economic growth and improved transport.

It allows Lancashire County Council to enter into a contract with Costain and get underway with construction in early January 2014.

County Councillor John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "The link road supports our aspiration to build a strong economic infrastructure throughout Lancashire.

"Around 3,000 people are due to be employed during construction of the road, and up to 100 local unemployed people will receive training and jobs during construction.

"I recently visited the depot and 90 per cent of the staff employed on site lived in an LA postcode area.

"The road also provides excellent value for money in terms of considerable benefits for local traffic, businesses and employment," he claims, "while acting as a catalyst for wider economic growth. A study has predicted that every £1 invested in the link road will earn £4.40 for the economy.

"The link road has long been one of our top priority transport schemes, and I'm very pleased we now have everything in place to move ahead with building it.

"For a scheme that was first conceived before I was born I would like to thank all those people who have work so hard on this project, they are a credit to their community and the county council. I have been proud to sign the approvals for the scheme."

The Council says the link road will provide better access to Morecambe and industrial areas which include the Port of Heysham and the Heysham power stations.

Costain recently began constructing an area to accommodate staff, offices and equipment needed to build the link road at an army camp on Halton Road leased from the Ministry of Defence.

Terms have been negotiated with Costain that gives an estimated construction cost of £124.5m. Lancashire County Council will fund the remainder following the DfT's £111m contribution and fund the preparation costs of £5.7m.

• Lancashire County Council has redesigned the website for the project to make it easy for you to stay up to date throughout construction. Search for Heysham Link at www.lancashire.gov.uk

Thursday, 12 December 2013

County consults on latest round of Bus Cuts; Dial-A-Ride gets boost

Carnforth Connect Service
(withdrawn in 2012)
Due to budget pressures Lancashire County Council is proposing to reduce overall support for buses to focus on maintaining services during the daytime and ensure the county's most vulnerable people can access public transport.

People are being asked for their views on plans to save £3.8m over two years which would see funding withdrawn for evening and Sunday services that currently receive council subsidies to allow them to operate.

The proposals are being consulted on as part of the council's budget for 2014, as it confronts an unprecedented financial challenge, needing to save £300m over the next four years due to central government cuts. The county council's budget will be decided at a meeting of the Full Council on 20 February 2014.

In addition, the council proposes to invest a further £500,000 in dial-a-ride services to ensure community transport providers have the capacity to cater for those most in need.

80% of bus services in Lancashire are run by private companies on a commercial basis because they are profitable. The remaining 20% are not commercially viable and are currently subsidised by around £8m from the county council each year.

The proposal would see subsides withdrawn from 72 evening and Sunday services from 18 May 2014.

Subsidies would continue to 103 bus services which operate during the day, but each would be reviewed on a case by case basis when its current contract expires to ensure it remains sustainable.

County Councillor John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "We would never have chosen to be in this financial situation but have to find ways to drastically reduce our budget due to cuts imposed by central government.

"Our first priority is to safeguard the most vulnerable members of our society but to achieve this we have to look at everything we do and propose some difficult solutions.

"The county council spends around £8m each year subsidising bus travel. This proposal would maintain the bulk of that spending, while saving £1.8m next year and £2m a year after that, by focusing on subsidising routes during the day, when they are most used by people going about their business - getting to work or medical appointments and doing their shopping.

"We have also proposed an additional £500,000 investment in community transport such as dial-a-ride services to ensure that support is focused on those with the greatest need and where the public transport network is particularly limited.

"I'm fully aware that the withdrawal of any bus service would have an impact upon the people who use it. These are proposals at this stage and no decision will be taken without carefully considering the results of this consultation."

No future support for abandoned commercial routes
Another proposal which features as part of the consultation is a change to the council's policy on public transport. Currently the council considers whether it can step in to support a service when a commercial bus company withdraws a route – usually because it is not considered profitable. The new policy would make it clear the council could not do this in future.

You can view the consultation documents and the full list of services affected at
http://www3.lancashire.gov.uk/corporate/consultation/responses/response.asp?ID=225
and respond on the website.
You can also email responses to lcc.bus.services@lancashire.gov.uk
or by post to Bus and Supported Transport Manager, Lancashire County Council, Room D3, PO Box 100, County Hall, Preston, PR1 0LD.
The closing date for responses is Friday 10 January 2014.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Local Cinema Round-up for 11th to 19 December 2013 by Peter Clarke

For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day listings every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, official film links and reviews.

New releases this period include the much awaited second installment of Tolkien's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (12A). In addition there is humour with Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (15) and a tribute to the life of Nelson Mandela with Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (12A).

The seasonal spirit is evident with the screening of Free Birds, Frozen, Saving Santa, Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger!, Arthur Christmas, Elf, Ghost Stories at Christmas and the classic White Christmas. However there remains an excellent selection of films without a Christmas theme including Philomena, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Carrie and One Chance.

Reviews

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Director: Adam McKay
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Adam McKay, Paul Rudd, Kristen Wiig, Christina Applegate, Steve Carell, Will Ferrell
San Diego's newsman Ron Burgundy returns for the sequel to the original 2004 Anchorman movie. The film is set in the 80s at the GNN 24 hour news network. We find Rob little changed; egomanical, blunt and as idiosyncratic as ever and the action again has a strong element of the surreal. The film has a few cringe-worthy moments but is a real 'laugh out loud' comedy that is a worthy successor to the original movie.

Free Birds
Director: Jimmy Hayward
Certificate: U
Cast includes: Owen Wilson, Keith David, Colm Meaney, Woody Harrelson, Amy Poehler, Dan Fogler
Two turkeys (as in birds, not films), Reggie and Jake, use a time machine to attend the first Thanksgiving meal in an attempt to get turkey removed from subsequent thanks-giving dinners. Reggie is from a free-range turkey farm and he realises why turkeys are being fattened!  Jake has the vision of commandeering the time machine in an attempt to change history. The film has some romantic interest with Reggie falling for Jenny, a turkey he meets during the adventure. In all the plot of this animation seems a little over complicated and the film contains some rude humour that may not be appropriate for the very young. In all an entertaining movie but one that is not destined to become a classic.

Frozen
Director: Chris Buck
Certificate PG
Cast includes Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Alan Tudyk, Jonathan Groff
This Disney musical animation is loosely based on the fairy tale 'The Snow Queen'. The queen has condemned a kingdom to eternal winter. It is up to Anna (her sister) and loner Kristoff to undertake an epic journey to find the Snow Queen and convince her to lift the icy spell. This is a magical movie destined to become a classic. It will appeal to families and children of all ages and makes an ideal movie for Christmas.

Gravity
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
Ryan Stone (Bullock) a medical engineer and seasoned astronaut Matt Kowalsky (Clooney) are on a shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Telescope. However during a routine space walk, disaster strikes as the shuttle is destroyed by impact from space debris and Stone tumbles free in space. The film follows Stone's plight as she battles to survive. Bullock gives a superlative performance in this spectacularly shot movie. However the interest of the film is not the impressive special effects but rather the exploration of human frailty in adversity.

Philomena
Director: Stephen Frears
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan
A quaint and charming film based on the book 'The Lost Child of Philomena Lee' by Martin Sixsmith. Dench plays Philomena, an Irish woman who had her baby taken from her for adoption in the USA whilst she was forced to live in a convent after becoming pregnant out of wedlock. Much later in life she enlists the help of Sixsmith to try to discover the whereabouts of her lost son. Coogan produced the film and co-wrote the screenplay. He plays Sixsmith, the journalist who has fallen out of favour. Both Dench and Coogan give superb performances in this funny and heartwarming if a little sentimental film. Well worth seeing.

Saving Mr. Banks
Director: John Lee Hancock
Certificate PG
Cast Includes Emma Thompson, Bradley Whitford, Colin Farrell, Tom Hanks
A film exploring the tribulations as Walt Disney battled to make the musical 'Mary Poppins'. Disney promised his daughters that he would make a film of the book, but the author, Mrs Travers, proved to be difficult to work with and had very fixed ideas regarding the interpretation of her work. She hated the sentimentalization of her book and the use of animation. She only gave grudging approval as she needed the money. This film is more sentimental than accurate, and includes numerous flashbacks regarding Traver's rather troubled life. Acting is great and the friction between Mrs Travers (Emma Thompson) and Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) makes for compelling viewing.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Director: Peter Jackson
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Richard Armitage
In this second installment of The Hobbit, we find Bilbo Baggins and his group of comrades continuing in their journey to the Lonely Mountain in order to extract gold from the dragon Smaug whilst being pursued by an army of Orcs. This film is a splendid action adventure, more so than the first of the trilogy. It is imaginative, with plenty of special effects and a block buster feel about it. However it again puts action above developing the characters of the protagonists. A great Christmas movie that will leave you anticipating the concluding film in the trilogy.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Director: Francis Lawrence
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland
The Hunger Games started as an extremely successful trilogy by Suzanne Collins. For this reviewer, the first Hunger Games excursion into film felt a little clunky. However Catching Fire has got everything right and is a first rate movie. Katniss Everdeen was the winner in the 74th Hunger Games tournament and as victor she and Peeta Mellark must undertake a victors' tour of the districts. However rebellion is 'in the air' and the ruler, President Snow, sees Katniss as a potential threat to the status quo. He plots to discredit and kill her by involving her in a new Hunger Games along with old winners. Now the participants need to defeat President Snow - but avoid killing each other. This is a dark, tense, thrilling and very enjoyable movie.

Thor: The Dark World
Director: Alan Taylor
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Kat Dennings Thor must combat an ancient, pervasive and powerful enemy, led by Malekith, to save the earth and all the realms. Much of the action is played out in Asgard and the interaction between Thor and Loki provides a major part of the film. However there is plenty of action and a strong vein of humour. In all a film that is very entertaining and does not take itself too seriously.

Turbo
Director: David Soren
Certificate: U
Cast Includes: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Peña
A DreamWorks animation in which Turbo is a snail obsessed with racing cars who dreams of competing in the Indianapolis 500 race. His hopes start to look more realistic when an accident with a car engine provides him with a magical turn of speed. The animation is expertly done. The snails have cute believable personalities and the whole has a real 'feelgood' factor of an underdog following his dreams. The film follows the DreamWorks hit animation 'The Croods' and whilst it is extremely enjoyable, it lacks twists and subplots that make for a really memorable movie.

For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day listings every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up and reviews.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Lancashire Rural Community Rallies Following B4RN Broadband Equipment Theft


Volunteers working to bring a high speed broadband project to rural Lancashire have rallied to keep the project on course after a robbery of vital equipment needed to lay cables.

On the night pf 4th December 2013, equipment was stolen from a locked trailer belonging to the Broadband for the Rural North community broadband project. The trailer was parked at Fleets Farm, Gressingham near Lancaster as work was being carried out in that area.

Thieves cut the padlock and took a number of items including a compressor, a generator, a transformer and a fibre optic cable blowing machine. The police were called the following morning and are dealing with the matter.



(Planet equipment seems to be flavour of the month for thieves - we've heard the M6 Link site at Halton has also been targetted).

B4RN is fully insured for all operatives and equipment, however the theft of this equipment was likely to cause delays to work whilst replacements were sourced. B4RN volunteers are making a real push to get as many people as possible connected before Christmas so this was a particularly disheartening blow.

Fortunately these delays have been eliminated as the community have pulled together in response and loaned money to B4RN so the equipment can be replaced quickly. In addition, one of B4RN’s main suppliers, Emtelle, have supplied replacement equipment on a loan basis. This will allow work to continue as planned which will ensure the community, which desperately needs the connectivity, receives it with the minimum of delay.

Clearly this is a disappointment to the B4RN community. However in the spirit they have already demonstrated in providing one of the most rural parts of the UK with one of the fastest connections in the world, they have shown great resilience and once again pulled together robustly in support of their project because they are determined that this will not be a setback.

The B4RN community asks that if anyone has information on this theft then please contact PC Ben Hanley PC3962 at Lancaster Police Station on 01524 596608 quoting Crime Reference BA1303993.

B4RN is a community broadband project which is deploying a state of the art, fibre optic broadband connection to the rural communities long before most of the urban areas. Rural Lancashire plans to be a world leader in “hyperfast”. B4RN is providing a 100% fibre optic broadband connection, capable of delivering 1Gbs (1000Mbs) both upload and download.

• Web: www.B4RN.org.uk • Twitter: @dig2agig • Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/B4RN-rural-broadband/105319176241916

Girl, 14, assaulted in Morecambe

Police are appealing for information after a 14 year old girl was assaulted and had money stolen in Morecambe.

Around 9.45pm on Monday 2nd December the teenager was walking along Queen Street when she passed a group of teenagers.

As she reached the Premier Shop she was pushed to the floor from behind and was then scratched and kicked before having money and her bus pass stolen.

The only descriptions the young girl was able to give of the people involved was of a white girl aged 14-16, wearing a short, pink skirt and a white boy, also aged 14-16, wearing light grey Voi jeans with black pockets and black Nike Blazer trainers.

PC Matt Entwistle said: “This was a nasty, unprovoked assault by a group of teenagers on a lone 14 year old girl. She suffered cuts and bruising and has been left shaken by what’s happened.

“If anybody was in the area around the time of the assault and thinks they may have seen this particular group of teenagers then I would urge them to contact police.

“The two descriptions the young girl was able to provide highlight quite distinctive clothing and if anybody thinks they can identify these people from the descriptions given then I would ask them to come forward.”

• Anybody with any information can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at Crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Review: Simόn Bolívar String Quartet at Live at LICA

Simόn Bolívar String Quartet
Simόn Bolívar String Quartet at Live at LICA
Thursday, 5 December 2013
in the Great Hall, Lancaster University,

Reviewed by Sally Ryde

I feared these four musicians would be too young to deliver the exquisite musical experience that only a chamber music ensemble of many years standing can do. I also feared that because the quartet is carved out of Venezuela’s Simόn Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, part of the renowned El Sistema family, its members would be constantly in flux as individuals reached adult age and moved on.

I was pleasantly surprised therefore to learn that the Simόn Bolívar is no longer a youth orchestra (all the kids grew up) and, further, that the orchestra’s string section leaders who comprise the Simόn Bolívar String Quartet have made music together all their lives.

Boy, did it show! It was like a musical octopus: four pairs of arms controlled by a single brain. Young players with bags of enthusiasm and experience - it really doesn't get any better than that.

The first piece of the evening was written by a 17-year-old Felix Mendelssohn who, according to the programme note, already had two string symphonies and his overture to ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ behind him. Remarkable! As someone said recently, only if one is a music critic might one believe that he or she must find clever words to describe music. The rest of us can simply enjoy the moment!

The enjoyment we experienced in that Mendelssohn ‘moment’ was enormous. I loved it all but was particularly drawn to the fugal middle section of the slow movement, the theme of which appears again near the end of the finale.

Unfortunately, the final five or more seconds of silence that should have brought the Mendelssohn to a close had to be abandoned by the performers because of the insistence of one or two listeners to ignore the clear indication from the players that despite the fact that they were no longer making any sounds, the piece was not yet finished. Such a shame that some people fail to appreciate that music is a mix of both sounds and silences and that the latter, including their durations, are just as important as the sounds.

Curiously, the lights went up in the Great Hall as the performers took a short break before the second work. This caused enough confusion for a few people to get up and head for the bar. When the quartet suddenly returned to the platform, however, there followed some nimble-footed scrambling as those who had been misled quickly returned to their places.

Their agility was well-rewarded with the performance of the wonderful Shostakovich String Quartet No.8, possibly the best loved of his works for this combination of instruments. Composed in 1960 at a location near Dresden and dedicated to the victims of fascism and war, it is based heavily on the four notes B, C, D and E-flat which notes in the German notation system are known as H, C, D, and Es. Arranged in the order D Es C H, the spoken names of these notes (D S C H) spell out the first part of the German transliteration of the composer’s name (Dimitri Schostakovich).

The DSCH theme recurs throughout the work’s five movements, the first of which sets the motif out in fugal form at the very start. Hauntingly beautiful, its subsequent reappearances in a variety of guises were all ‘moments to be enjoyed’, not analysed with a scholarly pen.

Those of us who would readily have sat through a repeat of the Shostakovich thought that the final item, the Brahms quartet, fine though it was, could have been placed earlier in the programme so that the sounds of Shostakovich would remain fresh in the mind for the journey home.

Incidentally, had it not been for an error in the programme notes (mistakenly giving the name ‘Görlitz’ rather than ‘Gohrisch’ to the place near Dresden in which Shostakovich had been staying), I might not have recalled the similarity between the DSCH motto and a recurring figure in Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, composed 20 years earlier in the Nazi prisoner-of-war camp in Görlitz. Indeed such is the kinship of the tonalities of the two pieces that the opening bars of the first movement of the Shostakovich can be played simultaneously against the beginning of the fifth movement of the Messiaen with little or no sense of inappropriate dissonance.

S. Ryde

Artists’ recording website:
http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/gb/gpp/index/simon-bolivar-string-quartet-signing

Concert Programme:
Mendelssohn: String Quartet in A minor, Op.13
Shostakovich: String Quartet No.8 in C minor, Op.110
Brahms: String Quartet No.2 in A minor, Op.51

Tickets were priced (web advance):  Adults £21.50, Concessions £18.50, Young person/student £7.50

Future musical events at Live at LICA: Live at LICA ‘What’s On

Monday, 9 December 2013

Morecambe man imprisoned for robbery and burglaries in hometown

Paul Moss
Paul Moss,  a 42-year-old man from Morecambe was today imprisoned for a total of four years and nine months for a robbery on an 84-year-old woman, trespassing with intent to steal and handling stolen goods.

Moss, from Morecambe, but of no fixed address, was sentenced to three years and nine months’ imprisonment at Preston Crown Court having pleaded guilty of committing a robbery.

Moss was also then imprisoned for a further eight months having pleaded guilty to trespassing into a dwelling with the intent of committing a burglary, and another four months’ imprisonment having pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods. The sentences are to be served consecutively, meaning Moss was sentenced to a total of four years and nine months’ imprisonment.

The first offence took place on Sunday 18th August of this year when Moss assaulted an 84-year-old woman on Pedder Street, Morecambe, stealing her purse and the money it contained. The second offence took place on Tuesday 30th July when Moss entered an address on Queen Street, Morecambe, with the intention of committing a burglary. Finally, the third offence took place on Thursday 25th July of this year when Moss handled copper piping that had been stolen from an address on Deansgate, Morecambe.

DC David Bell of Lancaster CID said “Moss has committed a number of offences in a short period of time, all of which have caused distress to his victims, and so, we welcome the custodial sentences that have been handed down to him today.

“In particular, to target an 84-year-old victim going about her shopping is utterly disgraceful, and Moss should be ashamed of himself.

“That is not to take away from the other two offences," he continued. "The theft of the copper piping from the address on Deansgate caused significant water damage to the property and distress to the victim. Hopefully, the sentence given to Moss today will give them some redress.”

The sentencing comes as Lancashire Constabulary are running Operation Julius, targeting criminals and detecting burglaries across the county.

It will continue to run until the end of December, and will see officers using a range of overt and covert tactics including visits to Lancashire’s top 30 burglary suspects, executing warrants and high-visibility police patrols.

The Duo back in Lancaster for festive gig


News reaches us of a fab’n’whizzo of folk event to keep you amused and happy between Christmas and New Year. Wow, you say, what can that be?  Well….

The Duo – From Folk to Floyd will be playing at the Golden Lion (Moor Lane, Lancaster) on Saturday 28th December 2013.

The Duo comprise singers and guitarists Dave Emptage and Tony Cooke, offering an evening of varied music and songs ranging from traditional folksong through material by the likes of Paul Simon, John Lennon and David Bowie to some out-and-out rockers and a couple of Pink Floyd numbers.

Dave and Tony both play acoustic guitars, although these are enhanced from time to time by the use of some electronic wizardry, and specialise in performing songs with strong melodies and good vocal harmonies.

They tend to start the evening with softer ballads and folk songs and gradually raise the tempo throughout the two sets to reach a point where people are either singing along or have left.

The Duo will start, as usual, shortly after 9.00pm and perform 2 sets of songs, ending at some little time after 11.00pm. Get along, have a drink or two and enjoy the music – you won’t be sorry (you’ll be dead glad).

• The Duo online at: www.myspace.com/theduofolktofloyd

The Storm Surge: A Tale of Two Morecambe Bay Towns


Morecambe, Thursday 5th December as the westerlies pushed the surge.
Image: William Oliphant


Grange-over Sands, Thursday 5th December.
Image: Beth Pipe (@CumbrianRambler)


When the "storm surge" hit Morecambe Bay last Thursday, the media's focus was on the worst that Nature threw at the coastline and how it affected its inhabitants and property - but not every town suffered.

The two images above, sent to us by the Morecambe Bay Partnership, were taken at the same time on Thursday when the surge tide hit. The westerly wind pushed the storm into Morecambe but Grange was flat calm as it is sheltered from the west.

The Morecambe Bay Partnership is a small charity that makes big things happen for the Bay’s communities, working hard to bring benefits to the communities, heritage and environment around the Bay.

“These two images are taken just nine miles apart, but seem worlds away, notes Susannah Bleakley, Executive Director at the Partnership. "Grange is having a beautiful day with a full tide up to the promenade, but it’s mayhem in Morecambe which is facing west and feels the full force of the storm.”

"Fetch is also relevant, the distance that a wind has blown before it reaches the shore.  A longer fetch means a bigger sea. A storm surge happens when low pressure, high wind and high tides coincide."

Web: www.morecambebay.org.ukTwitter: @_MBay