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Two teenagers charged with wilful fireraising in Peebles

Credit: Press Association

Police in the Scottish Borders have charged two teenage boys following an act of wilful fireraising in Peebles.

At around 1.30pm on Saturday cardboard and other combustible materials were set alight in the Alexander Lucas Stand at Whitestone Park.

"This was an extremely disrespectful act which risked the safety of everyone within the grounds.

"I want to thank the public for their support during our enquiries and reassure the local community that behaviour such as this will not be tolerated."

– PC Barry Taylor of Peebles

“Deliberately set fires are dangerous; they waste time and money, and keep our crews away from real emergencies.

“Those who start these fires deliberately are not only wasting time and resources, they must remember it could be someone they know who may be in serious danger elsewhere, but firefighters have been delayed due to their actions.

“Whether the reason for starting fires deliberately is boredom, bravado or wanting to see the fire engine go past with its lights on, it doesn’t matter, their actions could ultimately put lives in danger."

– David Farries, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

The 13 and 14-year-old will be reported to the Children's Reporter.


Cyclists urged to protect their bikes from thieves

Credit: Press Association

Cumbria Police are encouraging cyclists to protect their bikes from thieves.

Officers are holding two bicycle security marking events later this month in South Lakeland.

The events will see bikes marked with a RetainaGuard product to enable stolen bikes to be returned to their owners. The bikes will be marked with a unique code and contact number, which is stored on the ISR database.

The kit, which costs £3, also includes six tamper-proof stickers and an International ISR card.

“In the first instance we’d ask bike owners to make sure their property is secure. Make sure bikes are kept somewhere safe and secure (e.g. chained to a ground anchor within a shed) . Don’t make it easy for thieves.

“Unfortunately, these crimes still do happen because bikes can be of high value and easy for criminals to sell on. Marking is a good step to deterring the thieves, but also means that should your bike be stolen it can be identified as yours wherever it may be found.”

– PCSO Emma Forrester, Cumbria Police

The events will be held on:

Saturday 23rd January, 10am-1pm, Coniston Sports and Social Centre, Shepherds Bridge Lane, Coniston LA21 8AL

Sunday 24th January, 10am-12noon, Hawkshead Esthwaite Primary School, Main Street, Hawkshead LA22 0NT

Carlisle drug dealers jailed

Adam Oakley and Craig Corner Credit: Cumbria Police

Two men have been jailed for dealing drugs in Carlisle with a street value of £250,000.

Adam Oakley, 30, of Raven Street, Carlisle, was sentenced to ten years and Craig Corner, 41, of Quinton Gardens in the city, caged for four years for possession with intent to supply and conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs.

The duo were sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court today.

Their sentences are part of Operation Cornflake, which saw police recover cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis with a street value of quarter of a million pounds.

Oakley and Corner both pleaded guilty at Carlisle Crown Court in July 2015.

“This was a small, yet organised, consortium whose sole intention was to sell significant amounts of cocaine and other drugs in Carlisle.

“One of Cumbria Constabulary’s priorities is to target those who pose the greatest risk to our communities and we will continue to take them off the streets and bring them to justice.

“Craig Corner’s role was to travel to Liverpool and convey the drugs back to Carlisle, his sentence should act as a deterrent to others who may be asked to undertake such a journey.

“Adam Oakley’s role was far more serious, he was caught red-handed mixing cocaine with adulterants to substantially increase its value.

“The courts have handed down sentences that reflect the damage these individuals are doing to society and show it won’t be tolerated.

“This should serve as a warning to others involved in this type of serious criminality and who are damaging our communities, at some point in the future, you will be put in front of the courts to answer for what you are doing.”

– Temporary Detective Superintendent Paul Duhig

CPS welcomes Flass House drugs conspiracy convictions

Flass House. Credit: ITV News

The Crown Prosecution Service has welcomed the conviction of three men, who were involved in a major drugs conspiracy centred on a stately home in the Eden Valley.

Dean Cameron, 53, Philip Branigan, 32, and Charles Neophytou, 47, denied playing roles in a plot based at the Grade II-listed Flass mansion in Maulds Meaburn, near Penrith.

A cannabis farm with a street value of around £5m was discovered there.

But all three were found guilty at Carlisle Crown Court of conspiracy to supply cannabis between May 2011 and May 2012.

Five other gang members, including the owner of the house, had pleaded guilty at earlier hearings:

  • David Lawrence pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B
  • Philip Branigan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B
  • Charles Neophytou pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B
  • Dean Cameron pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B
  • Lee Banks pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B and possession of Class B with intent to supply
  • Paul Whelan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B and possession of cannabis
  • Mark Gallagher pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B, offering to supply class B, possession of Class B with intent to supply, fraudulent evasion of the prohibition on the importation of Class C and abstracting electricity
  • Paul Davies pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B

Today the final members of this organised drugs gang have been found guilty of their involvement in an extremely large cannabis farm in a quiet village in the heart of Cumbria.

This was a professional set up, whereby cannabis was being grown in at least 10 rooms in the house. A large diesel generator was bought in to power the electricity needed to maintain the plants in order to avoid unusually high utility bills.

The owner of the house, Paul Davies, was paid handsomely for renting it out to the other gang members specifically for the purpose of growing cannabis.

The CPS and Police are dedicated to bringing to justice those involved in producing and supplying drugs and will continue to work together using the proceeds of crime act to trace and recover any profits they have made from this illicit enterprise.”

– Isla Chilton, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West


Trio convicted over stately home drugs conspiracy

Three men have been convicted of being involved in a major drugs conspiracy which centred on a stately home in the Eden Valley.

Dean Cameron, 53, Philip Branigan, 32, and Charles Neophytou, 47, denied playing roles in a plot based at the Grade II-listed Flass mansion in Maulds Meaburn, near Penrith.

Flass House, near Penrith Credit: ITV News Border

The offences took place over a 13-month period to May 2012. Police estimate an illegal cannabis bush with a street value of up to £5.2 million could have been produced during that time.

The three men were each found guilty by a jury in a trial that lasted nearly three weeks at Carlisle Crown Court.

Judge Paul Batty QC told the three men, all from addresses outside of Cumbria, that it was "inevitable" that they will each serve considerable jail terms.

The three men have been remanded in custody and are due to be sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court in September. They will be sentenced alongside five other men, also from outside the county, who previously pleaded guilty to the same charge.

38 people charged over "Cash for Crash" offences

Cumbria Police have charged 38 people from across the county with "Cash for Crash" insurance fraud offences. Officers investigated numerous people for conspiring to defraud motor insurance companies for collisions that allegedly occurred in the county between 2010 and 2014.

Among the 38, Sarah Kidd, 33, from Carlisle, has been summoned to court for a connected offence of money laundering.

The investigation was a joint operation between Cumbria Police, the Motor Insurance Bureau and the Crown Prosecution Service.

All 38 people are expected appear before North Cumbria Magistrates Court on 28th July 2015 in connection with these offences.

Police investigate west Cumbria chicken carcass dumpings

Surviving cockerel, George Credit: Cumbria Police

Police are investigating the dumping of large numbers of chicken carcasses in west Cumbria.

Staff from Copeland Borough Council discovered disposals at Red Beck Road in Wath Brow and Bleach Green in Ennerdale Valley.

At the disposal site along Red Beck Road a lone surviving cockerel was found, captured and is currently being looked after by a member of Cumbria Constabulary.

Police say ‘George’, as he has been named, is doing well and will be adopted out once he fully recovers.

“The disposals are thought to have taken place very recently, possibly sometime last week. We are investigating to establish what exactly has happened.

"At the least this is an offence of fly-tipping and an environmental hazard, and at worst it potentially is a case of animal cruelty. I would urge anyone local to the area who may have any information to get in touch and help our investigation.”

– PCSO Alan Willison

Anyone with any information should call Cumbria Police on 101 and ask for PCSO Alan Willison, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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