A round-up of news from around the North West
Greater Manchester Police has been fined £120,000 and slammed by the Information Commission after a memory stick containing the names of people who tipped off officers was stolen from a detective’s home.
In a damning report, the Information Commission’s Office said there were ‘significant failings’ surrounding the blunder which ‘send a shiver down the spine’.
An intruder walked into the officer’s house in Grotton, Oldham, after he left his back door open and took his wallet and keys to his black VW Golf, which was also stolen.
The memory stick – which was not password protected or encrypted – was in the officer’s wallet. Now the ICO reveals how:
Details of 1,075 people gathered over an 11-year period were lost
Lynne Potts, Assistant Chief Officer at GMP, said: “The force is aware of the decision of the ICO to impose a monetary penalty for the data loss following a burglary at the home of a serving officer last year.
“This was very much an isolated incident. We take all matters relating to the storage of data extremely seriously and have stringent measures in place to ensure the safe storage of data.”
Children’s centres, meals-on-wheels and a care home all face the axe under swingeing £34m cuts at Trafford council.
Some 180 workers at the region’s only Tory-led town hall are set to lose their jobs, while terms and conditions for all remaining staff could be slashed.
Workers would see their sickness entitlement halved and would be forced to take five days’ unpaid leave a year.
The two-year savings plan would also see volunteers part-run all the borough’s libraries.
Staff were told about the plans yesterday (MON).
Disgruntled passengers made more than 10,000 complaints about Metrolink in one year.
Official figures reveal that Metrolink’s customer services received 10,348 complaints between May 2011 and May 2012. That which works out at around 28 a day - or more than one every hour.
Another 558 complaints about the service were made to Transport for Greater Manchester, which owns the tram network – and was this week named transport authority of the year.
More than 6,000 of the complaints to Metrolink customer services were about disruptions and almost 1,500 were about ticket vending machines.
The figures, released under Freedom of Information laws, show another 1,000 complaints were about the ‘timetable’ – normally when a service does not arrive at the expected time – while 280 were about the conduct of drivers and staff.
The data reveals that more than a quarter of complaints made to TfGM were about the quality of the service – with many people complaining that it was ‘continually unreliable’. And more than a fifth were about the ‘attractiveness and comfort’ of trams.
City centre chiefs and alcohol charities have condemned a mass bar crawl around Manchester city centre by 2,000 students.
Carnage UK, which organises student pub crawls across the country, will host the ‘pimps n hoes’ themed event in bars around Deansgate Locks on Sunday. GMP is planning to draft in dozens of extra officers to police the event, with organisers asked to pick up the bill.
For a £10 ticket, university students are given a T-shirt giving them free entry to six bars in the city centre between 9pm and 4am.
Previous Carnage events in other cities provoked outrage after students were caught urinating on war memorials.
A similar event is planned for Lancashire.
Four in 10 teachers in Greater Manchester take food in to children who arrive at school hungry, a survey has shown.
Some teachers are spending up to £25 of their own money each month buying food for vulnerable children, the report by cereal manufacturer Kelloggs showed.
And even more of the region’s teachers – 82 per cent – say they regularly see children turning up in the morning hungry.
Around half of teachers also said they thought the problem was getting worse thanks to a combination of parents’ unemployment and benefits cuts.
The findings came from interviews with 500 teachers around the country, including 58 at schools in Greater Manchester, for a new report – No Food For Thought – by Kelloggs on childhood hunger.
One teacher who asked to remain anonymous said: “I ended up just buying bread and margarine to make toast for the children out of my own money. You could see they were coming in hungry and unable to concentrate.
“I don’t have a lot of money but I do have children of my own and it’s like the same as for them – if needs be you go hungry so the children can eat.
“Luckily, my school started a breakfast club and we now get deliveries from a food charity so I don’t have to buy things with my own money any more.”
The information is being used as part of the Give a Child a Breakfast appeal. Launched today to coincide with World Food Day it aims to support school breakfast clubs by providing grants of £450.
A cabbie murdered a mum-to-be weeks after taking her as a second wife in an Islamic marriage ceremony.
Siraj Arif killed Saiba Khatoon in a ferocious attack involving three knives at her home in Darlington Road, Rochdale.
She was found in a pool of blood by her seven-year-old son, Faris, and died the next day, on her 27th birthday, after being repeatedly stabbed in the heart.
Taxi driver Arif is now beginning a life sentence after admitting murder at Manchester Crown Court. He must serve 21 years before being considered for release.
Saiba was 19 weeks pregnant when she was murdered by Arif on May 7, said Kim Hollis QC, prosecuting.
The pair had been childhood sweethearts, but were both married to other people when they started having an affair in 2004.
The relationship led to Saiba ending her happy marriage to a doctor, the father of her son Faris.
But Arif remained with his wife Nazia and obtained her grudging consent to take Saiba as a second bride, allowable in Islamic law, last December.
His barrister, Anthony Hayden QC, told the court that Arif was ‘a man caught in two very complex relationships’ between traditional Nazia and Westernised Saiba. Mr Hayden said: “It’s plain that in the months leading up to this fateful day the defendant was under considerable pressure. On May 7, entirely out of character, he snapped.”
The day before the killing, Arif, of Armstronghurst Close, Rochdale, had a violent argument with Nazia about Saiba’s pregnancy. The next day, Saiba’s sister confronted Nazia and upset her. The fatal argument between Arif and Saiba followed. Arif later told a pal at the taxi rank: ‘I’m finished’.
He was on his way to the police station when he was arrested. In statement, Saiba’s sister, Sara Ali, said the family had been devastated by the loss of Saiba, who was the eldest of eight children.
A trial of a procedure to try to heal wounds using skin transplanted from dead people has proved so successful it could be extended across the country.
Medics at Wythenshawe Hospital have been using the technique on patients with chronic leg ulcers.
A high-pressure water spray is used to remove damaged tissue. A patch of donor skin – cut to fit the outline of the ulcer – is then applied to the area and held in place by surgical glue.
Twenty patients at Wythenshawe have already taken part in the trial – and within six weeks, nine of them were completely healed. The rest of the patients had their wounds reduced by an average of 50 per cent, according to the initial results of the study.
Leg ulcers are notoriously difficult to treat by traditional means, and can be extremely painful. Sufferers have to apply bandages to their sores and often struggling to move. The Wythenshawe trial, which is being carried out in partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant, could potentially save the health service millions of pounds each year.
It is a simple procedure and can be carried out in outpatient departments and possibly even at GP surgeries – taking less than 40 minutes.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham claims a massive planned shake-up of Greater Manchester’s hospitals could ‘overwhelm’ the NHS.
Regional health chiefs want to set up a new system which could herald the end of the old district general hospital. They want to introduce a network of care provided by local GPs, backed by specialist centres of excellence – regional super-hospitals with top consultants working around the clock.
Mr Burnham, the MP for Leigh, said he would only support the changes if a clear clinical need could be demonstrated.
He said: “I am concerned too much change has been thrown at the NHS at once, and that it will be overwhelmed by it. It is dangerous to throw too much change at a system at once. The NHS is already grappling with the biggest-ever top-down reorganisation and at the same time it faces its biggest ever financial challenge. Now these proposals suggest very large-scale change. I have always supported changes where there is a clear clinical case that lives will be saved or disabilities prevented, and that has not changed now we are in opposition, so I will listen carefully to their proposals.”
The NHS is trying to save £20bn by 2015 while primary care trusts, which control the NHS purse strings, are being replaced by clinical commissioning groups run by GPs.
Mr Burnham said he was concerned that after a year of working on the shake-up, local health chiefs had not outlined firm proposals for change. He said delaying the publication of outline plans could allow rumours to destabilise individual hospitals.
NHS bosses say more than 200 people have attended presentations about the need for change. They are preparing to launch a consultation on the proposals in the spring.
An internal NHS report said that the district general hospital was ‘designed to meet the needs of the last century’ and needed urgent reform. The news prompted MPs and patients’ groups to call for reassurances that the views of the public would be heard before any firm plans were made.
A demolition company which polluted a river with oil has been ordered to pay more than £30,000.
Contaminated swans had to be rescued from the River Roch in Rochdale when a mixture of heating oil and diesel flooded into the water in November 2010.
An investigation by the environment agency found the oil had come from a tank in a boiler house at the former Woolworths depot on Royle Barn Road more than a mile away.
The oil had leaked after work by Phoenix Demolition to demolish the roof of the boiler house had meant concrete hit a valve on the oil tank inside.
The chemicals then flowed into the waters of one of the river’s tributaries, Sudden Brook, via some surface water drains.
Three swans had to be rescued by the RSPCA after the leak was discovered 24
hours later and the spill is also thought to have caused lasting damage to the river’s wildlife population.
Phoenix Demolition pleaded guilty to causing a discharge activity contrary to environmental regulations at an earlier hearing.
The Rossendale-based company was given an £8,000 fine and £23,400 in costs at a sentencing hearing at Manchester Crown Court.
The Environment Agency spent two days clearing the area after the spillage, which affected more than five kilometres of the river.
A supermarket pervert who hid a camera in a sock in his shopping basket to film up the skirt of women has avoided a jail sentence.
Sahab Sepahpourfared, 52, of Shawdene Road, Northenden, was spotted by security staff at Asda Wythenshawe strategically positioning his shopping basket near the feet of women.
He was found to have wrapped a digital camera inside a sock with a hole cut over the lens. Following his arrest, police found hundreds of similar videos on his home computer filmed over a five-year period.
Sepahpourfared was given a three-year community order after pleading guilty to 17 counts of outraging public decency.
Defending, Peter Warne said Sepahpourfared had never distributed the films and was ‘thoroughly ashamed’ of his actions.
Under the terms of the community order he will undergo three years of supervision from the probation service and a sexual offenders treatment programme. He was also ordered to pay £350 costs.
A train passenger suffered broken ribs when he was viciously attacked on his way home from a night out.
The victim, 48, was assaulted from behind at Romiley station as he travelled back from Manchester. He was kicked in the face and body during the unprovoked assault, at around 10.40pm on Sunday night.
Det Con Mick Millward, of British Transport Police, said: “As the victim got off the train, he was attacked from behind, knocked to the floor, and kicked several times to his body and face.
“The assault was sudden, vicious and unprovoked and left the man with nasty facial injuries and broken ribs which were treated at hospital.
“We will look at all evidence including CCTV, but also need assistance from the public.”
Witnesses should call British Transport Police on 0800 405040.
A watchdog has uncovered ‘significant concerns’ after it carried out a review of police cells throughout Greater Manchester.
Staff who dealt with prisoners showed ‘inadequate awareness’ when dealing with vulnerable detainees and that there were ‘serious gaps’ in arranging mental health care for disturbed prisoners.
The criticisms are in a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), which noted Greater Manchester Police was ‘heading in the right direction’ as it reduces the number of police cells and modernises how it deals with prisoners.
HMIC officials carried out unannounced visits at 10 specialist police detention centres across Greater Manchester.
ACC Dawn Copley said: “There is still work to do to continue to improve and professionalise the standard of care that we provide to those who come into our custody.”
A former teacher who jumped to his death from a hospital balcony was depressed at the idea of living alone, an inquest heard.
John Best, 65, of Heywood Street, Clayton, plunged three storeys on to the public atrium of St Mary’s Hospital, an inquest heard.
He had been an in-patient at the neighbouring Manchester Royal Infirmary for two months and had complained to doctors of feeling ‘fed up’ at his deteriorating health and the prospect of going home to live alone.
Recording a narrative verdict of suicide, coroner Robert Chapman said there had been no real indication by Mr Best that he was depressed enough to kill himself.
A beauty spot is set to turn ugly for Halloween.
Tatton Park in Knutsford is hosting spooky guided tours of the estate’s Old Hall – a Tudor manor which is allegedly haunted.
The family event will give people a chance to learn about the building’s history, while youngsters can take part in Halloween mask making, face painting and a funfair.
Park bosses say that paranormal investigators apparently found nearly a dozen active ghosts at the Old Hall.
It’s claimed that the Victorian parlour is haunted by a dour 19th century gamekeeper, while another spirit has been seen cleaning his gun with a faithful dog at his feet. In the Great Hall several people have felt their hair being tugged and a cord or ribbon slowly tightening around their necks.
The Half Term Hauntings event, at Tatton Park, runs from Tuesday, October 23 to Wednesday, October 31, excluding Monday, October 29.
A man who attacked and raped a prostitute has been jailed for seven years after the blood of his victim was found on his shoe.
Jason Edwards, 19, of no fixed address, was found guilty following a trial at Manchester Crown Court.
He approached the 39-year-old woman who was standing at the junction of Fairfield Street and St Andrews Street in Manchester in October, 2010.
Edwards wanted to take her to a wooded area but she refused and suggested they went to Helmet Street.
When they arrived, Edwards hit her head on the floor and raped her before he ran off.
He was later arrested after blood found on his trainers matched that of his victim.
Edwards was sentenced to seven years in prison, with a further three years on license and must sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.
Det Con Matthew Bolger from North Manchester CID said: “Edwards thought that because of the industry the victim worked in, he could do whatever he wanted and get away with it.
“No one should be put through an ordeal like this.
“The victim showed bravery in coming forward and
helping us build a case against Edwards and now he is behind bars.”
Rail bosses have begun work to fix one of Britain’s most crowded stations – and ease the threat of passengers falling on the tracks.
Network Rail is spending £12m on Salford Crescent station, which serves the city’s university, because the platforms are too narrow.
It is one of the busiest small stations in Greater Manchester, used by 1.5m passengers every year. Transport bosses warned five years ago that a passenger could be accidentally pushed on to the tracks because of the daily commuter crush.
Network Rail’s revamp will see the ticket office moved and the platform extended.
Network Rail had originally said it would have to close the station for three months, but it will now remain open during the work. The project will be completed by early 2014.
A sixty-year study of Britain’s drugs laws has concluded parliament should decriminalise cannabis for personal use.
The UK Drug Policy Commission – a respected advisory body made up of senior medics, academics and police – published the results of its study yesterday.
The commission said possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use should be decriminalised.
Using illegal drugs is like gambling or eating junk food, according to the commission, which urged a wholesale government review. Instead, possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use should be made a civil rather than a criminal offence, says their report.
The commission also urged the government to review sentencing for suppliers of any illegal drugs.
The idea was quickly quashed by David Cameron, who said the Coalition has ‘no plans to change the current position on cannabis’.
A van driver who cheated mortgage lenders out of more than £500,000 has failed in an Appeal Court bid to clear his name.
Mark Lloyd, 36, posed as a company boss and vastly inflated his modest earnings in applications to lenders, enabling him to start up a small property empire.
Lloyd, of Maunby Gardens, Walkden, Salford, was jailed for three-and-a-half years in January after being found guilty of seven counts of obtaining money by deception.
He challenged his convictions at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, with his lawyers arguing they were ‘unsafe’ because of the way the case was presented to the jury by the prosecution.
But his appeal was dismissed by three of the country’s most senior judges, who said there were no grounds for challenging the convictions.
The judges also rejected an appeal against his sentence, saying three-and-a-half years was ‘not excessive’ for his crimes.
Lord Justice Aikens told the court Lloyd – formerly of Ancoats – was able to borrow £516,847 from mortgage lenders by lying about his occupation and his income on applications between 2004 and 2009. He made false claims to buy and remortgage properties in Irlam, Chadderton, Moston and Little Hulton, which he then let out for profit.
In fact, he was unemployed until 2006, when he began working as a delivery driver earning up to £14,000 a year.
Coronation Street star Sue Cleaver has backed a campaign to help slum kids in Africa.
The actress, who plays Eileen Grimshaw in the soap, visited Kenya earlier this year to film a documentary.
Now the Didsbury-based actress is backing three volunteers who will be going to the country next year to work with local kids at a centre in the slum area of Nakuru which provides education, food and support to children who would normally spend their days scavenging from a huge dump.
Sue said: “Having had experience of Kenya, it isn’t all doom and gloom. There are lots of projects making a difference, this being one of them. I wish the three of them good luck”
Ruth Dodman 23, Steve Hampson 38, and David Gennard 31, work for Didsbury-based Greater Places Housing Group, which has sent volunteers to Kenya for seven years.
David said: “We can raise a lot of money and then rather than send it off to a faceless organisation, we go out to Kenya and help the children.”
To donate email firstname.lastname@example.org
A top choir is looking for funds to send its talented youngsters on the trip of a lifetime.
Manchester Cathedral Choir – which has existed for more than 500 years – hopes to send its 16 choristers to Switzerland, where they will sing and be taught by the acclaimed Luzerner Kantorei Choir.
The choir is made up of girls and boys aged eight to 13 from all over Greater Manchester.
They regularly perform for BBC Radio 3 Choral Evensongs and for special services at the cathedral.
Choir co-ordinator Katy Leese said next June’s trip would be a fantastic educational experience for the children, and an opportunity to showcase Manchester talent on an international stage.
This year, the choir was featured on BBC Radio 4, when Easter Sunday workshop came live from Manchester Cathedral and included the first broadcast performance of The People’s Passion, by local composer Sasha Johnson Manning.
They perform Choral
Evensong every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 5.30pm, and Saturdays at 3.30pm, which is open to the public.
Send your Wish tokens to Musical Administrator, Manchester Cathedral, Victoria Street, Manchester M3 1SX.
New clinical guidelines need to be developed to help doctors provide better care for people with more than one chronic illness, according to Manchester researchers.
Experts say that existing guidelines which concentrate on individual diseases are not best serving patients where a number of severe conditions have to be treated.
The team, from the Universities of Manchester, Glasgow and Dundee and drugs regulator the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, is now looking at the issue.
Professors Katherine Payne and Matt Sutton, from the Centre of Health Economics at the University of Manchester, are leading the economic component of the study.
Prof Payne said: “This study aims to explore if, and how, it is feasible to generate economic evidence to support the development of clinical guidelines involving multiple interventions for people with multiple chronic conditions.”
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Weather for Preston
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 11 C to 16 C
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Wind direction: North west