Big Jubilee Lunch

Friday 15th October 2004

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Town winning the
war on drugs

by David Skentelbery

WARRINGTON – once dubbed the drugs capital of the North West – looks to be winning the war on the dealers.
A report to Town Hall leaders shows that the town – which as recently as 1994 had a drugs problem almost five times worse than the national average – now has a lower rate for drug offences than Cheshire, the North West or the country as a whole.
The number of recorded incidents of drug offences in the town has fallen by 48.8 per cent over a three year period, according to the latest statistics available.
Coun Mike Hannon, the borough council’s executive member for community and well-being said: “I am delighted to hear this news.
“We are often told that Warring ton has a big advantage because of its road and rail links. But our location on the motorway network brings problems as well as business and there is no doubt this has had an impact on the local drugs scene in the past.
“It is really pleasing to know we are making progress towards solving the problem.” Warrington still has a significant drugs problem. In the most recent year for which figures are available, 498 people presented themselves to drugs services in the town.
Nearly two thirds were male and 72.1 per cent used heroin and 20.8 per cent used methadone. More than three quarters were aged more than 25.
Over the same period, 215 people presented themselves to the syringe exchange team. More than 90 per cent were male with 64 per cent using steroids and 27 per cent heroin.
The borough targets drug misuse in four key areas.
Young people are helped to resist drug misuse, communities are protected from drug related anti-social behaviour, treatment is made available to young people to overcome drug related problems and action is taken to stifle the availability of illegal drugs on the streets.
Ten years ago, Warrington’s drug service won national praise and asked to provide details for a nationwide role model. Over the same period, the town has slashed the number of drug offences by almost half.

Should village Walk
be on a Sunday?

by Lesley Wilkinson

A SUGGESTION that the annual Walking Day at Stockton Heath, Warrington, be moved to Sunday morning to avoid problems of traffic and drunken youths has been put to the parish council.
Members heard that the police were no longer able to marshal the walk and that volunteers would have to be trained for the work. It was also reported that this year’s ceremony had been disrupted by drunken youths.
Coun Sonia Boggan said: “Moving the walk to Sunday morning at about 10.30am would solve many of the problems.
“There would be quiet roads, church bells ringing and the pubs would not be open so there would be no risk of drunkenness.”
Members heard that schools, churches, parish councillors, police and other interested parties, had met to discuss the ceremony next year. Arrangements for the event now had to be approved by the Warrington Events Safety Advisory Group.
Parish council chairman Coun Graham Roughsedge said the group would look at the route of the procession, training of marshals and crowd control. They also said a named person should be in overall charge of the proceedings and that the walk should have insurance in case of accident or injury.
“We particularly need to look at crowd control in Victoria Square,” he said. “Towards the end of the procession this year there was a problem with drunken youths in the square trying to infiltrate the walk.”
Members heard that following Home Office guidelines, the police were unable to marshal the event next year.
Coun Peter Walker said: “If they were not marshalling they could have dealt with the trouble in Victoria Square. This means there will be more officers available to deal with anti-social behaviour.”
A further meeting of those involved in the organisation of the Walk will be held on November 30 at St Thomas’ School.

Barrister joins law
firm’s family team

by staff reporter

BARRISTER Sue Bean has joined Warrington law firm Grace and Company to join its family law services team. She will handle matrimonial matters.
She is also experienced in commercial law and will be able to advise the self-employed and company directors on all aspects of matrimonial law and the implications for their business interests.
Principal Joanne Grace said: “Sue has a strong background in divorce law and ancillary relief, which relates to financial property and maintenance aspects. She will add considerably to our team.
Sue Bean originally gained a BSc in marine biology at Bangor University before taking her Masters degree at Leicester. A keen horsewoman, she briefly pursued a career in one-day eventing and equestrianism.
She later studied law at Bristol University and was called to the bar in 1999. She is now a non-practising barrister, able to offer legal services to clients in the same way as a solicitor.
For the last five years Sue has worked with law firms in Hampshire and the North West, specialising in divorce and litigation.
She said: “I am delighted to have joined Grace and Co. It is a very go-ahead firm with a relatively young team of experienced, dedicated solicitors.
“There are a number of women on the staff and this allows us to offer a more feminine perspective. This is particularly important when dealing with family law matters, especially as some men find it hard to talk to other men about these very sensitive issues.”

Council launches war on
irresponsible dog owners

by staff reporter

“FOUL” play on the streets and parks of Warrington will no longer be tolerated – that’s the stern warning from the borough council as it launches its own war on dog waste.
Dog mess causes misery and blight to communities. At best it can cover shoes and be carried inside people’s homes, at worst, it can lead to serious infection (toxicara canis), which can cause blindness.
Under the banner ‘Scoop the poop – or face the fine’, the Council is embarking on its biggest ever drive to target owners who let their dogs mess on parks, open spaces and streets.
The drive forms part of new powers taken on by the council under the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996 and will target all public open spaces, including areas such as parks, recreation grounds, children’s playgrounds, sports grounds, picnic sites, pedestrianised areas, pavements, verges and footpaths.
Launching this month, a major publicity push, combined with new enforcement officers who will dish out on-the-spot fines, forms the first phase of the campaign, which will initially target hot spots across the borough.
Coun John Kerr-Brown, the council’s executive member for neighbourhood services, said; “A clean and tidy borough is a key priority for this authority. It’s not fair that the minority should spoil it for the majority and we are more determined than ever to catch people that do not clean up after their dog. We will take action and we will fine offenders, who face a hefty fine running into thousands of pounds if they are taken through the courts.
“Everyone wants to see our environments improving and becoming safer places for everyone to live and play. I hope that through enforcement and taking a tough stance against offenders our communities will reap the rewards.”
Members of the public are also being urged to sign up to the campaign by reporting offenders and areas they believe the Council should target.
They can do so by phone on 01925 443000, email cuscare@warrington.gov.uk on the council website www.warrington.gov.uk or in person/writing to Neighbourhood Services, Hawthorne Avenue, Woolston, Warrington, WA1 4AL.

An opera that
isn’t an opera!

by our correspondent

A SHOW with a difference is being staged in Warrington later this month – an “opera” that isn’t an op

era.
The Riding Lights Theatre Company production of “Hope Opera” is being presented at the Salvation Army Centre in Academy Street on October 28.
It is described as a mosaic of stories drawn from a wide range of sources… from ancient Greek myth to newspaper reports, from Calvino’s Italian folk tales to the lives of the actors themselves, from Shakespeare to Swedish fairy tales.
But, despite the title, it is not an opera.
York-based Riding Lights is one of the UK’s most successful independent theatre companies. Internationally renowned for 27 years of touring productions, Riding Lights opened its own home, Friargate Theatre, in 2000.
Warrington’s Salvation Army centre has a large open auditorium ideal for touring theatre with more than adequate toilet and reception facilities, refreshments and disabled access.
A spokesman for Riding Lights said: “We have included stories of individuals and communities who have inspired us as we’ve worked on this show, as well as mythical and traditional stories of from our own culture and beyond. Together they form a rich tapestry, revealing truths that go beyond mere fact and taking us to the place where hope becomes the stuff of life.

Drive to stamp out
insurance fraud

by staff reporter

PEOPLE planning to make bogus insurance claims should think twice as a new initiative is launched to catch out fraudsters across Warrington and the North West.
Warrington Borough Council is joining forces with a number of regional authorities and the Audit Commission in a bid to crackdown on fraudulent insurance claims.
In Warrington, approximately 600 claims for compensation are made each year at a substantial cost to the council. This is a drain on public funds, which results in poorer quality or reduced levels of service for local people. It also causes delays in processing genuine claims. While sympathy is extended to genuine claimants the council has a duty to protect public funds.
Now, when a claim is made, the details will be passed on to the Audit Commission, so that they can cross-check details of claims and alleged witnesses to ensure claims are genuine and have not been duplicated.
Solicitors, claims agents and individuals making claims will be informed by letter that these checks are being made. Details of claims will remain confidential under the Data Protection Act.
A Town Hall spokeswoman said: “Anyone who has details of fraudulent claims being made against the council can report their concerns to an information line on 01925 442325. All information will be treated as confidential.”

Distillery gives boost to
the fight against crime

by John Hendon

WARRINGTON distillery, G & J Greenall, has shown its support for Cheshire Crimestoppers by donating ?500 to the charity.
Representatives from the company were presenting a cheque to the chairman of Cheshire Crimestoppers, Bill Spiegelberg, today (Thursday)
Mr Spiegelberg said:“We are extremely grateful to G & J Greenall for their generous donation,
“I would personally like to thank them for their support. Donations such as this help us to promote the 0800 555 111 number which people can ring anonymously to provide information about crime.”
Tony Sharpe,Managing Director of G & J Greenall, sai d“G&J Greenall had a 243 year history in Warringon
We are proud to support the community which has given us so much. We are delighted to make this donation to Crimestoppers which is recognised as an invaluable service helping us to beat crime.
Crimestoppers is the only charity which helps to solve crimes and continues to be extremely effective in helping police to investigate crimes affecting commercial businesses.
Anonymous calls made to the Crimestoppers line have resulted in people being arrested for a variety of commercial crime including robbery and credit card fraud. In addition, these calls have led to the recovery of large amounts of stolen property and the seizure of counterfeit material.
Anyone with information about crime can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously on: 0800 555 111.


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Experienced journalist for more than 40 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with three in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Director Warrington Chamber of Commerce Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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