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Bedford holiday company offers to pay parents' fines

A skiing holiday company offering to pay parents' fines for taking their children away during term time has been condemned by the National Association of Headteachers.

Parents who take children out of school have to pay a fine for unauthorised absence of £60 per child, per parent.

But Mountain Base, a company based in Bedford, has said it would cover the costs of the fine, to allow families to book term time holidays. Lauren Hall reports

Prime Minister visits Bedford to spread 'Help to Buy' message

The PM talks to homeowners in Bedford.
The PM talks to homeowners in Bedford. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Prime Minister David Cameron has been in Bedford promoting the Government's flagship 'Help to Buy' scheme.

New figures released by the Government show more than 2,000 people in the east have bought homes under the programme.

Bedfordshire leads the way with 375 completed sales, while the scheme is also popular in Peterborough with almost 200 homes bought.

The PM says that the scheme will bring piece of mind to young people.
The PM says that the scheme will bring piece of mind to young people. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"What it means is that young people who can afford a mortgage payment, but don't have a rich mum and dad and can't afford a deposit, it means that they can buy a home of their own," the Prime Minister told ITV News Anglia.

"They can get that piece of mind and stability that home ownership brings."

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Council raises nearly £15,000 in school holiday fines

Parents face fines if they take their children on holiday during term time. Credit: Photo: Julian Stratenschulte/DPA.

Bedford Borough Council has issued nearly £15,000 in fines to parents who have taken their children on unauthorised holidays this school year.

ITV News asked all local authorities to provide figures for how much money had been raised as a result of the sanctions.

Bedford confirmed it had issued a total of 98 fines worth £14,820. Five families also face potential court action for non-payment.

Many parents are choosing to take the fines rather than pay to take their children on holiday during peak periods.

Today, MPs will debate the steep price rises charged by holiday companies during school breaks. A number of other local authorities have yet to respond to the request for information.

Disabled teenager attacked by cyclist

A 15-year-old boy was attacked by a cyclist in Bedford. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

A 15-year-old disabled boy has been attacked by a cyclist who knocked him to the ground and stamped on his head five times.

The teenager was walking along Chester Road in Bedford, close to the junction with Old Ford End Road, at about 6pm last Thursday.

The cyclist was on the path heading towards him. He is described as a mixed-race man, aged about 20, and of a medium build.

He was with another man. Both left towards Old Ford End Road and Westbourne Road.

PC Sue Reynolds condemned the "appalling behaviour" of the teenager's attacker.

She added: "The victim is disabled and finds it difficult to walk unaided. He has suffered facial injuries which required hospital treatment, and the shock of the incident has left him feeling very vulnerable."

Appeal for witnesses following sexual assault on teenager in Milton Keynes

CCTV footage of a man police would like to speak to in connection with the assault. Credit: Thames Valley Police

Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses after a sexual assault on a 17-year-old girl in Milton Keynes.

The assault happened on Wednesday on the X5 Stagecoach in Buckingham, which was bound for Bedford.

At 1.37pm a man boarded the bus at the bus stop outside of Milton Keynes McDonalds in central Milton Keynes. The offender spoke to the victim for about 30 minutes, and then moved to sit next to her.

He then touched the victim inappropriately and asked her questions of a sexual nature. The victim got off the bus at Bedford bus station, and the offender then followed her off the bus, but is not believed to have followed her after this.

Thames Valley Police has released CCTV footage of the man who they would like to speak to in connection with the assault.

If you recognise the man from the CCTV still or have any information about the incident, please contact designated investigator Selena Nolan by ringing our single non-emergency number, 101.

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Extra police patrols following fatal stabbing

Police in Bedford say there are extra patrols on the streets this weekend after a promising rapper was stabbed to death in the centre of the town.

19 year old Isaac Stone, also known as 'Dynamik', died after an incident outside a takeaway restaurant in Costin Street on Saturday 25 January.

A 20 year old man, also injured in the incident, was arrested by police as part of their investigation. He has since been released on bail pending further inquiries.

One Stop Shop Robbery Appeal

Bedfordshire Police are appealing for witnesses after a 46 year old shop worker was injured during a robbery.

It happened at the One Stop shop in Hillgrounds at approximately 8am yesterday (January 31). A man entered the store and assaulted the woman before taking cash from the safe.

The shop worker suffered facial injuries and was taken to Bedford Hospital for treatment. The man left the shop and headed towards Kingstop Close leading to the Hartwell Drive area. The offender is described as being around 6ft tall and wearing a black woolly hat with a dark scarf and a dark jacket.

If you have information relating to this incident you can contact DC Langwith, in confidence, on 01234 275351, Bedfordshire Police on 101, or text your message to 07786 200011.

Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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