Saturday, 22 September 2012

Celebrating Older People's Week

Local charity Age Lancashire is teaming up with students from Lancaster and Morecambe College to provide an afternoon of fun, exercise, activities and chat in Skerton, in celebration of Older People’s Week in October.

"Celebrating Older People" will take place at Father’s House, Owen Road, Skerton from 1.00pm – 3.00pm on Wednesday 3rd October.

Free refreshments and a cake stall are being provided by students from Lancaster and Morecambe College who will be on hand to help with activities including WII games, arm chair dance, beetle drive, quiz’s and other games.

There will be quiet space for those who prefer to sit and have a cup of tea and a chat.

Staff from Age UK, Help Direct, the Fire Service and LESS will also be on hand to provide information on local services.

Older People's Week kicks off with Older People's Day on Monday 1st October 2012, a government-backed campaign. Events and activities will be held on, or around, 1st October and will include socialising, helping and volunteering with people.

By working with organisations, schools and youth groups organisers hope to highlight how different generations have a lot to offer each other in the ‘Big Skills Share’.

Local Older People's Week Events

Older People's Day Event - Morecambe
2.00-4.00pm, Monday 1st October, The Platform, Morecambe
Organised by FOPS (Forums for Older People's Services) and attended by Age UK Lancashire and Help Direct..
Activities will include live music, information about various local services, plus refreshments.
Call 0300 303 1234 for more information.

• Celebrating Older People - Skerton
1.00pm – 3.00pm on Wednesday 3rd October, Father’s House, Owen Road, Skerton
For more information please contact Anne Oliver on 01524 387833.

Penny Street improvement work to begin in 2013

Penny Street, Lancaster
Penny Street photographed in mid-2011 - but
the pavements have not changed since.
Improvements are on their way at last
(Updated 25/9/12): Work to improve Lancaster's Penny Street will begin in 2013, the City Council has revealed.

The City Council first announced that it was working with the County Council on scheduling improvements to the pavements and vital shopping centre area in 2011 (see news story) and since then various developments have been carried out as part of the "Square Routes" project.

So far, these include improvements to Ffrances Passage, working in partnership with St. Nicolas Arcades as part of an agreement over the refurbishment of that shopping precinct; and upgrades to Market Square, removing the fountain.

Gaining funding for the staged Square Routes project has clearly been a drawn out process, involving multiple agencies. The project was initiated thanks to funding from the now defunct North West Development Agency in 2008. Earlier this month funding for the Square Routes project was frozen, further complicating matters.

But both the City Council and local business remain keenly aware that upgrades to the city's "street fabric" are vital to its economic well-being.

The horseshoe - due
to be returned.
Photo: Han Fleet
However, with Christmas looming, an important part of the retail year, the Council has deferred further work on Horseshoe Corner and Cheapside.

"The Cheapside works are now delayed as there is not enough time to complete the works between now and the Christmas embargo," a planning officer told local resident Zephyrine Barbarachild, part of a group set up by another local, Han Fleet, campaigning to ensure the original Horseshoe on "Horseshoe Corner" is returned to its rightful place when work commences.

(Utilities work on Penny Street and Cheapside in 2011 resulted in the temporary removal of the horseshoe and tarmac patching in the area disturbed).

"Works are not permitted in the city centre shopping/pedestrian area from mid November to Christmas," a planning officer explained, "with the intention of starting the works in January until March.

"The works will then continue into April and beyond on Horseshoe Corner during which the Horseshoe will be replaced, subject to release of funding of course."

The horseshoe once installed on Horseshoe Corner is currently being held for safe keeping by Lancaster City Council.

"Horseshoe Corner" is the unofficial name of the intersection between Penny Street, Cheapside and Market Street in Lancaster. It is so named because of the horseshoe that was set into the paving at the centre of this crossroads. (Legend has is that John o' Gaunt's horse shed a shoe here when he left Lancaster castle for the last time. This was once the centre of the mediaeval City of Lancaster).

While it's been a long time coming, the news that refurbishments will begin next year are sure to be welcomed by hard-pressed retailers and residents alike.

Clare Long Summers with the horseshoe, in safe
keeping with Lancaster City Council.
Photo: Zephyrine Barbarachild

Friday, 21 September 2012

City Council welcomes Duchy's consultation plans on Lancaster Castle's future


Lancaster City Council and Lancashire County Council have welcomed the Duchy of Lancaster's announced public consultation on plans for Lancaster Castle.

In 2006 the Lancaster and Morecambe Vision Board, of which both Lancaster City Council and Lancashire County Council and the private sector are members, launched a consultation on the vision for the future economic prosperity of the district.

The vision produced as a result of this consultation recognises that Lancaster Castle has the potential to be transformed into a major tourist attraction which could attract significant complimentary private sector investment and that this would be a highly valued development for the historic city of Lancaster. Both councils continue to support this vision for Lancaster Castle and welcome the Duchy's consultation.

Commenting, Lancaster City Council Cabinet member with responsibility for tourism, Coun Ron Sands, said: "We all know Lancaster is one of the finest historic cities in the country and, with the Duchy now making plans for the Castle, there's a wonderful opportunity for millions of others to discover its treasures too.

"We want those people to come not just once, but time and time again. What we as a city need to do is provide them with is not just top rate heritage attractions but an unforgettable experience. That means first class shopping, great entertainment, food, attractions, accommodation, clean and bright streets and a warm welcome from all of us who live and work here.

"Now, more than ever before, everyone - be they big organisations such as the councils and the Duchy or the retailers, service providers and the arts - must seize this real opportunity for us all to work together to maximise this golden chance we are being given.

With other developments such as the Canal Corridor North, Luneside, City Park, Square Routes, Lancaster is truly at an exciting crossroads and we must all seize every opportunity we have to make our city one which will put us firmly on the map as a must-go-to destination."

Michael Green, Lancashire County Council Cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: "The research shows that developing Lancaster Castle as a visitor attraction could bring many thousands of new visitors to the area, providing a major boost to tourism and the local economy.

"The Duchy's consultation is a great opportunity for local people and businesses to give their views on the proposal, and we'd encourage as many people as possible to go along and see the plans at Lancaster Castle between Monday 29th October and Friday 2nd November."

Will You Catch the Afrovibe?

Out of South Africa and in to Lancaster’s Dukes theatre comes a festival guaranteed to banish the autumn blues this October.

Afrovibes will transform The Dukes into a little South Africa from 1st - 6th October, with the very best contemporary theatre, dance, music, film and spoken word from South Africa.
And there’ll be a chance to enjoy a taste of South Africa too -- at The Dukes Township Café, which will be serving authentic African food and drink. It’s also the place to meet and soak up the festival atmosphere and see a host of fringe events including post show talks, impromptu jamming sessions and other surprises.

The Dukes is one of only eight venues nationwide to host the biennial Afrovibes Festival which is produced by UK Arts International.

The festival kicks off at 6.0pm on 1st October with a launch including free beats and eats in The Township Café.

Monday also sees performances of And The Girls In Their Sunday Dresses and Thirst which are repeated on Tuesday.

Thirst is a magical theatre piece based on the eventful journey of three water carriers trying to find the source of their dried-out river and features dance, physical theatre, song and African storytelling. Age guidance 7 plus.

And The Girls In Their Sunday Dresses is performed by two of South Africa’s most acclaimed comedians. This entertaining, comic drama centres on two women from different backgrounds who discover they have more in common than first thought when they meet in a queue to buy rice. Age guidance 11 plus.

Drama with a more serious edge is presented on 3rd October with Mother To Mother, a tour-de-force monologue telling the story of an American Fullbright scholar killed in Capetown by four youths. The mother of one of them recounts events in an imaginary conversation with the victim’s mum. Age guidance 14 plus.

On Wednesday 3rd October the film Fezeka's Voice will be shown. This is a sweet portrait of the Fezeka High School Choir, their inspirational teacher, Phumo Tsewu, and their two week trip-of-a-lifetime to perform in Salisbury Cathedral. The tireless, spirited Tsewu’s infectious love of music inspires 77 children from Guguletu township to have confidence in themselves and their ability to shape their own future. Fezeka’s Voice reveals the life-changing power of music and the real value of cultural exchange.

The festival steps up to the beat of The Sibikwa Arts African Indigenous Orchestra on Thursday 4th October. This exuberant and awardwinning ten-piece orchestra evokes the true spirit and ancestry of South Africa and gets the audience on their feet and joining in. Age guidance 7 plus.

Festival Friday on 5th October gives visitors a chance to pay what they can for a range of Afrovibes activities including dance, film, spoken word, beats and eats.

And the festival comes to its finale on Saturday 6th October with a Dance Double Bill. Originally performed in 2011, Inception is a complex dance solo which has already evolved into a classic. My Exile Is In My Head is a solo dance/physical theatre piece inspired by Wole Soyinka’s prison notes, The Man Died. Age guidance 11+.

 • More info on The Dukes web site here

Download the Afrovibes programme from The Dukes web site direct 

Win two tickets to AfroVibes - offered by

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Dismay as latest CityBlock 'carbuncle' unveiled

Photos © John Freeman
Lancaster residents have expressed outrage at the design of the latest CityBlock student accommodation on Penny Street, some incredulous that the builders have cut into the original Victorian facade to place windows.

"I could design that facade and line up the new windows with the existing ones and add new ones where necessary," noted one, "and still keep the original facade present. "This makes a much sense as letting your toddler loose with a felt pen in a art gallery."

"We were thinking of nominating it for one of these bad design awards!" said another on virtual-lancaster's Facebook page. "Who on earth at the council is responsible for allowing it?"

"it's like something out of my big book of Soviet Architecture," commented another, "Although without the imagination."

When planning permission for the development was originally sought, Lancaster Civic Society condemned the design. 

"The proposed redevelopment at Victoria Court is unacceptable for a variety of reasons," they argued. "It would be, in simple terms, one storey to high and, consequently, its scale would be thoroughly out of keeping with adjoining development.

"The scheme, given its dull design ,would be unattractive and would have a significant adverse effect on the character and appearance of the conservation area within which it would be located."

The Civic Society recommended that planning permission be refused for what would be a visually intrusive development on a prominent site on an important road in Lancaster City centre. But permission was given.

CityBlock (, run by local entrepreneur Trevor Bargh, provides students with quality city centre accommodation in Lancaster and Leicester.

Update: The national Guardian featured a photograph from this story in a blog post by Oliver Wainwright, "Some front: the bad developments making a joke of historic buildings" in August 2014

Who's won an Incredible Edible Award?

Get along to Scotch Quarry Park on Wyresdale Road this Saturday afternoon (Saturday 22nd September) to meet the Sustainability Partnership and find out about some of the best food growing projects from across the Lancaster District.

The official opening of Scotch Quarry Park Fruity Corner is at 2.30pm, at the top end of Scotch Quarry Park, off Wyresdale Road (above Christ Church). Join the Fruity Corners volunteers to find out more about the project that has established a host of fruit and herb plant in this small park between Primrose and Moorlands.

There will be live music: games and activities for children, and a tea stall with home-made cakes.

The Incredible Edible Awards will be presented by Andy Goldring, CEO of the Permaculture Association at 4.30pm. The Awards are organised by the Sustainability Partnership of Lancaster District to recognise successful food growing projects across the district. Certificates and prizes will be awarded to winners and runners up in four categories: community projects, individual allotments, private gardens and education establishments.

More info on the Sustainability Partnership on the Lancaster City Council web site

Evofit of man wanted in connection with indecent exposure

Police have issued an Evofit of a man they need to trace after he indecently exposed himself in front of school girl in Lancaster earlier this year.

The offence took place close to St George’s Field at the back of the Priory Church on Priory Close around 6pm on  when a man was witnessed by a 14-year-old girl standing behind a brick wall masturbating and indecently exposing himself.

The man is described as being aged between 35 and 45 years old, bald and clean shaven. He was wearing a blue and green chequered shirt and pale brown chinos.

PC Simon Patterson from Lancaster Police said: “I would ask people to take a close look at the Evofit image and if anyone thinks they recognise the man they should contact Lancashire Police on 101 quoting crime reference BA1201826.”

People with information can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Duchy's plans for Lancaster Castle move a step closer


(Updated 20/9/12) After a six-month study by heritage experts Malcolm Reading Consultants and workshops with key stakeholders, the Duchy of Lancaster has unveiled potential plans for Lancaster Castle have moved a step closer - and an exhibition is being organised to present them at the end of October.

Their plan - which would appear to echo the way Oxford Castle was recently re-developed - is for the castle complex to be transformed into a new mixed-used urban quarter, which could include a potential visitor attraction, boutique hotel, plus arts and performance space.

The ideas and concepts for the historic landmark would, the Duchy says, ensure that the castle has a sustainable future by preserving its fabric, encouraging people to use the building and its grounds and providing a diverse range of activity.

The concept for the visitor attraction is a museum highlighting judicial and penal history in Britain throughout the last 1,000 years. A number of the existing prison buildings would be sympathetically converted and historic structures such as Adrian’s Tower, the Keep and the Witches Dungeon used to illustrate the castle as a place of incarceration.

A boutique hotel would offer high quality, four-star accommodation comprising 50-75 rooms with the scope to include a signature restaurant, conference and events space, luxury facilities such as spa and gym, plus suites which could cater for wedding parties.

In addition to the hotel and visitor attraction, there is also potential for additional commercial and cultural uses, such as areas for artists’ studios and workshops, as well as public art displays, outdoors performances and festivals.

The Duchy has also had initial discussions with Lancaster University regarding using part of the space for some of its departments or conferences.

The plans the Duchy have announced sound similar to the redevelopment of Oxford Castle prison, now the 'Castle Quarter' of that centre of academia. There, the development includes many initiatives encouraging local business, a lively events programme and more.

The site was once home to the Norman Oxford Castle, then the infamous Oxford Prison. Parts of those historic buildings remain and have shaped the development of Oxford Castle Quarter as it stands today, including St George’s Tower and the Castle Mound. The secrets of the site’s history are unlocked in a visitor attraction, Oxford Castle – Unlocked. The rest of Oxford Castle Quarter is now home to a hub of bars and restaurants, and also boasts O3 Gallery, offering a programme of exhibitions and events all year round. The Malmaison Boutique Hotel is also part of the heritage development.

“We have reached an exciting phase in the future of Lancaster Castle and are really looking forward to sharing our ideas with the local community," comments Paul Clarke, CEO at the Duchy of Lancaster.

“We still have a long way to go in terms of finalising the plans to ensure that the vision is financially viable and deliverable, but this initial proposal is a major step forward. We are confident that our ideas would enable Lancaster Castle to become a powerful new tourist attraction that would significantly boost the local economy, create jobs and transform the use of the city centre for residents and visitors.

“We hope that local people will take the opportunity to visit the exhibition next month to learn more about the plans and provide their feedback.”

Malcolm Reading, chairman of MRC said: “We’ve been encouraged by the appetite locally to engage with this fascinating project. A building of many aspects and many lives, the castle will absorb change and prove itself again as a great asset to the city and wider county.

“Until now it’s been closed-in on itself, both as a fortress and a prison, but as the Duchy opens it up, it will be re-discovered. It will be satisfying to see this emblematic, confident architecture put to better purpose and speak to new audiences.”

In addition to the public consultation, the Duchy will undertake detailed financial modelling and viability studies to help finalise its initial plans by the end of this year. If viable, it is hoped that planning permission would be achieved by early 2014 and that work would start by the end of the same year with the new development being open by spring 2017.

• Further information on the plans will be displayed at a public exhibition, which will take place at Lancaster Castle from Monday, 29th October – Friday 2nd November 2012. Members of the public will be able to provide their feedback on the initial proposals and speak to representatives from the Duchy of Lancaster and MRC.


Appeal after attempted fraud in ASDA Lancaster

Police are appealing for information after an attempted fraud at the First Choice travel agents at ASDA Lancaster.

At around 3.30pm on Saturday afternoon (15th September) a man went into the First Choice Travel Shop in the ASDA store on Ovangle Road. He approached the currency exchange counter and presented them with 30,000 Icelandic Krona for conversion back to Sterling but told the staff member that the money was Swedish Krona which is worth considerably more. The staff became suspicious and refused to change the money and the man left the store.

Officers investigating the offence have released CCTV images of a man they wish to speak to in connection with the offence and are asking anyone with any information to come forward.

PC Ben Hanley said, “I would appeal to anyone who recognises the image of this man to contact us if they think they can help with our enquiries.”

Anyone with information can contact police by calling the new non-emergency number 101 quoting crime reference number BB1203533 or alternatively, information can be passed via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Grange-over-Sands opens its doors to artists with 49th Prom Art

A fabulous, arts and crafts focused Cumbrian event is opening its arms to all golf widows and widowers who will be driven out of the house on 30th September by the final day’s coverage of the 2012 Ryder Cup.

Prom Art – one of the biggest, free and open-air arts and crafts events in the country, has taken a declaration to be a Ryder Cup-free zone for the last date in its 2012 calendar, for those who prefer Morecambe Bay scenes to American golf greens.

Organisers say Prom Art’s only reference to golf on the day will be the fact that the distance from ‘tee’ to ‘hole’ is around 600 metres, for those visiting each of the 80-100 craftspeople displaying their wares in the stalls and gazebos set up on the Edwardian promenade of Grange-over-Sands!

This last chance to snap up the original works created by professional and amateur artists and craftspeople, as well as professional art tutors, will be available from 9.30am to 4.00pm on the last Sunday in September, which happens to also be the last day in the month.

Those heading to this last Prom Art of the season will be able to see some new crafts people, making this their first experience of the glorious al-fresco event, as well as appreciating the entertainment provided by the Rascal Fayre Ceilidh Band.

An array of different arts and crafts materials will be available for purchase, whether the buyer has an eye for paintings in various types of medium, silverware, jewellery, textiles, weaving, pet portraits, needlecraft, home furnishings, bags, hats or clothing, fine art, drift wood, glass or pottery.

Items are original and often unique, but those wishing to have something totally bespoke can commission the item of their choice.

A day of sea views, fresh air and wonderfully tempting purchases should soon blow the golf widow cobwebs away and provide lots of fun for all members of the family.

”We are expecting the September event to be particularly vibrant as the next outing after this, in April 2013, will be high profile, as Prom Art celebrates its 50th event milestone then," says organiser Robert Leach.

"We already have a third of our artists travelling over 50 miles to be at our unique event and none wish to lose their slot or pass up on the chance of having a presence at our 2013 season opener.

“We shall, of course, be asking these artists travelling from afar whether they have room for a golf widow or two in their vehicle!

Those who cannot hitch a lift need not despair, as Prom Art stresses that you do not need a ‘driver’ to be able to escape the Ryder Cup. Train services run from Lancaster to Grange-over-Sands station, which is just a few minutes walk from the start of the arts and crafts action.

- Find out more about Prom Art at


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Garstang rapist jailed for five years

A man who raped a woman while she lay unconscious in a bed has been jailed for five years.

63-year-old John Southwell found his 18-year-old victim drunk and unconscious outside a takeaway in Garstang on 22nd October last year. He picked the victim up and walked her back to his home in Bridge Street, where he then raped her.

Southwell was convicted of rape following a trial at Preston Crown Court this summer. Appearing at court again today he was jailed for five years and placed on the sex offender register.

Detective Constable Stephen Lloyd, Fleetwood and Wyre CID, said: “Southwell preyed on his victim because she was in a vulnerable position and he has taken advantage of that for his own gratification.

“He clearly is a dangerous individual and the community is safer for him being behind bars.”

Enterprise Nation comes to Morecambe

Enterprise Nation - a small business community of over 75,000 people for anyone starting and growing their own company - has announced the national expansion of its successful StartUp Saturday one day workshops, and one of the first will take place in Morecambe.

The aim of the event later this month is to help people turn an idea into a business and become their own boss.

The ‘start your own business in a day’ workshops will be hosted and delivered by talented and entrepreneurial StartUp Saturday franchisees. Until now, the one-day workshop that offers everything you need to know about starting a business has been delivered by Enterprise Nation founder, Emma Jones, in London.

“Based on feedback from small business owners around the country, we are spreading our wings and will be coming to locations nationwide,” says Jones.

The first two StartUp Saturday franchisees are Enterprise Nation community members Rickie Josen (in Birmingham) and Sharon Jackson (in Morecambe).

Sharon Jackson will be starting her franchise journey with a first workshop on Saturday 29th September. Sharon is a freelance web designer working with start-ups and small businesses, and will reach her 4th business birthday in November.

“Being a StartUp Saturday franchisee is very much in line with what I do in my freelance career, which is to help people get their business up and running," says Sharon. "Often this is by helping them get the right website, but much of the time it’s sharing the knowledge I’ve gained over the last few years – the mistakes I made, successes I achieved, and so on.

"I have always liked the ethos of Enterprise Nation and by becoming a franchisee, hope to help even more people successfully become their own boss.”

Following a successful launch of workshops in Morecambe and Birmingham, StartUp Saturday will continue to expand to new locations with a vision of having weekly workshops up and down the UK.

• To book your place for the Morecambe event visit:

virtual-lancaster Map in the works - ad spaces available

The virtual-lancaster team is putting the finishing touches to a new 'community map' we plan to release at the end of this month as an A4 leaflet and downloadable PDF.

We plan to print 5000 copies of this initially - the back features a broad introduction to the Lancaster area for newcomers and visitors alike - and have a couple of advertising spaces left.

The ad prices have been set to cover part of the print costs and we think they are very reasonable.

The wonderful folk at the Shakespeare Hotel have taken the biggest spot, but the remaining slots are available price £50 each.

Please contact if you are interested.

Friends of the Triangle invite you to "Eat Cake and Have Your Say"

Photo: Friends of the Triangle
Friends of the Triangle - a residents’ group hoping to transform a derelict piece of land into a public green space and community garden in Lancaster - are holding an ‘Eat Cake and Have Your Say’ event on Sunday 23rd September between 2 and 4.00pm, at the Aldcliffe Road Triangle (located between Aldcliffe Road and the canal, opposite the end of Regent Street)

Friends of the Triangle formed earlier this year and have been holding regular volunteer sessions to clean up the site and keep vegetation under control.

Members have also researched the past use of the land and started to draw up plans for improvements, all of which will be on display to look at and discuss on the day.

“This is an opportunity to explore the history of the site," enthuses Councillor Dave Brookes, chair of the group, said, "view some suggestions for the future, and tell us what you think over a cup of tea and a slice of cake to help us raise some funds.”

The Triangle was formed in the 1790s by the construction of the Lancaster Canal, which turned a piece of land lying adjacent to Aldcliffe Road (then Aldcliffe Lane) into a wedge-shaped plot, having as its shorter third side the then newly built Basin Bridge. Designed by John Rennie of Lune Aqueduct fame, Bridge 98 is one of Lancaster's two 'roving' or 'turnover' bridges, built to allow the towpath to cross from the west side of the canal to the east, avoiding the coal wharves next to the canal basins.

Horses were backed over the bridge still hitched to their towing barges, their tow-ropes gliding smoothly over the metal staples which connect the coping stones on the parapet. 

After a long history of different uses, the Triangle was used by boat builders in the 1980s and 1990s, who constructed and repaired punts that were hired out for pleasure use by the Navigation pub on the far side of Penny Street Bridge. The building adjacent to Aldcliffe Road was used as a workshop and the lean-to was a storage area for the finished punts.

According to Lancaster City Council the last legal occupier gave up the land and buildings in December 2004.

• Information can also be found on the Friends of the Triangle website at

Police seek armed Morecambe burglars

Police are appealing for information after two balaclava clad men armed with a metal bar burgled a house in Morecambe.

The offence took place around 9.00pm on the evening of Saturday 15th September at a house on Westfield Grove.

The men entered the address through an insecure front door while the occupant and his daughter were home. They begun to search the house but fled empty handed after being disturbed by the 15-year-old occupant, running down a cul-de-sac and turning left on to Albany Road.

“We believe this house has been deliberately targeted but that the offenders did not realise anybody was home and consequently have been caught out and escaped with nothing," says Detective Constable Gill Topping from Lancaster CID.

“This is a terrifying incident for the family involved, especially as one of the offenders was carrying a metal bar.

“I would appeal to anybody that has any information about this crime that could assist with our investigation to come forward.”

The first man is described as white, around 5ft 10inches tall, aged in his early twenties, stocky build wearing a black hooded top and dark coloured tracksuit bottoms. The second man was smaller in height and was wearing a lighter coloured hooded top.

Anyone with any information should call Lancashire Police on 101. People with information can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Builders, tradesmen warned on vehicle thefts in Lancaster

Builders and other tradesmen are being warned not to leave valuable tools in their vans overnight following a spate of vehicle break-ins.

A number of vehicles have been targeted in the Lancaster, Morecambe and Wyre areas of the county, with items including Makita and De Walt top-of-the-range tools being taken.

Detective Sergeant Simon Balderstone, Lancaster police, said: “If a thief can see an expensive piece of equipment has been left in a van they know it is easy money for them. Even if tools are out of sight, a determined criminal may still break in to a vehicle to see what they can find inside.

“Having tools stolen can set tradesmen back financially – not just because they have to pay to replace the items but because they may also lose out on a day’s work. We are advising people to remove anything of value from vehicles when they leave them overnight and to ensure they close windows and lock doors each time they get out of their van.”

Anyone with information about tool thefts can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency always dial 999.