Friday, 25 June 2010

Blow the whistle on anti-social behaviour during World Cup

With reports of England fans on their best behaviour in South Africa, local police are determined World Cup watchers will follow suit, and are urging local residents to blow the whistle on anti-social activities 'inpsired' by the tournament.

Reports of anti-social behaviour and criminal damage can increase on match days, often caused by the way in which people chose to either celebrate or commiserate a game’s result.

National figures show that anti-social behaviour can increase by 15 per cent due to people binge drinking and by 20 per cent due to drug use.

Lancaster’s Community Safety Partnership, which includes agencies such as the City and County Councils, Lancashire Police and the local NHS, is working together throughout the World Cup period to reduce these problems by increasing awareness of the risks of alcohol and substance misuse.

The CSP’s ‘Let’s Tackle It’ campaign, which has seen posters go up in pubs, clubs and other social venues across the district, highlights the ways in which offenders can get help through charities such as Drugs Line and Drink Line.

Residents are also being encouraged to report unruly anti-social behaviour to the police and incidents of noise nuisance or other environmental issues to Lancaster City Council.

Diversionary activities are being set up for the area’s youngsters, to provide them with positive activities and reduce juvenile nuisance problems.

“People have been really enjoying the World Cup but we want residents to know that there are places to turn to if they are experiencing problems or want help," commented CSP chair, Coun Eileen Blamire.

“Those who are being affected by anti-social behaviour can contact the police or the council to seek a resolution, while those who are in need of support because of drink or drug-related problems also have someone to turn to.”

“The World Cup is a fantastic tournament," she added. "Let’s enjoy it together. However let’s not forget that where behaviour falls below expected standards, action will be taken.”

• Drink Line can be contacted on 0808 917 8282 and Drugs Line can be contacted on 0808 160 6606. Anti-social behaviour can be reported to the police on 01524 63333 or, if it is noise nuisance or environmental damage, which does not require an urgent response, Lancaster City Council on 01524 582000.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

New exhibition opens to celebrate 20 years of artist’s work

MachinegunnersbyPaulMason200x274.jpgA new exhibition by Lancaster-based artist Paul Mason opens at the University of Cumbria’s Alexandra Gallery on the Lancaster campus today (Thursday 24th June), celebrating two decades of artistic work.

Entitled ‘Recurrent Enquiry’, it's a retrospective exhibition which looks at the artist’s development over the last 20 years, consistently running through this is an involvement with fired clay, printmaking and other ceramic processes. The work is influenced by artists totally outside contemporary ceramics with Max Ernst, Joseph Cornell, Kurt Schwitters, Eduardo Paolozzi and Peter Blake being important references.

Paul has exhibited internationally and won a number of awards for his work. His art is also part of collections in the USA, Croatia and Hungary.

“The underlying concern is with the contrast and visual equivalence which exists between natural forms and manufactured forms," he says. "In the earlier work there is a constant reference to objects which were either designed, or evolved to perform specific functions. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, containers that were built to house scientific, natural history and mathematical instruments provide the source material for how the work is assembled and exhibited.

"The technology of warfare has been a key element which has consistently been revisited in the work, in particular the First World War and the ferocity, futility and the melancholy it evokes.”

• The free exhibition, which will be open weekdays 9.30am-4.30pm, runs from Thursday 24 June until Monday 19 July.

Fairfield Celebrates a Decade of Achievements

Lancaster's Fairfield Association is ramping up to host its annual “Fun Day” on Fairfield Green on Saturday 3rd July, recreating the village fete atmosphere that has entertained people from across Lancaster annually since 1996.

“We always have a fantastic time, whatever the weather," explains Andrew Brennand, Chair of the Association. "This year is just that extra bit special since we are celebrating the fact it is ten years since we opened the Millennium Orchard.

We're not planning to rest on our laurels though - as well as celebrating the past we have our eyes firmly fixed on the future. Come along to learn more about the local FAUNA nature reserve and how you can help protect the fields between the Orchard and the canal from housing development.”

Families use the Fairfield Association funded and managed playground on Fairfield Green throughout the year, but the annual Fun Day is a chance for the community to come together at the start of the summer and celebrate this special corner of the city. There will be attractions and games to appeal to all ages as well as stalls selling allotment produce, books and local crafts people will be selling their wares.

For those with an appetite barbecue, teas, cakes and ice-creams will be available. The afternoon will conclude with a tug-of-war competition.

“Charities like ours always need funds, but this year with a key piece of Lancaster’s heritage and environment to protect, we need people’s help even more," explains Mick Short, Project Manager of the Fields Appeal. "By coming along to Fun Day local people will contribute to this and have a great time too.”

• The Fun Day takes place on Saturday 3rd July between 12pm and 5pm at the end of Sibsey Street and Wingate Saul Road. All funds raised will help towards the Fairfield Association’s mission of protecting and improving green spaces in Lancaster.

Community Policing Pays Off in Morecambe

Morecambe police arrested seven people, seized a car and carried out searches at four properties as part of a two-day operation focussing on community concerns.

Officers in Morecambe have been listening closely to what residents have had to say at Police And Communities Together meetings, through a special survey carried out in the Westgate area and via other forums and carried out the operation as a direct result of issues raised by local people.

On Monday, officers arrested seven people who had outstanding warrants against them from the courts. All were transferred directly to Lancaster Magistrates Court to be dealt with. The following day a search warrant was executed in connection with North Yorkshire Police at a property in Granville Road, where a 39-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of theft.

Searches were also carried out at Batholomew Road and at a flat on Alexandra Road, although nothing was found at the addresses.

Officers later seized an uninsured car and a motorist was reported for driving licence offences.

"With the assistance of our specialist staff we have been able to directly respond to our communities’ concerns and issues raised in the local PACT meetings," says Inspector Geoff Tagg, Morecambe Police. "They told us they were concerned about these addresses and we responded positively within a short space of time.

“Some residents have already been in touch with us to express their thanks but we would also like anyone with any information about any anti-social behaviour in their area to contact us so that we can work together to improve life for local residents.”

Launched in 2004, PACT Meetings and the community policing initiatives that sprang from them have proved popular with local residents, offering more opportunities for 'intelligence gathering' which can have an impact on crime levels - including anti-social behaviour.

With impending cuts to the Home Office budget due later this year, many people have raised concerns that community policing will be reduced. Earlier this year, for example, Edinburgh Council chiefs slashed £147,000 worth of funding for community policing as part of their cost-cutting drive. London also cut its policing budget in February although the cuts were not to "frontline officers"

The Daily Telegraph noted to day that traditional "old fashioned" police station face the axe and officer numbers are set to plummet as Government departments are forced to cut costs in the wake of the Budget.

• Anyone with concerns about their community should contact police on 01524 63333.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

CCTV appeal after shop customer threatened with saw during robbery in Bolton-le-Sands

robbery_blsrelated_210210.jpgPolice are appealing for information after a customer was threatened with a saw during a robbery at a Spar shop in Bolton-le-Sands.

Police have now released a CCTV image of a man they would like to speak to in connection with the incident at the Bolton-le-Sands shop on 21st February 2010.

Three males, wearing their hoods up, entered the store and demanded cash and cigarettes from the cashier. A Stihl saw was used in an attempt to steal further cash from an ATM located within the store. The saw was also used to threaten a male customer who entered the store during the robbery.

A fourth male was waiting outside and the group are believed to have left the area in a car that had been stolen in a burglary in Maghull the day before.

Detective Sergeant Paul Richardson, Lancaster and Morecambe burglary team, said: “This was quite a terrifying incident for the female cashiers and the elderly female customer who were inside the shop, as well as the male customer who entered the store while this was happening. We believe the offenders are not from the local area and would urge anyone with any information to come forward.”

• Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 0845 1 25 35 45, quoting logs LC-20100221-1162

Please note: The CCTV image above is NOT from the store where the robbery took place.

Have your say on City Councillor expenses

Lancaster City Council is inviting local people to have their say on councillor allowances by becoming members of the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP).

The IRP recommends the level of allowances and expenses paid to city councillors under the Members Allowance Scheme.

This month, the Council agreed to freeze member allowances and keep rates as set for the previous financial year pending a review of the scheme by the IRP.

With a number of vacancies on the panel needing to be filled, it’s an ideal time to get involved and be part of the panel that make recommendations on allowances and expenses your city councillors receive.

On average, meetings take place two to three times a year at Lancaster Town Hall but will be held more frequently in years when a full review of the scheme is to take place.

The next review is due to take place soon.

Those appointed as members of the panel must not be a member of the city council or any of its committees. They must also not be disqualified from becoming a councillor. The duties of the post may require travelling and if so, travelling expenses will be reimbursed.

• An application form, together with full details of the requirements of the appointment and additional background information, is available from Democratic Services, Town Hall, Dalton Square, Lancaster, LA1 1PJ.

Alternatively download a form from the council’s website, email or telephone 01524 582096.

• If you would like to know more, please telephone Roger Muckle, Corporate Director (Finance and Performance) on 01524 582022.

Plant trailer recovered by police as part of Operation Motif

Poilce have recovered a £700 plant trailer after it was stolen from outside a Garstang home.

The trailer was taken from an address in Green Lane West on Friday June 18. Officers involved in Operation Motif recovered the trailer four days later from an industrial work unit in Mill Lane, Hambleton and a Preesall resident has been charged with theft and will appear at Lancaster Magistrates Court on 29th June.

Operation Motif was set up by Lancashire Constabulary in 2009 with the aim of preventing and detecting rural thefts. The operation combines the specialist skills of road policing officers, neighbourhood policing and pro-active target teams and works in conjunction with members of the community. The operation has received significant help and assistance from local companies such as E H Booths, Cabussmart Garage and Carrs Billington, and was part funded by Lanpac.

“Although crime in the Garstang and Over Wyre areas are still relatively low, rural thefts do occur and Operation Motif goes some way to reducing and preventing these thefts," says PC Dave Kerfoot of Garstang police. "This result shows how effective the police and community can be when working together and I would like to thank those members of the community, and the companies involved, for their work and dedication, without which the operation would be far more difficult to run.

"Lancashire Constabulary is proud of our strong links within the communities we serve and we remain committed to tackling crime in rural areas," he added. "I would like to re-assure people that the operation will continue to run."

• Anybody with any information regarding rural crimes is encouraged to contact either their local neighbourhood policing team or PC Kerfoot on 01995 607834.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Bounce into Summer: Trampolining and Gymnastics on offer

Gymnasts in action Lancaster will be getting a definite bounce into its step as the new City of Lancaster Gymnastics & Trampolining Club (formerly SmartAc) is holding a Launch Show on Friday 25 June at the University Of Cumbria Sports Complex. The show will involve around 12 displays featuring all gymnasts at the club, which has around 100 members. So If you’ve ever been interested in starting gymnastics and want to see what members of the club do, or simply want to watch some highly entertaining displays then come along!

Tickets for the show can be bought on the door and will cost £3 per adult and £1.50 per child and the entertainment starts at 7.30pm. If you can’t make the evening and would like to know more, the lead coach Marie Gardner can be contacted on 07807 009 410 or you can visit the web-site

Elsewhere, Salt Ayre Sports Centre is also starting 8-week trampolining courses on Tuesday 6 July, through the summer holidays. The children’s beginners class runs from 4pm, intermediate to advanced from 5pm, and adults (from 16yrs upwards) from 6pm. Classes last 55 minutes and children under eight must be accompanied by an adult.

Trampolining is a great exercise activity for all ages and level of fitness. It can help you achieve better flexibility and coordination as well as improving reaction times. It is an aerobic activity, so will help to increase overall fitness and stamina by getting that heart rate going!

The course costs £32, with enrolment taking place at Salt Ayre (tel: 01524 847540) from Monday 21 June onwards.
NB Public bus services to Salt Ayre were discontinued some years ago. The nearest bus stop is at Asda.