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Former Norfolk copper found guilty of one million pound fraud

Ben Staff

A former Norfolk police officer has been found guilty of fraud after conning his victims out more than a million pounds.

Ben Staff, 35, used his reputation as a police constable to gain the trust of victims and then used money to fund his own lifestyle.

Payments relating to his building and development companies went into his own personal accounts, and Staff bought an Audi A6 and a BMW, paid for holidays and renovations to his home and funded his wedding.

He was convicted of six charges including two of fraud at an earlier trial and was found guilty of a further two charges at Norwich Crown Court on Monday. He will be sentenced in January.

His wife, Catriona Staff, 33, who is a serving Norfolk Police officer, was charged in both trials but cleared on all counts. She was suspended from duty in 2014 pending the outcome of legal proceedings and now faces internal disciplinary procedures.

These are very serious offences that Ben Staff has been convicted of. The fact that, as a former officer, he traded on the reputation of the police is absolutely unforgivable. I want to take this opportunity to underline to the public that the constabulary will pursue criminality wherever it exists and will robustly investigate allegations of criminal conduct against an individual whatever their background.

– Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Nick Dean

Fog warning to drivers in the East

Drivers urged to take extra care in fog Credit: ITV News Anglia

Drivers are being urged to take extra care on the roads this morning with areas of fog expected across the region.

Highways England is advising drivers to check their headlights and fog lights before setting out on journeys to make sure they are working properly, and adjust their speed to suit the conditions on the road.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for fog until 9am, meaning drivers should plan ahead and think about possible travel delays.

Drivers should switch their headlights on when visibility is reduced – generally when you can’t see for more than 100 metres – and use fog lights if you’re struggling to see other vehicles. You shouldn’t use your lights on full beam as the fog can reflect the light back and reduce visibility.

We’d also encourage drivers to check their lights before setting out and make sure they know how to operate their front and rear fog lights.

– Stuart Lovatt, Highways England’s Head of Road User Safety

Drivers are also being advised to:

  • Keep a safe distance behind the vehicle in front and beware of other drivers who may not be using headlights and so will be harder to see.
  • Use your windscreen wipers and demisters, including air conditioning.
  • Be able to stop well within the distance you can see clearly. This is particularly important on motorways and dual carriageways, as vehicles are travelling faster.
  • Check your mirrors before you slow down. Then use your brakes so that your brake lights warn drivers behind you that you are slowing down.

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Bull terrier seized after attacking and killing another dog

The dog remains under the care of Norfolk Police. Credit: Norfolk Police.

Police have charged a woman after a Staffordshire bull terrier attacked and killed another dog in Great Yarmouth.

It happened yesterday afternoon (Sunday 4) on Marine Parade. Janette Wise, 52 from Victoria Road in the town was arrested at the scene and the dog was seized. She is due to appear at Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court later this month.

The dog remains under the care of Norfolk Police until the court date where a decision will be made about its future.

Ship stuck on sands off Norfolk

The cargo vessel has run aground off Happisburgh Credit: ITV Anglia

A cargo vessel with nine people on board has run aground off the coast of Norfolk.

Coastguards say the ship is stuck on sands 8 miles off Happisburgh.

Everyone on board is safe and the boat is waiting for a tug to refloat it.

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Rail fares rise: How services in the East will be affected

Video report by ITV News Anglia's Russell Hookey

Rail users were handed a blow today with the announcement that fares will increase again.

From 2 January 2017, passengers will pay an average of 2.3% more - the highest average increase since January 2014.

The Rail Delivery Group say the money will be used to improve services, but public transport campaigners warn some people will be "priced off the railways".

Here's how much rail services in the East of England will increase by:

  • Greater Anglia: 1.8%
  • c2c Rail: 1.8%
  • CrossCountry: Unknown
  • East Midlands Trains: 1.5%
  • London Midland: 1.9%
  • Southeastern: 1.8%

Paralympic medalist fights for career after funding cut

Jessica-Jane Applegate

A fundraising page has been set up to try and raise enough money for a Paralympic medalist from Great Yarmouth to continue her swimming career.

Jessica-Jane Applegate's funding was cut after she failed to reach a personal best this year.

The 20-year-old needs to raise £15,000, if she doesn't she may have to retire.

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