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Father and son jailed for setting up drug laboratory

Jonathan Venner and Brian Venner.

A father and son have been jailed after police found a ketamine laboratory in a container in Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire.

Brian Venner, 59, of Elvington Gardens, Luton, and Jonathan Venner, 28, of Bushfield Court, Bedford were found guilty at Luton Crown Court on Tuesday (7 November).

After receiving intelligence about the use of the containers, which were hired and signed for by Brian Venner, officers obtained a warrant and conducted a search in August 2015. They found the container was used as a lab which was set up in three stages; the raw product, mixing stage and a packaging area.

In the container officers found between 7kg of white powder later identified as ketamine and 15kg of white powder late identified as mephedrone, as well as related drug paraphernalia.

During a search of Brian Venner’s home, officers found another bag of bag of mephedrone, and around £4,000 in cash.

Both father and son pleaded not guilty to the offence, but have now been sentenced to eight and seven years in prison respectively following a trial.

This was a very serious, organised drug dealing business and both men profited considerably from their illegal enterprise. We won’t tolerate this kind of behaviour, and I hope the sentences received sends a clear message to others that crime does not pay. We remain committed to investigating cases of those who are producing and supplying drugs, finding them and bringing them to justice.

– Detective Constable Jabbar Khan, investigating officer

Appeal after woman killed in Bedfordshire crash

Police investigating a fatal road traffic collision near Shillington are appealing for witnesses Credit: PA

A woman has died in a crash in Bedfordshire.

Laura Jones, who was 29 and from Leighton buzzard, was killed near Shillington on Thursday (19 October) afternoon.

The victim’s Ford Mondeo veered onto the opposite carriageway on the B655 Barton Road at Pegsdon.

Sergeant James Wood from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Roads Policing Unit said: “This was a tragic incident with terrible consequences, resulting in a young woman sadly losing her life. It is vital that we fully investigate the collision in order to establish the circumstances around it.

“I would appeal for anyone who saw the collision, or either vehicle in the area prior to it, to get in contact with any piece of information, big or small.”

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15-year-old missing from Bedfordshire for nearly two weeks

15 year old Sophie Kent Credit: Bedfordshire police

Police are appealing for help in to find a 15-year-old girl who has been missing from her home in Leighton Buzzard since Saturday 26 November.

Sophie Kent was last seen in the Luton area and it’s believed she may now be in the north area of Milton Keynes.

Officers are concerned for her welfare and are appealing to anyone who may know her whereabouts.

Man sentenced to six years for sexually abusing eight-year-old girl

Aidan Smith Credit: Bedfordshire Police

A 20-year-old man has been sentenced to six years in prison for sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl.

Aidan Smith, from Bideford Green, Leighton Buzzard was found guilty of six counts of child sexual abuse.

During a trial in October the jury heard how Smith abused the girl on several occasions during 2011 and 2012.

“No length of time behind bars can never make up for the trauma that Smith inflicted on his victim, but I hope that seeing Smith found guilty and punished will assist with helping her to move on from this horrific experience.

“I also hope this reassures other victims of sexual abuse that if they come forward we will listen to them, we will believe them, and justice can be done.”

– Detective Constable Nadia Hussein

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Leighton Buzzard police station sold for £900,000

Bedfordshire PCC Kathryn Holloway says the move will Credit: Bedfordshire Police

Bedfordshire Police have sold Leighton Buzzard police station to the local council for £930,000.

Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway says the move will "revolutionise policing in the town".

“I am absolutely delighted that this sale has gone ahead.

"From a policing point of view the station was in completely the wrong location in view of the way Leighton Buzzard and crime had developed.

“We will now have officers based right in the heart of the centre of the pubbing and clubbing culture, and right alongside the high street."

– Kathyrn Holloway, Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner

The Police and Crime Panel found in 2013 found that only 20% of the building was being used by police.

Police officers will now be based in the town's fire station.

Central Bedfordshire Council has agreed to let police continue to use the station until the move can go ahead, with a lease agreement of £1.

School building damaged after fire breaks out in skip

Fire crews were called to the Brooklands School in Leighton Buzzard. Credit: Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

A school building in Leighton Buzzard has been damaged after a fire broke out at a nearby skip.

Firefighters were called to the Brooklands School yesterday afternoon (20 October) after the blaze destroyed the contents of an industrial skip, containing roofing materials, and caused damage to the exterior of the building.

The school roof was being renovated when the fire broke out. Credit: Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

The school roof was being renovated. Contractors were removing materials - including felt and insulation - using blowtorches and putting them into the skip.

The fire service say it's possible that some of the materials could have been alight or hot - which then could have ignited the rest of the contents of the skip.

Workmen tried to tackle the fire before fire crews arrived. One of them suffered minor burns to his arm, and was treated at the scene.

The fire has been extinguished.

The fire has been extinguished. Credit: Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

“The school activated the fire alarm and a full evacuation safely took place and the pupils were relocated to nearby Leedon Lower School.

When the crews arrived six minutes later the skip was well alight and had spread to the fascia of the building melting the UPVC window frames and causing heat damage to the exterior.”

– Darren Chambers, Watch Commander, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

Murder charge dropped over man killed at caravan site in Leighton Buzzard

Patrick Maloney died after the attack at Little Billington Credit: Bedfordshire police/ ITV News Anglia

A murder charge has been dropped against a man accused of running over a father-of-three at a travellers' site near Leighton Buzzard.

43-year-old Patrick Maloney died from "multiple crushing injuries" after being hit by a vehicle at Toddbury Farm on 2 August.

Brothers Thomas and Christopher McCarthy had been charged with this murder, but prosectors today said they're only continuing with the case against Christopher.

His trial's expected to take place in January.

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