Friday, 18 February 2011

Part of man’s ear bitten off in Morecambe assault

Police are appealing for information after a man had part of his ear bitten off in Morecambe in an assault in December.

Between 6.40 and 7pm on Monday 13th December 2010, the owner of Central Car Sales on Whitegate, White Lund Industrial Estate was assaulted at the premises.

Four men approached the 28-year-old victim on the garage forecourt and began to punch and kick him before making off. During the attack, which was completely unprovoked, one of the offenders bit part of the victim’s ear off.

He was originally taken to Royal Lancaster Infirmary but was transferred to Royal Preston Hospital the next morning, receiving eight stitches to his ear.

DC Paul Donnelly said: “This was a particularly nasty, unprovoked attack. I don’t believe it was completely random and I believe the attackers may have known their victim.

“Unfortunately, due to the ferocity of the assault, the victim hasn’t been able to provide us with any descriptions of the offenders, but we would appeal to anybody who may have been in the area at the time, who may have seen something, to come forward.

“I would also like to speak with anybody who has any information at all that could help with this investigation to come forward.”

• Anybody with any information should contact police on 01524 596526 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Police appeal for witnesses after Lancaster canalside robbery

Police are appealing for witnesses after a man had his laptop stolen last weekend -- and was then thrown into the canal.

The incident happened on Saturday 12th February between 10.00 and 10.25pm. The victim, who is a local man, was approached by two men as he approached the canal tow path from Ridge Street Bridge.

The two offenders, who had their faces covered, grabbed the victim and stole his laptop computer before pushing him into the Lancaster canal. They then made off into a dark-coloured hatchback car on Green Street.

Although the victim did not suffer any serious injuries he has been left very shaken after a traumatic experience.

Detective Constable Paul Donnelly from Lancaster CID said, “This is an appalling incident and the people responsible must be caught. I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time to come forward and contact the police.”

• Anyone with any information is asked to call Lancaster CID on 01524 596526.

Charity seeks volunteer drivers in Lancaster and Morecambe

Preston Community Transport is looking for volunteer drivers to help them deliver services in the Lancaster and Morecambe area.

Part of the charity's service provision is Community Cars Lancashire which incorporates Lancaster and Morecambe and Lune Valley.

"We at present we have very few drivers in the area," says PCT's Derrick Stainton, "and are looking to recruit volunteer drivers whom use there own cars to take people to appointments day centre and various other activities."

Drivers are reimbursed at 40 pence per mile for fuel costs as this is purely voluntary.

• If you are able to help and would like any further information please contact me on 01772 516208 or at

Outing the Past: Lancashire LGBT History Month

Just launched in LGBT History month, Outing the Past is a blog from Lancashire Cultural Services celebrating LGBT History Month in February 2011 and continuing through the year. Over the coming weeks and months this blog will be bringing you stories, experiences and reminiscences from the LGBT community and their history as it attempts to uncover hidden history.

Lancashire Archives, Libraries and Museums are planning events and launching projects to celebrate the history, culture, and experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual , and transgender people of Lancashire. You’ll be able to find out about all that’s going on in this blog.

'Outing the Past' welcomes your comments and, most importantly, your contributions. If things that you read in the blog strike a chord and bring back a memory, please let them know. The whole point of “Outing the Past” is to tell our Lancashire story in a way we never have before!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

LCC Leader Geoff Driver Mocks Protesters as Cuts Budget Passed

Hundreds of protesters marched in Preston last Saturday, calling for Lancashire County councillors to vote against the budget
Hundreds of protesters marched in Preston last Saturday, calling for Lancashire County councillors to vote against the budget.
Stunned parents of disabled children wept in desperation today as Lancashire County Council Leader Geoff Driver exchanged jokes and mints with his Chief Executive Officer, while leading his Conservative majority council into a vote to approve a 25% reduction in council spending, predominantly targeted at social care.

Interviewed on the BBC’s North West Tonight, Driver comfortably spun platitudes at suggestions that people might lose their jobs, saying that it was not important and that voluntary redundancy and redeployment schemes would take care of any job shortfall. In fact, as Driver well knows, (or ought to, as his staff certainly do) the take-up of the voluntary redundancy offer has been minimal, and the GMB union has already calculated, from the published proposals, that some 6000 of LCC’s 43,000 employees are at risk of losing their jobs.

More than half of the County Council's employees are women. Staggered increases to the female retirement age (66 by 2020) mean that thousands of women are actually currently getting further away from retirement, as they age, not closer to it. Many employees lost out on promised pensions when the LCC pension scheme with Equitable Life collapsed in the 1990s, and need to save for an old age without elderly care services, not go on the dole. As the job market shrinks before our eyes and politicians toss pensions around like children’s toys, enthusiasm for redundancy is at an all-time low.

Many fear that the coalition government's plans for 'workfare' will mean unemployed people being sent to 'fill in' for cut social care jobs, for nominal pay, without employment benefits, rights or training, or lose the welfare payments they need to survive.

Despite the County's warnings to employees that they will face disciplinary action if they participate in anti-cuts activities, care staff turned up in droves today for the meeting, in support of the thousands of service users they have been assisting and protecting for years, to be told that only 40 members of the public could enter the council chamber, which has public seating for 140. Many parents, disabled children and adults, frail elderly people and council employees were left outside to shiver as the council went about axing their lifelines.

In the meeting, several parents who attempted to ask questions were threatened with arrest and led out. Then the entire gallery was cleared. Then the entire building as one indignant service user set off the fire alarm. But eventually the conservative-led council passed the 25% cuts proposals – that they have in fact already started implementing since back in 2010, when their conservative leaders in government told them that Lancashire faced a particularly heavy burden of cuts, and long before any ‘consultation’ or vote.

Even help with special transport for disabled children to get to school has been cut. Other children’s services have also been hit, with 125 youth leaders posts being axed throughout the region, and all the services they provided. The cuts to services, and increases in charges across the board, are just too extensive to list.

Funding to voluntary agencies has been cut by 50% with many agencies severely affected already. Despite the obvious social stresses that rising unemployment brings, Women’s Aid has lost most of its County Council support, with Blackburn & Darwen WA losing all its funding and the refuge (used by at-risk women from this area) now on the brink of closure. Sign their petition here.

Driver mockingly told the BBC that most of the people who came to protest the meeting were just ‘rentamob’.

That would be the people we employ to care for the most vulnerable in our society, risking disciplinary action out of desperation for people they have been trained over a lifetime to serve and care for.

Lancaster & Morecambe Against the Cuts are organising a free public meeting at Lancaster Town Hall this Wednesday 23 February at 7.30pm to discuss the cuts and possible alternatives. Addressing the meeting will be Bob Crow, leader of the RMT, Chris Bambery, of the Right to Work Campaign, Gina Dowding, of the Green Party, and representatives of local community groups with particular interest. Speeches will be brief and discussion from the floor welcome.

From 11.30 – 12.30pm on the same day, Green MP Caroline Lucas will be staffing the Green Party stall in Market Square to talk with local people about the Lancashire cuts crisis.

A Candle Light Vigil is to be held on Tuesday 1 March at 6pm in Dalton Square as a peaceful and dignified protest against cuts in social care. Local disabled children, adults and frail elderly people will be represented, as will voluntary and charitable groups that help support them. Many people threatened by the cuts to social care are too frail to attend, or to stay long, on their own behalves and all support is warmly invited.

Locals set to bring cuts protest to the Lancaster stage

Theatre creatives across the UK - including Lancaster-based talent - are organising a number of events to protest at proposed cuts to the arts, the result of the government's hugely unpopular spending review which has resulted in local councils facing serious challenges to their public spending commitments.

Saturday 19th March will see a national day of protest against the cuts, featuring new short plays by Lucy Kirkwood, Dennis Kelly, Laura Lomas, Anders Lustgarten, Mark Ravenhill, Jack Thorne and Clara Brennan.

In London, performances will be directed by Mark Ravenhill, Lucy Morrison and Katie McAleese alongside Hannah Price, Artistic Director of Reclaim Productions, who are staging the event in association with Meeting Point Productions, with support from Southwark Playhouse.

Across the country, youth groups, university drama societies, schools, am-dram societies, community groups and any other interested parties will perform the plays for free, before audiences who want to think about what the budget cuts really mean, and who they are really hitting.

"Up and down the country a debate will be underway," say the national organisers. "Protest might begin, minds might be changed, views challenged, ideas formed.

"We will have created a response to a situation that we cannot control, and over which we had no say."

Lancaster creatives have told virtual-lancaster they will be putting on performances locally and students at Lancaster University are organizing on-campus performances.

"We've got an odd mix of top-notch theatre professionals, students, and amateurs involved, and it's all getting quite eclectic and exciting," says one of the team, Aliki Chapple.

If you want to take part in the Lancaster performances, or just help out, an audtion and meeting will take place this Saturday (19th February) at 2.00pm at DT 3 (the former church near The Golden Lion) where you can find out more about getting involved.

• If you cannot attend, please get in touch anyway by emailing Aliki via or join the Lancaster group's Facebook page.

• For more information about the Southwark Playhouse project visit:

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Metal thieves targeted in crime crackdown

Scrap metal thieves are being targeted as part of a police crackdown in North Lancashire.

Police have stepped up patrols after a spate of thefts in the Lancaster and Morecambe areas with items such as bicycles and stainless steel kitchen sinks being stolen. Exhaust systems, catalytic converters, a metal trough and road work signs have also been targeted by thieves in the last few weeks.

Officers are working with the Environment Agency, the Department for Work and Pensions and VOSA to carry out checks on vehicles across the area.

People are being urged to secure their property and ensure any property which could be targeted by scrap metal thieves is locked away.

Inspector Dave Vickers said: “This activity is aimed at disrupting scrap metal thieves whilst sending a positive message to the community that the police, working in partnership with other agencies including the Environment Agency, VOSA and the DWP, are working hard to make our neighbourhoods safer.

“We work closely scrap metal dealers on the White Lund Industrial Estate to check vehicles entering the yards are safe and road worthy.

“I urge people to contact us if they see any goods type vehicles acting suspiciously, particularly in isolated rural areas or farms. If they can provide a description of the vehicle and the registration number, we will try to trace the vehicle as soon as possible to ensure everything is above board.

“I also urge members of the public who see people acting suspiciously near to parked vehicles to contact the police and would ask that garages with a large number of vehicles in stock to check their security measures.

“We hope to educate scrap yard workers and waste carriers whilst targeting those who seek to profit from crime by cashing in at local dealers. Anyone found in possession of stolen scrap metal can expect to be dealt with robustly.”

• Anyone with information about scrap metal theft or who sees anything suspicious is urged to contact police on 0845 1 25 35 45 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Appeal for information after Carnforth burglaries

Police are appealing for information after a spate of burglaries in the Carnforth area last year, some targeting local hotels and leisure facilities.

The burglaries took place over a five day period in December and police are urging people to come forward if they have any information.

The first burglary happened at the Longlands Hotel in Tewitfield on Christmas Eve in the early hours of the morning between 1am and 2.30am. The offender or offenders entered the premises by removing the glass from the rear door, then broke open a cigarette machine and took the contents.

The second one took place at the laundry unit at the Pine Lake Resort on Dock Acres overnight, on the 28th to the 29th December. The offender or offenders broke in by forcing a window and unlocking the rear door, then damaged two safes and the office doors although nothing has been reported stolen.

On the same night, again at Pine Lake Resort on Dock Acres, an offender or offenders broke  into the Watersport office through the reception area. Once inside they  searched the building including the changing rooms and stole three ski jackets, an Ipod, two cameras and a pair of binoculars.

In the early hours of the morning on the 29th December, two mobile phones and a wallet were also taken from inside a house on Dock Acres when someone let themselves into the property via the rear door.

On the same night, another house on Dock Acres was broken into. A downstairs window was forced open and a ladies Gucci quartz bracelet watch was stolen from inside. 

It would appear that the back door has been unlocked and the offenders have left via the back door.

“I would appeal for anyone who may have any information to come forward and contact police," urged DC Tim Dodgson from Lancaster CID. “In particular I would ask people who live or work in the area to cast their minds back and to come forward if they remember seeing anything at all suspicious either on the nights in question or at any point around that time.

“Any piece of information could be crucial to the investigation and I would urge anyone who thinks they might be able to help to come forward and contact police.”

• Anyone with information can contact police on 01524 63333 or via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Police appeal following road traffic collision at A6 Yealand Conyers

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward after a Renault Megane was involved in a head on collision with a Ford Ka on the A6 Yealand Conyers last night (Monday 14th February).

The collision happened around 6.45pm 200m south of Snape Lane when the gold Renault Megane, driven by a 62 year old woman was travelling towards Milnthorpe and the black Ford Ka, driven by a 66 year old man from Barrow, was travelling towards Carnforth.

The drivers and sole occupants of both cars were extricated by Lancashire Fore and Rescue Service and conveyed to Royal Lancaster Infirmary with serious but non-life threatening injuries.

A third car, a silver Vauxhall Zafira which was travelling directly behind the Ford Ka was damaged by debris from the collision.

The road was closed for five and a half hours to allow for collision investigation and road to be made safe for reopening.

• Anybody that witnessed the incident or with any information should contact police on 08451 25 35 45.

Monday, 14 February 2011

New officer ready to tackle Lancashire's wildlife crime

Lancashire's new Wildlife Officer Mark Thomas
A new civillian officer with a varied background in policing - including taking on terrorists - has been appointed to supervise investigations into wildlife crime across the county.

Mark Thomas, 37, will now oversee wildlife issues for Lancashire Constabulary and will be based at the force’s headquarters in Hutton. He has worked with the constabulary for 10 years, having moved to his new position from a civilian role in the counter terrorism unit.

“I come from a rural background of farming and game keeping so wildlife issues have always been close to my heart," he says. “I know that my new role will be quite a demanding challenge, but I think that it will be a very rewarding one.

“I'm looking forward to working with fellow officers and the community to help fight wildlife crime in Lancashire.”

Issues that are investigated by the wildlife officer include poaching, badger digging, dog fighting, nest site disturbance, the maintenance of sensitive animal and bird breeding projects, plant thefts and the consequent associated crimes such as burglary, trespassing and theft.

Mark takes over from PC Duncan Thomas, who has been the Constabulary’s wildlife lead for the past six years and whose work included protecting Hen Harriers and the rare Black-Tailed Godwits. With only one pair of godwits in the north of England (and only around 50 breeding pairs in the whole of the UK), the success of the  four in Lancashire is considered vital for the future of these rare birds in the region.

PC Thomas will now work as a response officer in Longridge, but will continue to advise on wildlife issues in the Bowland area, a special place for lots of birds, in particular, birds like Hen Harriers, which are one of the UK's top conservation species.

“I would like to thank all the farmers, game keepers, wildlife wardens and residents who have given me phenomenal help with preventing and investigating wildlife crime," noted PC Thomas. “Their ongoing support will enable Lancashire Constabulary to continue bringing offenders to justice."

The move to 'civilianise' the wildlife officer’s post was taken as part of Lancashire Constabulary’s current review of its services.

Lancashire Police Wildlife Crime Department

Roses are red, violets are blue, the Police are on Facebook, are you?

Lancashire Police has become the latest police force in the country to use the social networking website Facebook to communicate with residents and help combat crime.

The Facebook page, which can be found at, is being officially launched today, Valentines Day with officers saying they would love local residents to log on to the social networking site and become a fan of the force.

They are appealing for anyone with affection for their community or a desire to know what’s being done to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour to visit the police site and click “like” to become a fan.

If they do, they will be the first to receive the latest news from Lancashire Police as well as details of what is being done to tackle local issues. They will also be able to help find wanted criminals and get updates on local incidents and operations, as well as receive news about initiatives and events being run by their local Neighbourhood Policing Teams.

The force is also sending Valentine e-cards to key contacts saying that Lancashire Police would love them to join the Facebook page.

The Valentine launch of the new Facebook page follows Lancashire Constabulary’s Twitter success – the force has over 2,000 Twitter followers via, making it amongst the most popular police Twitter feeds nationally.

The force also recently launched an online questionnaire, soliciting views about its work as part of its efforts to shape its response to demands from Government to cut its spending.

"As one of the country’s top performing police forces, Lancashire Constabulary is keen to remain at the forefront of technology and explore all avenues available to us to help keep residents informed and combat crime," says Chief Superintendent Tim Jacques.

“We’re already using Twitter to keep people updated and to send out news and alerts and by joining Facebook, we aim to further extend our reach amongst local communities.”
He urged people to become a fan of the page saying: “It’s all going on here in Lancashire and from today, it’s all going on Facebook. Lancashire Police would love you to join us.

“Become a fan and you’ll benefit from “real-time,” information straight from the police. You’ll be the first to know what’s going on in your community and you’ll have a chance to work with us to help prevent and detect crime in your local area.”