Saturday, 30 June 2012

Bike owners - lock up your property

Local cyclists are being urged to lock their bicycles away when finished with them after thieves targeted bike racks on vehicles.

Protective chains are often no preventative to determined criminals, who have been targeting cars even when bikes appear to be securely fastened to racks.

The call comes after a £400 silver mountain bike was stolen from a bike rack on a vehicle parked in Applegarth Road, Heysham, overnight on in early June, after the thief cut through a steel rope chain to get it.

Two mountain bikes, with a total value of £1,200, were also taken from a rack on a car parked in Hillside, Lancaster on 10th June. The thief prised open the link arm bars of the rack and cut the securing straps from tyres before making off with the two bikes.

“People assume that because they have fastened their bikes to their cars that they have done enough to prevent them being stolen," notes Detective Inspector Martin Pearson of Lancaster police. "Unfortunately, a thief will see a bike and will know it can make them a large amount of money so they can be determined.

“The best solution is to remove the temptation – once you are finished with it, lock you bike away in a shed or garage. If you have no other option but to leave it attached to your car, make sure strong chains and padlocks are used with the racks.”

Morecambe store denied alcohol licence

Police, councillors and residents have worked together to prevent a shop in a former anti-social behaviour hot spot from getting a licence to sell alcohol.

An application had been submitted to Lancaster City Council which, if granted, would have allowed Poulton Express, on Poulton Road, Morecambe, to sell alcohol to its customers.

Concerns were raised that this would have a detrimental effect on the Poulton Park area, which had until recently suffered from problems with anti-social behaviour. The neighbourhood police team worked closely with ward councillors and residents to improve life in the local community, but it was feared that an easily accessible off-licence may once again lead to an increase in alcohol-fuelled crime and anti-social behaviour.

At a hearing of Lancaster’s licensing committee this week, the application was refused following objections from police, councillors and those who live in Poulton.

Sergeant James Martin, licensing officer for Lancaster police, said: “Alcohol is often a contributing factor to anti-social behaviour, criminal damage and violent crime. This can then be further exacerbated if adults are irresponsible and give alcohol to underage children.

“The local neighbourhood police team has worked very hard to reduce these sorts of incidents in this area and the situation had vastly improved. It was felt that having an off-licence in Poulton would potentially undo this work and our objections were supported not only by the local councillors but the local residents as well.”

PC Rob Brookbanks, community beat manager for Poulton, said: “Teenagers had been congregating in the park, drinking alcohol and then smashing the bottles. This made it hard for families to visit because not only was the broken glass dangerous but they also faced abuse and foul language from the youngsters.

“The anti-social behaviour would spill out into the street, with footballs being kicked against windows and other criminal damage being committed.

"We stepped up our patrols, both day and night, and placed an 8.00pm curfew on the park. Together with the council, we got benches in more secluded areas removed and confiscated any alcohol. As a result, reports of anti-social behaviour fell and residents have told us it is a much more pleasant area to live in. We are pleased that the council agreed with our objections to the plans for the licence.”

Friday, 29 June 2012

Last Few Days of 'Light and Colour' at City Museum

With all the misearbale weather we've been having lately, now ais as good as time as any to ctach the current exhibition at Lancaster City Museum, which might well lighten a dismal and dreary day.

Featuring the vibrant landscape and still life paintings by celebrated local artist Paula Velarde, who passed away last year at the age of 70, this is a smashing selection of her work and should cheer up those of us wishing for a bit more sunshine this summer.

Paula lived in Dolphinholme since the early 1980s. She drew much of her inspiration from the local landscape.

Titled 'Light and Colour', the exhibition reflects Paula liking for painting outside in all weathers and her delight in her surroundings, especially the changing colours of the seasons, is evident in all of her work.

"She exhibited widely in the north west including at the Manchester Academy," notes Heather Dowler, manager at Lancaster City museum.

Paula studied painting and lithography at her local art college in Southport. Later, she moved to London and then travelled to Paris, where she studied printmaking under the eminent British painter and printmaker SW Hayter.

"Paula was a wonderful painter who is very much missed in the local area," feels Heather.

• 'Light and Colour' runs until 4th July. Opening hours are from 10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday. Admission is free.

Sainsbury's Morecambe chooses St John's Hospice as new Local Charity partner

St. John's Hospice is set to benefit from a year's fundraising, thanks to Sainsbury's Morecambe customers and colleagues.

The hospice has been chosen as Sainsbury's new Local Charity partner for 2012/2013, after the store asked Morecambe customers which local charity they should provide a year's support to back in May.

The partnership officially launched on 11th June 2012 and customers can now choose to make a donation in-store to St Johns Hospice, who are situated on Slyne Road.

The charity was founded in 1987 and provides specialist palliative care to patients with life limiting illness throughout North Lancashire, South Lakes and North Yorkshire for over 25yrs.  Over the next 12 months, the charity will benefit from Sainsbury's Local Charity partner scheme, now in it's fourth year.

Last year, Sainsbury's Local Partner initiative supported over 1000 charities and organisations across the UK through fundraising and volunteering and gave more than £1.5 million of support to local communities.

Sainsbury's Morecambe Local Charity partner last year was Morecambe Road School and thanks to customers and colleagues, they raised £3500 for the charity, who will be putting the donation towards a whole school trip to Blackpool Zoo.

During the next 12 months, colleagues will be providing fundraising support for St Johns Hospice and raising awareness of the charity with the local community.

“St Johns Hospice is such a worthy local cause," said Sainsbury's Morecambe Store Manager Steve Spencer, "and we're pleased and proud to be supporting it over the next 12 months. We'll be letting our customers know of our fundraising plans in-store and we hope they can join our colleagues in helping support them”.

Catherine Butterworth of St Johns Hospice said:  “I'd like to thank everyone at Sainsbury's Morecambe who's nominated us to be the store's new Local Charity partner. I hope this partnership will raise awareness to Morecambe residents about what we do and the impact we have in the community. 

"We now look forward to a successful year working with the store's colleagues on this exciting initiative”. 

Local Tennis Club plans Open Day

Local Wimbledon fans enthused by the annual tennis extravaganza might want tto check out Bowerham Lawn Tennis Club's Open Day on Saturday 7th July.

There'll be plenty of friendly tennis and mini-coaching sessions and members of the club will be on hand to talk about what the club has to offer.

Tennis players of all standards are welcome to attend.

The club holds regular club nights throughout the summer every Monday and Friday 6pm-10pm. Bowerham Lawn Tennis Club are also offering 50% off the annual membership fee if anyone wants to join the club on the Open Day.

• Bowerham Lawn Tennis Club Open Day takes place from 1pm till 4pm at Barton Road, Lancaster. More info:

Fairfield Fun Day returns

Fairfield Fun Day is back after a year’s break and this time there’s even more exciting stuff to appeal to all tastes and ages, including a mini music festival, Olympics-inspired children’s obstacle course and a Jubilee inspired Crown Jewels display.

Taking place on Saturday 7th July, all the old favourite stalls will be there: a barbecue, cakes and  café, arts and crafts, allotment produce, book, comic & LPs, birth chart readings and sideshow games, not forgetting the fire engine!

The Music Tent will have a wide selection of great music from talented local bands including Grammy-nominated The Low Countries, as well as Orbit Youth Jazz Band, Mitford Rebel (unplugged), Eliza Ramsey Quartet, Swerve Trio …and more.

The Children’s Obstacle Course 1-3pm, will be held on the nearby Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School. £1.00 entry for children aged 5-10 years. There will also be free Children’s Games, including parachute games.

There's also a Children’s creative competitions – either bring a Miniature Garden (on a tray or in a tin) or the Ugliest Vegetable Creature.  Entries cost £1 and should be brought to the allotment stall before 3pm.

• Further Information  or

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Have your say on proposal for new Scotforth allotments

Lancaster City Council is inviting you to have your say on proposals for a new allotment site in Lancaster.

The field adjacent to the existing Scotforth Allotments has been identified as suitable for use to provide additional allotment plots for residents of the Lancaster district.

The site is owned by Lancaster City Council and the council is keen to support new allotment provision.

Before funding can be secured for the project or designs for the site developed, it is important that the views of local residents and potential plot holders are considered.

Local residents interested in knowing more about the project or wanting to contribute ideas are invited to attend a drop-in consultation session on Thursday 5th July at the Boot and Shoe, Scotforth Road, Lancaster. Residents can drop in any time between 3.00 and 7.00pm to share their views.

The event will be attended by representatives from Lancaster City Council, LESS, a locally based Community Interest Company promoting sustainable living, and Proffitt’s CIC, another Community Interest Company who employ a Landscape Architect, who will all be on hand to answer questions.

The current Scotforth Allotment Association is also involved in contributing ideas as a partner in the new provision.

Over the last two years LESS has been delivering food growing support to schools and community organisations across the district and established a successful community allotment site on the Ridge estate. LESS is leading on the consultation for the new allotments.

Proffitt’s CIC is another Community Interest Company who employ a Landscape Architect. They have received funding from Lancashire County Council to support community projects across the County. The Landscape Architect will be on hand at the consultation to hear your views about possible designs for the new site.

• For more information contact the council’s Public Realm Officer, Helen Ryan - tel. 01524 582822, email: or Tom Fyson (LESS) - tel. 01524 66100, email:

Share your views on council parks

Visitors to lancaster's Williamson Park and Happy Mount Park in Morecambe are being asked for their opinions of the parks and their facilities to develop a better service for the future.

Lancaster City Council has ambitions to develop the visitor economy by improving services and provision in parks, ensuring that customers are involved in the process.

There are several ways for people to get involved in the consultation. Throughout the summer, staff will be out and about in the parks with a short questionnaire for customers to complete.

The questionnaire will also be available online at by clicking on Current Consultation.

At Williamson Park there will be feedback forms available in the café and shop. A fun way for all the family to get involved is to ‘leaf’ your idea on the tree of thoughts in the café.

The feedback from the consultation will be taken into consideration in developing a positive future for the park.

For more information please contact Williamson Park on 01524 33318 or email or visit

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Primrose Street assault: three men sought

Police are appealing for information following an assault on a man as he walked home from work in Lancaster earlier this month.

The 21-year-old man was walking home from work along Primrose Street at around 4.55pm on Sunday 10th June when he was approached by three men.

In a completely unprovoked attack, the men began assaulting the victim, punching and kicking him before running away.

Police investigating the assault are appealing for witnesses and are urging anyone who may have any information to come forward.

PC Ben Hanley said, “Fortunately, the victim only received minor injuries but nonetheless, it would appear that this was a vicious, completely unprovoked assault and we are very keen to speak to anyone who may have been in the area and saw what happened.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police by calling the new non-emergency number, 101. Alternatively, people with information can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at When you call Crimestoppers, no personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.


It's time for Brit(annia) Awards!

Lancaster's Britannia pub will shortly be holding Lancaster's very own 'Brit Awards', beginning with a series of themed open mic nights and culminating with a competition for budding musicians to win paid gigs at the Britannia.

The open mic nights will run every Thursday evening from 8.00pm in July and performers can claim free drinks if they sing three songs adhering to each evenings theme. Themes include The Beatles Vs The Stones and Songs from Film & TV.

The competition night on 26th July will ask performers to sing three songs from any Brit Award winners. One winner and two runners up will then win paid gigs at the Britannia in August and September.

"Lancaster is rich with musical talent and we wanted to do something that would be entertaining whilst giving performers a step up by auditioning live at the open mics to win paid gigs," says landlord Chris Cookson.

"This really is a great opportunity for musicians who want to take their playing to the next level," added event host Steve Wharton. "Doing open mics helps them develop stagecraft and preparing for your first full gig can be quite daunting.

"The Britannia is a true community pub with a great atmosphere on their quiz night. I think the performers will get a really warm welcome."

• More information can be found at

Lancaster Farms prisoners given extra sentences for attack on officer

Two men who held a prison officer at knife point at Lancaster Farms back in February, while trying to steal her cell keys, have been given additional jail sentences.

19-year-olds Josh Corey and Jake Burns attacked the female officer at Lancaster Farms young offenders institute on 2nd February. The woman was put in a headlock and had razor blades held to her throat, with the pair intending to try and steal her keys and bundle her into a cell.

The prison officer was able to free herself from their grasp as other staff came to her assistance.

Appearing before Preston Crown Court on Monday charged with attempted kidnap and attempted robbery, Corey was jailed for a further four years, consecutive to his current sentence and Burns was jailed for a further three years consecutive to his current sentence.

“This was a frightening incident for the prison officer, who was going about her regular patrols when she was attacked," commented Detective Constable David Cheetham of Lancashire Police. "Fortunately she was able to free herself from the pair’s clutches and escaped any significant harm.

“Corey and Burns were already behind bars for crimes they had previously committed and their actions show they felt they could escape their remaining sentences by using violence and intimidation. The additional years that they will now serve show that the courts view their offences very seriously and this should serve as a warning to others who may be tempted to try and carry out similar actions.”

The Governor of Lancaster Farms, Steve Lawrence said: “This was a vicious and unprovoked attack on a female member of staff. We are pleased to see that the courts have reflected this in the sentences awarded. The National Offender Management Services will continue to pursue any acts of violence through the courts. This is in line with our national zero tolerance policy".