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Profits at Luton-based airline easyJet rise by 21%

Pre-tax profits at Luton-based easyJet are up by more than 20%. Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Luton-based airline easyJet has announced a steep rise in profits.

In the year to the end of September 2014, the airline made pre-tax profits of £581 million, up by 21.5% on the previous year. Revenue was up 6% to £4.5 billion.

“easyJet has continued to execute its strategy, delivering another strong performance and enabling easyJet to deliver record profits for the fourth year in a row. easyJet has opened up clear blue sky between us and our competitors"

– Carolyn McCall, easyJet Chief Executive

easyJet has a fleet of 200 aircraft and employs 8,000 people. In the Anglia region, it operates from Luton, Stansted and Southend airports.

Pregnant woman attacked by gang outside her home

A pregnant teenager has been pulled to the ground and kicked by a group of four men outside her home in Luton.

The assault happened in Rudyard Court in Luton, between 2.40pm and 3.10pm when the 18 year old was making her way home on 31st October.

She saw four men smoking near to her front door but as she walked past, one of the men grabbed her hair and pulled her to the floor. All four men then started kicking the victim in the stomach and laughing at her. At this point, a member of the public driving past came to the victim’s aid and the offenders fled. The Good Samaritan then drove the victim to the police station.

The victim was left with severe stomach pains and was taken to hospital for a check-up where it was confirmed that her baby was safe and well.

Police are appealing for witnesses. They are also keen to track down the Good Samaritan who may hold valuable information about the attackers who were all Asian men and in their late teens or early 20s.

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Nine arrested in connection with human trafficking, sexual exploitation and prostitution

Bedfordshire Police raided four premises in Luton at around 7am this morning in connection with prostitution, sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

Nine people were arrested in relation to human trafficking and prostitution offences and six women victims and one child have been identified and taken to safety.

The process of closing down three locations in relation to brothel activity is currently underway.

Bedfordshire Police executed early morning raids at four premises in Luton Credit: PA Images

Today’s enforcement operation is the result of a long running investigation into organised criminal gangs bringing young women into the country for sexual exploitation and prostitution.

The operation is about alleviating the suffering of the victims and tackling the human cost this type of criminality creates as well as bringing offenders to justice.

– Detective Inspector Rob Regan

Following the police operation The Salvation Army worked with the victims and provided practical and emotional support as needed at a reception centre.

The Salvation Army is working with Bedfordshire Police to rescue and support potential victims of trafficking. It is vital that victims of trafficking receive immediate access to specialised support.

Our team has been working to assess the needs of the victims and ensure that they have access to accommodation and support at safe houses if needed.

The Salvation Army operates a Government contract to provide vital help and support to adult victims of this pitiless exploitation which gives them the very best chance to try and recover through the comprehensive specialised services we can offer working with our partners.

The safety of victims and support for the Police in successfully prosecuting the perpetrators of this horrific crime are our key priorities. It is therefore not appropriate at this stage to disclose any further details about the victims or the nature of this crime.

– Major Anne Read, The Salvation Army

Anyone with information or concerns about human trafficking or prostitution should call Bedfordshire police, in confidence, at Bedfordshire Police on 101, or text information to 07786 200011.

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

Man jailed after stabbing girlfriend in the eye and leaving her to pull the knife out herself

Luton Crown Court. Credit: PA

A man has been jailed for eleven and a half years after he stabbed his girlfriend in the eye, and left the knife embedded there.

Luton Crown Court heard how the woman had to pull the blade out herself following the attack at her home in Dunstable.

Agniieszka Oxley is now blind in one eye, and is facing further surgery to have the eye removed. Both her and her child are still traumatised by the assault.

The Judge described the case as "truly spine chilling".

35-year-old Waldermar Szaltynas was originally charged with attempted murder, but that changed after he pleaded guilty to wounding with intent.

It's thought that Szaltynas lost his temper following an argument with Mrs Oxley in which she asked him to move out.

Candlelight vigil to mark anniversary of Leon Briggs death in police custody

A candlelight vigil is being held in Luton tonight, one year on from the death of a man in police custody.

Leon Briggs

39-year-old Leon Briggs died on 4 November 2013 after being detained under the Mental Health Act by Bedfordshire Police.

The friends and family of Mr Briggs will gather outside Luton Police station at 6pm tonight to remember him.

The IPCC's investigation into the death of Leon Briggs is continuing. Further criminal interviews with five police officers and a member of police staff will take place in the near future.

A second member of police staff has been notified that they are no longer under criminal or misconduct investigation. They will be interviewed again by IPCC investigators as a significant witness to the investigation.

We continue to keep Mr Briggs ' family and Bedfordshire Police updated about the progress of our investigation.

– IPCC Spokesperson
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