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Police investigate rural burglaries in West Cumbria

Police in West Cumbria are investigating a number of rural burglaries in which remote farms, homes and other buildings have been targeted.

These offences have spanned from the fringes of Carlisle to Copeland. The majority of the offences have happened around the Wigton area and are believed to be linked.

“Offenders seem to be particularly interested in stealing quad bikes and diesel. They are willing to break into barns and outbuildings to carry out their crimes.

“To prevent this we are asking quad bikes owners to do all that they can to prevent them becoming a victim of such a crime. Securely locking gates fitted with anti-lift hinges can help stop criminal vehicles getting in and your vehicles from being stolen. Please remove all keys when vehicles are not in use and keep them out of sight.

“Consider using a chain and close shackled padlock to physically secure your quad bike to a secure anchor point. Please also keep your quad bike, tools and equipment hidden from view when not in use. This is equally as important during the day as well as at night. Vulnerable doors can be blocked with other heavy machinery or objects.

“We strongly recommend forensic marking kits, available through Cumbria Farmwatch, which will help you to get your property back if it is stolen and will also make it much less appealing to criminals. PCSO’s will be in auction marts at upcoming shows and sales to offer crime prevention advice, this also gives people an opportunity to sign up to the Farmwatch scheme.

“Please also consider whether your diesel storage tank is in a vulnerable location and if so consider relocating it where it would be difficult to see and attack.

“We would like to reassure the community that these offences are rare and will not be tolerated.”

– Detective Constable Martin Hodgson


Statement from Openreach

"Openreach engineers are working hard to repair seven underground cables that have been accidentally damaged by contractors working for another organisation.

It’s extremely regrettable when Openreach suffers any kind of damage to its network. Our priority is always to restore the services of those affected as quickly as possible, which is what we’re trying to do in this case.

Engineers have worked hard to provide temporary services to those affected while they press on with the main job of replacing the damaged cables.

Due to the severity of the damage it’s going to be a complex process, which could take a couple of weeks to finish. Temporary traffic lights are required to enable the engineers to carry out the work safely and with minimum disruption to local people.

As a result of this incident around 300 fault reports have been received by Openreach from customers with different service providers, but more people may be affected."

– Spokesperson for Openreach

Fish plant reopens in Maryport

Credit: ITV Border News

Fish production is returning to Maryport after a multi-thousand pound cash grant investment.

Harbourside Products have taken over from Brookside Products who shut in September after losses of £4 million.

The new company will open the premises as a processing plant after Allerdale council gave the company a £60,000 hand-out.

The business will focus on salmon filleting by hand, but there will also be opportunities for fish smoking.

The aim is to open the new plant at the beginning of April. Initially, the business will employ eight staff, with the aim of increasing this to between 12 and 14 people within six months.

The Council has made the grant from its Britain’s Energy Coast Social Investment Fund, which is managed by the authority’s economic growth team.

“This is what the BEC Social Investment Fund is all about – benefiting projects which can make a real difference to this area and play to its strengths. This news comes on the back of other Maryport investment which has been generated by the Council, namely the plans by Lidl to build a store in the town, as well as the success of facilities like Clip n’ Climb and Cave at the Wave, which we are also involved in. I want to see even more developments like this in the future.”

– Councillor Mark Fryer, Executive Member with responsibility for Economic Growth

“This investment is massive to us. We would not have been able to open without it. We can now buy the equipment we need, and it will enable us to take on staff and target the right customer base.

“The timing and location is perfect. There are people in Maryport who have the skills that we need and who are very happy to work in this industry again. We are looking forward to creating a loyal workforce and, with the ongoing assistance of the Council, creating a successful fish business in this town once more.”

– Richard Hodgson, Managing Director of Harbourside Products


United's Exet strategy

Carlisle United have the chance to pull away from the bottom of League Two if they can beat Exeter at home tomorrow.

The blues secured a vital win against Cheltenham Town midweek and if they can secure back to back wins they could go five points clear of the drop zone. Ryan Dollard reports.

Man jailed for assaulting young girl in public toilet

26-year-old John Robert Newton Credit: Cumbria Police

A man has been jailed for 12 years for falsely imprisoning and attacking a young girl in a public toilet.

John Robert Newton, 26, was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court today having admitted a string of offences. These were committed in Workington on 26th August last year.

Newton had pleaded guilty to false imprisonment of the youngster with intent to commit a sexual offence, common assault and assault causing actual bodily harm. He also admitted one count of voyeurism and two breaches of a sexual offences prevention order.

The court heard Newton smashed his way into a locked toilet cubicle being used by the girl. He refused to let her leave, and warned that he would hit her if she tried to call for help.

When she tried to raise the alarm he struck her three times - twice as she cowered on the floor. Before forcing his way into the cubicle he had tried to film the girl with a mobile phone.

He fled the scene but was caught thanks to assistance from several members of the public.

Judge Paul Batty QC described the crime as "every parent's nightmare" and told Newton, of Fisher Street, Workington, that he must serve at least eight years of his sentence before he can be eligible for parole. "Of its type, this (offence) is about as bad as it gets," said Judge Batty.

On the court for cancer cash

A 24 hour netball challenge has started at St Bees school today.

Both primary and secondary schools are taking part in the event throughout the day which runs through to Saturday morning.

St Bees School Credit: ITV Border News

The 24 hour challenge will have a staff game as well as local netballers from all over Cumbria playing during the night.

The event is part of Pink Netball fortnight which aims to raise money and awareness for Cancer Research UK.

24 hour netball challenge Credit: ITV Border News
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