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Careful of 'free trials' warns council

"If something looks too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. A free trial could end up costing you a lot of money.” Credit: PA

People in Cumbrian are being urged to be avoid ‘free’ trials of goods after some people have been charged up to £95 a month for “free” products.

Shoppers are invited to sign up for a free trial of a product where they’ll pay around £5 for postage and packing. But unless the trial is cancelled within 14 days, monthly payments may be made automatically which could be anything up to £95 a month.

Cumbria County Council’s Trading Standards team is urging shoppers to read the terms and conditions when signing up for a supposed ‘free' trial.

If people are worried they’ve been targeted by this type of scam, they should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506.

"This typically happens on the internet. It’s a widespread problem. The scams involve all kinds of products including anti-ageing miracle creams and serums, health supplements and slimming aids. They’re different products, but all the scams are virtually all the same.

When the product arrives the paperwork contains the small print or terms and conditions. This type of scam is operating on a wide scale and the companies doing this are often based abroad, some as far away as the USA. Consumers should be on their guard; if it mentions repeat billing and it’s a free trial that requires you to cancel then it’s probably a scam.

If something looks too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. A free trial could end up costing you a lot of money.”

– Councillor John McCreesh, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for Trading Standards

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Computers accessed in new phone scam

Cumbria Police are advising people to be wary of suspicious telephone calls Credit: PA

People are being warned again bogus telephone calls from people claiming they are from Talk Talk, in order to gain access to computers.

Cumbria Police say they had a complaint from a member of the public, from the Carlisle area, who received a telephone call from people claiming to be from Talk Talk.

During the call they were advised that there was a virus on their personal computer and were then talked through how to allow the caller to have remote access to the computer. They were then asked for their bank details in order to receive a rebate.

In scams such as these sometimes money is asked for, but not always. Either way, once people have access to your computer they can find passwords and bank details.

“I would urge people across Cumbria to be wary of this type of call. These people can be very convincing, particularly to those who may not know a lot about computers.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind people that they should be cautious of anyone who makes contact with them – whether it is in relation to computers, financial accounts, charities, or offers to buy/sell. Don’t allow anyone you don’t trust access to your personal information or your computer.

My advice is to shut down, hang up, or close the door, to anyone you do not know. It isn’t rude – it is a sensible way to keep safe."

– Community Safety Officer for North Cumbria, Claire Stevens

Anyone who has any concerns or would like further advice can contact their local Neighbourhood Policing Team or visit www.actionfraud.org.uk

'It was quicker to drive to Carlisle'

Scruffy Dog Media in Cleator Moor is one company that's just been connected to superfast broadband. Credit: ITV Border

Connecting Cumbria - a partnership between Cumbria County Council and BT - is celebrating getting 50,000 homes and businesses online with super fast broadband in 12 months.

Scruffy Dog Media in Cleator Moor is one company that's just been connected to superfast broadband.

"It's so important for companies to have access to modern means of communication. For us it's a vital way of reaching our clients. Before we'd have to leave files uploading over night. Once it was quicker for me to drive to Carlisle than have some designs sent over the internet."

– Lorna Hardy of Scruffy Dog Media

To get superfast broadband when it's been installed, the customer has to order an upgrade and has access to a number of internet service providers.

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Proposed wind turbines to bring in £105,000

Airvolution say the 23 Mega Watt development will result in £105,000 a year in local community benefits. Credit: Frank May/DPA/Press Association Images

A new planning application has been submitted for a wind farm development near the Borders village Lauder.

London-based Airvolution Energy Limited want to erect seven turbines on agricultural land at Muircleugh Farm, two miles south west of Lauder. The company previously withdrew an application to put up six turbines at Muircleuch.

After a fresh look at the site, they have come up with a re-sign that involves seven turbines reaching a height of 110 metres.

Airvolution say the 23 Mega Watt development will result in £105,000 a year in local community benefits. Planners at Scottish Borders Council will consider the application within the next few months.

Broadband project wants 93% online by end of 2015

The scheme hopes that by the end of 2015 93 % of the homes and businesses will have access to super fast fibre optic broadband. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A scheme to get rural areas connected to super fast broadband in Cumbria is celebrating getting 50,000 homes and businesses online in 12 months. Connecting Cumbria - a partnership between Cumbria County Council and BT - is spending £51 million pounds on rural connectivity.

The project is there to fill in the gaps that BT's national Open Reach rollout won't reach.

At the end of next year, it's hoped that 93% of the 251,000 homes and businesses will have access to super fast fibre optic broadband. But it will mean that 7% or nearly 20,000 homes and business will still be without access to super fast broadband.

Cumbria County Council say that they are currently negotiating funding for a phase 2 part of the Connecting Cumbria project that would see another 5% of households in the county with access to high speed broadband. It's a scheme that could take an additional 18 months to complete.

Councillor David Southward, Cumbria County Council's Cabinet member responsible for economic development and the lead member for Connecting Cumbria and ERDF funding, said:

"All the hard work is paying off, with thousands upon thousands of households and businesses now being given the opportunity to upgrade their broadband to a faster fibre service that wouldn't have been there without the work of Connecting Cumbria. For some, the 'old' service has been sufficient and they haven't felt the need to upgrade so far, but this work in building a new fibre network is helping to future proof the county's needs so that the capacity is there as demand increases. Many people are finding that they can upgrade to fibre for little or no extra cost, and I'd urge everyone to shop around and get the best deals rather than paying over the odds for a slower service."

– Councillor David Southward Cumbria County Council's Cabinet

Connecting Cumbria celebrates first year

93% of Cumbrian houses should have broadband by the end of next year Credit: ITV Border

Cumbria is celebrating its first year since introducing high speed internet to the county.

The project Connecting Cumbria switched on the service at the village of Yanwath near Penrith last year.

The project hopes 93 percent of Cumbrian houses will have access to the service by the end of 2015.

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