Saturday, 28 December 2013

Police investigate Morecambe match disorder

Police are appealing for information after some disorder at the Morecambe vs Fleetwood derby match on Boxing Day, in which stewards were assaulted.

Disorder broke out as around 15 people challenged club stewards on the Bay Radio stand, which resulted in a number of stewards being assaulted. The disorder then continued as those involved left the stand.

Four people have been arrested so far as part of the on-going investigation but officers are looking to identify others that were involved.

Chief Inspector Ian Sewart said, “The behaviour of those concerned was unacceptable and we will continue to make enquiries to trace all of those involved.

“The vast majority of those who attended the fixture behaved responsibly and it is entirely regrettable that a small number chose to act in this mindless fashion.

“I have set up a team of officers to investigate what occurred and bring to justice those found to have committed offences.

“We are currently examining a number of CCTV images and I am confident we will be able to identify all of those involved.

“All four men arrested were from the Fleetwood area and have been bailed pending further enquires.

“We are currently in liaison with Fleetwood Football Club to identify those outstanding and it is highly likely more arrests will follow.

“I would urge anyone who witnessed what happened or to anyone who was involved to get in touch with the enquiry team.”

The investigation is continuing and anyone with any information about those involved should contact police 101.

Appeal after meat stolen from Pilling hotel

Police are appealing for information after over £700 of meat was stolen from an outbuilding at a Pilling hotel.

The theft occurred sometime between 3.00 and 9.00pm on the 23rd December when someone stole a large quantity of meat from a storage freezer inside an insecure outbuilding in the grounds of Springfield House Hotel on Wheel Lane.

The items taken include, turkey crowns, shoulders of lamb and lamb shanks, duck fillets, pork, bacon, gammon and geese. The people responsible also helped themselves to cheese and a crate of lager.

PC Robert Tugman said, “If anyone noticed any suspicious activity in the area then we would urge them to contact police.

“It is likely the offenders could have tried to sell on the meat in the street, in pubs or from possible from the back of a vehicle. Members of the public being offered such items for sale are urged to contact police on 101 with as much information as possible.”

Anybody with any information can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at



Wednesday, 25 December 2013

BBC Comedy Award winner Steve Bugeja at Lancaster Comedy Club

This Sunday 29th December sees the freshly crowned BBC New Comedy Award winner Steve Bugeja at The Borourgh in Dalton Square for a great Lancaster Comedy Club night out, alongside Dan Nightingale, Jonathon Elston and MC David Longley.

Into the New Year, we're told tickets are selling very fast indeed for Sunday 5th January with Ivan Brackenbury's Hospital Radio Roadshow and Ian D. Montfort.This shouldn't be great surprise for anyone who has seen either act here before!

2014 at the Comedy Club is shaping up a storm, with acts including Drop The Dead Donkey's Nick Revell and The Now Show's Mitch Benn as well as old favourites such as Seymour Mace, Paul McCaffrey, Chris McCausland and Daliso Chaponda.

• To book for Sunday or to see details of all the Comedy Club acts for the next few months visit as well as biogs and video clips of the acts. Or, simply ring 01524 64170

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Police launch appeal for missing Morecambe girl

Police are appealing for information about a teenage girl missing from her home in Morecambe.

Alice Leigh Ryan, 14, was last seen at her home address on Euston Road around 8.15pm on Saturday 21st December.

PC Jo Clement said: “Alice has been missing for a number of days now and given her age we are obviously concerned for her welfare and her family want her home for Christmas.

“I would appeal to anybody that thinks they have seen Alice since Saturday or knows of her current whereabouts to contact police. I would also appeal directly to Alice to let us know she is okay.”

Alice is described as being 4 feet 4 inches tall, slim build with shoulder length dark brown or dyed black hair. She was last seen wearing black trousers and a black hooded top.

Police believe Alice is still in the Morecambe or Lancaster area. Anyone with information about her possible whereabouts should contact Lancashire Police on 101.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Moorlands Hotel set to become flats?

Moorlands Hotel, Freehold, Lancaster

Updated: To the dismay of many (but, clearly, not enough to keep it open) the Moorlands Hotel in Lancaster's Freehold closed a few months ago and was sold to Mister Capitol Holdings by owners Mitchells. MCH plan to turn it into flats.

If that company name rings a bell, it should – because Mister Capitol Holdings is the same company that bought and began work on the Duke of Lancaster on China Street earlier this year.

As we reported in the summer, Lancaster City Council quickly called a halt to the conversion work and began a planning enforcement investigation after it became clear that Mister Capital Holdings, who are based in St. Leonards Gate, had begun work converting the former public house into flats without securing planning permission.

Planning permission was then made on 5th July to gain Listed Building Consent for various alterations including "replacement windows, doors, gates and works to ceilings, courtyard and elevations and the blocking up an existing doorway" to the main building, which the Council granted.

On 13th December, a new application, which is "Pending Consideration", was made on the Duke of Lancaster -
Listed Building consent for works to facilitate the change of use of former stable block, within site curtilage of vacant public house to form 4 no. student apartments.

Work is in progress at the property, presumably in keeping with the planning permission granted in July and not in connection with work for which planning permission has not been granted.

Duke of Lancaster, China Street
It seems odd to us that any company would begin work on a major conversion without securing the relevant planning permissions. So it seems strange that we are receiving reports from locals that windows at the Moorlands have been whitewashed in the past few days and building rubble has been spotted in the back yard.

There is, as yet, no planning application on the Council's web site for the building for change of use. Several locals have expressed concern at the proposed change of use, pointing to issues over car parking in the area for such a large development.

Commenting, a City Council spokesperson told us: "A planning application has been lodged for a change of use to the Moorlands Hotel from a public house to student accommodation. The application is currently invalid and the applicant has been made aware of the steps that are required to formally validate the application.

"Once the application has been validated, for reference, the number will be 13/01301/FUL."

We have been unable to contact anyone at Mister Capital Holdings for comment at this point.

While it's sad to see the demise of two local pubs and their loss as hostelries, Mitchells still owns over 40 public house in the Lancaster and Morecambe area, so let's hope they stay as they are in 2014...

Mitchells Pubs in the Lancaster and Morecambe area

All the very best of the season from the virtual-lancaster team!

School Dances Into The Dukes

A scene from Alice Through The Looking Glass which will be performed at The Dukes on 11th January 2014.
The only state school in the country thought to have tackled a full-length ballet will make its professional debut at The Dukes in January.

A talented team from Queen Elizabeth School in Kirkby Lonsdale will present a unique version of Alice Through The Looking Glass at the Lancaster theatre on January 11.

The two-hour performance which features 35 dancers, including 18-year-old Kate Threlfall as Alice, and a 12-piece orchestra has been directed by Jasper Marriott, a former member of the Lancaster-based Ludus Dance touring company.

“I directed our first full length contemporary ballet in 2011 which was a version of Nutcracker. I loved the process so I knew I wanted to keep making large scale ballets,” said Jasper.

But producing a full length ballet at a secondary school isn’t without its challenges.

The project is created from scratch with completely original content including the score which was composed by Jen Hartley, the school’s head of music, over the summer.

The ballet has taken eight months to be produced while ensuring a minimal impact on teaching and learning at the school.

“For Alice, I wanted the whole project to be original in terms of story, choreography and music,” said Jasper who has taught at QES for nine years.

“We staged the ballet at QES for six performances in December, which is typical of a major school production, but due to the uniqueness of the project and the amazing response to our previous full length dance show, I wanted to bring this production to a larger audience, not just the those with links to the school.

“I feel the work is strong enough for a regular mainstream audience. The Dukes seemed the ideal venue to stage this production and offers a hugely exciting opportunity for our dancers,” said Jasper. 

• On 11th January 2014, there will be two performances of the ballet, at 2pm and 7.30pm. The show is recommended for anyone aged 4 plus.

• To book tickets priced £8/£6 concessions, ring The Dukes Box Office on 01524 598500 or visit