Top crime buster moves
in to tackle robberies
by David Skentelbery
A BIG increase in the number of robberies in the Warrington area has resulted in police moving a top crime buster into the area.
Det Sgt Dave Walsh, who has 27 years experience of cracking crime, is leading a dedicated team of officers.
The move is in response to an increase in the number of robberies over the last five months.
Main aim of the unit is to detect commercial robberies. But it will also work closely with a number of other teams investigating street robberies.
DS Walsh said: ?”The main advantage of working in this way is that we can co-ordinate our approach by identifying any patterns and trends.
“But it also allows my officers to concentrate their time and efforts on detecting robberies which have taken place at off-licenses and bookmakers, freeing up the time of other detectives to focus on investigating robberies against individuals.”
Officers have a remit to catch the culprits responsible and to drive down robbery of all kinds. They are already producing results as well as a number of positive leads.
Of 35 robberies reported in April, six have been detected leading to the arrest and charge of five individuals.
Twenty four were street robberies where victims were targeted for their mobile phones and wallets. The majority of the remaining 11 offences were robberies at bookmakers or off-licences. None have taken place at a bank.
DS Walsh said: “We’re putting the increase in offences down to the desperation of drug addicts and other offenders who need ready cash to fund their illegal habits, either by stealing valuable items they can then sell on, or directly targeting ATMs and cash registers.
“What’s important to remember though is that in most cases the perpetrators threaten violence but don’t actually hurt anyone and weapons such as knives and guns are rarely involved. Sometimes offenders will claim to have a weapon in order to frighten their victim, but even so we would never advise anyone to challenge a robber. It’s not worth putting your life at risk.
“Robbery of any kind can have a traumatic effect on the victims who are just trying to go about their every day business, or do their job. We are committed to investigating these crimes thoroughly and we will do everything we can to bring perpetrators to justice.”
Anyone with information about crime can contact Cheshire Police on: 0845 458 0000, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on: 0800 555 111.
Running to get
fit for summer
NEWCOMERS are being encouraged to join a running club’s three-month training programme to get fit for the summer.
Spectrum Striders Running Club is currently staging its Beginners’ Spring Training Initiative.
Sessions are on Tuesdays at 7pm at Victoria Park, Warrington, Thursdays at 7pm at Birchwood High School, and Sundays at 10.30am at Victoria Park.
For newcomers to the club a fee of ?10 is charged, which covers coaching towards a 5k race (3.1 miles), entry to a 5k race organised by the club and a Spectrum Striders official towel.
One of the runners Jane Fish, who started two years ago, is encouraging people of all ages and fitness levels to take part. She has run several 5k and 10k races and also enjoys the social side of the sport.
Anyone wanting further information should contact Linda Owen, coach, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01925 267306.
Man falsely claimed
?8,531 in benefits
by court reporter
A MAN who falsely claimed ?8,531 in benefits from Warrington Borough Council and the Department for Works and Pensions was sentenced to a 210 hour community punishment order by the town?s magistrates.
He was also ordered to pay back the overpayment and pay ?75 costs.
William Pike, aged 58, of Suez Street pleaded guilty to four charges of benefit fraud relating to making false statements and representations.
The court was told that between March 2003 and January last year, Pike defrauded the council of ?5,454 Housing Benefit and ?734 Council Tax benefit and the DWP of ?2,341 Job Seekers Allowance.
Adrian Webster, the council’s benefits manager, said: “Benefit cheats must realise that they cannot abuse the benefit system and steal from the rest of society. They are not just defrauding the government, but their own tax paying neighbours and communities in Warrington.
“Fraud is theft and this case is a clear demonstration of our determination to tackle benefit fraud. We are introducing new methods of data matching – the message now is benefit cheats will be caught – and we are reducing the amount of money lost through fraud and abuse.”
People in Warrington can give information about alleged fraudsters free and in confidence on the National Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 854440.
Firms can benefit from
free training for staff
by Lesley Wilkinson
SELECTED businesses in Warrington and Cheshire will be able to benefit from free or subsidised training for their staff.
Small and medium-sized employers (SMEs), in the hospitality, financial services, retail or health care fields, are being offered the courses by the Business Service of Reed in Partnership.
The company has linked with the Learning and Skills Council to offer the service. It is funded by the European Social Fund and the Learning Skills Council.
Jo McDonald, of Reed, who is heading the project, said businesses, whether they are sole traders, partnerships or limited companies, could join the “Up Skill 4 Life” programme.
She said: “Any local company in Warrington or the rest of Cheshire with fewer than 250 employees can call us and we will visit them, analyse with them what their staff training needs are. Then our partner, Mercia Solutions, will provide the training.
“We want to help businesses be sure that their employee skills of today meet their business needs of tomorrow.?
The scheme will offer employees either higher qualifications in the skills they have, offer them new skills or training in basic skills such as Maths and English.
The first company to sign up is Wilson James Ltd who manage construction site logistics for the projects such as Golden Square, Warrington.
Company project manager Colm McGrath said: “This is a great scheme. I personally and many others in the company will see the benefits.”
Training for the company is focusing on stocktaking and report writing. Now 16 staff are on a 10-week training course.
Business interested in finding out more about the project should contact Abdul Khan on 01625 416 912 or mobile 07787 505 273.
Police dealt with 251
incidents in a day
by Lesley Wilkinson
A “SNAPSHOT” of police responses to emergency incidents during a typical day has been published by Cheshire Police on its website.
And officers are hoping the diary of 251 incidents they were deployed to, will make people think carefully before dialling the emergency number, 999.
Cheshire Police say they respond fast to “blue light” emergency incidents in Cheshire, Halton and Warrington, using the Targeted Patrol Teams (TPT).
A detailed breakdown of every callout in one 24-hour period is published on the website www.cheshire.police.uk.
It shows 180 TPT staff deployed to a total of 251 incidents. This includes 65 crimes, mainly violence against the person, of which there were 37 counts, and 104 cases of public safety, which included 11 reports of missing persons, 20 calls to alarms and 29 requests to check out suspicious activity.
The TPT are usually the first to arrive at a 999 call, and also respond to road incidents. On the diary day there were eight collisions involving injury or death, eight involving vehicle damage only, and 21 other road related incidents.
A police spokesman said there were also 20 reports of anti social behaviour, including nin
e counts of nuisance behaviour and five of rowdy, loutish or drunken activity. Officers also had to deliver messages such as notification of deaths to four homes, and offer urgent assistance to other officers.
The “Day In The Life” pages on the force website, accessed through a link on the front page, offers a complete breakdown of the day.
Police Authority member Michael Darby said: “This ‘snapshot of a typical day’ shows the breadth and range of the difficult and demanding jobs undertaken by officers throughout the year. It also shows the public how important it is to consider whether an incident is actually an emergency before dialling 999.”
Road sealed off after
sex attack claim
by staff reporter
POLICE sealed off an area of Locking Stumps, near Warrington after a man alleged he had been raped by a gang of youths.
The alleged incident took place in Glover Road, Locking Stumps close a newsagents and post office in the early hours of the morning.
Afterwards police closed the area to passersby and for a time the shop was unable to open.
But later a spokesman said the investigation had been called off after the victim decided not to pursue his complaint.
Police seek yobs
who torched bins
by staff reporter
ARSONISTS who struck at 3.30am close to a Warrington sheltered housing site are being hunted by police.
The yobs dragged dustbins into the centre of Fisherfield Drive, Gorse Covert, Birchwood, and set their contents alight – just yards from nearby homes where elderly residents and families were sleeping.
Firemen put out the blaze, which melted the bins and tarmac road surface.