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Love rat

Credit: PA

A man from Portling has been fined £710 after releasing rats into the home of his partner, who has a rodent phobia.

Lee Thompson's wife had taken court action to evict him from their home.

To retaliate, he bought the two rats and put them in the attic of the house in Caulstran Road, in Dumfries

Their presence was discovered after his wife and a relative heard scuttling coming from the attic and found rat food and a pan of water.

In the court, Thompson admitted behaving in a threatening or abusive manner likely to cause a person fear or alarm by putting the rats on the property in May last year.

He was also originally accused of placing dead fish under carpets and behind skirting board, but fiscal depute Jennifer McGill deleted that from the charge.

She told the court that the couple had been married 12 years but the relationship broke down a month prior to the offence.

Ann Thompson then took legal action to have her husband removed from the house and within hours he went to the pet shop and bought the rats.

When Mrs Thompson returned with a friend to the house later they found empty boxes from the pet shop with literature about caring for rats.

Solicitor Carolyn Priestley said the relationship had now resumed and the couple were back living together and working things out.


Job cuts at University of Cumbria

Credit: ITV Border

Sixty staff roles could be cut at the University of Cumbria in order to help make savings of up to £6 million over the next academic year.

The University claims the staff reductions can be made through voluntary redundancies.

But despite these budget cuts, the University has confirmed it will continue investing in its facilities to try to and attract more students.

Thieves target cars in rural areas

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Police are warning residents and tourists to be extra vigilant after a spate of thefts from vehicles parked in rural areas.

Within the last two days, there have been six reports of this type of crime, two of which were at the Castlerigg Stone Circle in Keswick.

Items stolen range from laptops and IPODS, to walking equipment.

Police are reminding the public not to leave valuable items on show.

People are leaving handbags and valuables in full view which makes it easier for these criminals.

You need to remove all valuables from your vehicle – do not put them in the glove box or in the boot as the offenders may be watching, hence the rear windscreens being smashed."

– Laura Jackson, Police Community Support Officer

21-year-old arrested following house fire in Carlisle

Credit: ITV Border

Police have arrested a man in connection with a house fire in Carlisle.

Fire and Rescue Services were called to a property on Thomas Street at around 5am this morning.

One of the occupants at the address suffered minor injuries.

Following a joint investigation with the fire service, a 21-year-old man from Carlisle has been arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life.

He is currently helping police with their enquiries.


Windermere opens to learner rowers

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Cumbrians can learn to row on Windermere for the first time thanks to a new British Rowing-affiliated course.

The Learn to Row courses introduces people to the sport in crews of 4, with learn-to rowers of all ages.

Lakeland Rowing Club has raised £20,000 for two stable Swift quads, which 32 people will use as they begin learning to row over the next 5 weeks.

The work done over the past year has been really terrific from Lakeland Rowing Club.

The beautiful water in the Lake District has always shown much promise for rowing but has never until now taken off.

With the dedicated effort that Lakeland RC’s volunteers have been putting in to fund new equipment and up-skill volunteers with coaching qualifications, they will now be able to open up rowing to a larger audience on the lakes.”

– James Andrews, from British Rowing

Man jailed for six years over indecent child images

David Robinson Credit: Cumbria Constabulary

A former police employee from Carlisle has been sentenced to six years in prison for possessing and distributing indecent images of children.

David Robinson, of Waldegrave Road, was sentenced today (April 17) at Carlisle Crown Court after pleading guilty to 20 counts of possession and distribution.

The 46-year-old was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life, and received a lifetime Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).

Mr Robinson was arrested in October last year for his offences.

At the time of his arrest, he was employed by Cumbria Constabulary as a staff member on the front counter at Durranhill Police Station.

He was suspended immediately following it, and left the force in January 2015.

This prosecution reflects the serious nature of the images which Mr Robinson was viewing and distributing.

Images of this nature have been created via the suffering and abuse of children and they are criminal offences."

– Detective Inspector Doug Marshall
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