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Duns family in hospital after chimney fire

Four members of a family have been taken to hospital suffering from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning after a chimney fire at their home in the Scottish Borders.

Firefighters were called to the property in Preston, Duns, at around 6pm last night (11th September).

They found a blockage in the chimney, which caused the fire and allowed carbon monoxide fumes to enter the house.

A man, women, and two children, were taken to the Borders General Hospital in Melrose, suffering from the possible side effects of gas poisoning.

New million pound fish facility unveiled in Duns

Borders MP Michael Moore has been in Duns for the unveiling of a new million pound salmon production facility.

£1.2 million has been invested into the Farne Salmon facility, which has also gone towards creating 32 new jobs in the local area.

“It was great to be able to open the new facility today and see firsthand the expertise and innovation of the team at Farne Salmon.

"It’s fantastic news for the local economy that 32 jobs have been created as a result of this investment which just goes to show how businesses like Farne Salmon are thriving.

"I want to congratulate everyone at the company for all their hard work in making this happen and wish them every success for the future.”

– Michael Moore, MP

Farne Salmon employs over 600 people and is the largest private sector employer in the Scottish Borders.

“This is a major investment for our business...

"Over the last thirty years Farne Salmon has grown from strength to strength and now employs over 600 people providing valuable income that goes back into the local community.

"Our success can be attributed to our people who are passionate about creating high quality, innovative fish products for all our customers.”

– Craig Walker, Chief Executive of Labeyrie Fine Foods UK, the parent company of Farne

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Serial drink driver sent to jail

A man who clocked up multiple drink-driving convictions has been jailed for nine months.

52-year-old Mark Reay appeared at Selkirk Sheriff Court today.

He had previously been found guilty of his latest offence of driving while in excess of the legal limit at a trial at Duns Sheriff Court, where his sentence was deferred for background reports.

Sheriff Kevin Drummond told the self-employed plumber from Coldstream that he had no alternative but to impose jail time.

In addition, Reay was banned from driving for 12 years and a motion from the Crown to forfeit the van he had been driving was granted.

MP's anger as Christine Grahame votes to close Border courts

Tweeddale MP David Mundell has expressed his disappointment and anger that SNP MSPs have pushed through plans that will close Peebles Sheriff Court.

Tweeddale member Christine Grahame, the Justice committee convener, was one of the MSP's who backed the closure plans.

"Peebles and its court have been let down by their local MSP. I am deeply disappointed that Christine Grahame wasn’t able to stand up to her SNP whips and make sure that the MSPs got their say.

"Local people have been badly let down by democracy and I am quite certain that local justice will suffer as a consequence of this decision.

“The SNP members today had a chance to stand up for their communities, but instead took the cowardly way out to ensure they didn’t upset Alex Salmond.

"This is a damaging decision, and one that we will soon see is a mistake."

– Tweeddale MP David Mundell

Borders MSP defends court closures

A local MSP has defended a decision to close a number of sheriff courts in Scotland, including Peebles and Duns, saying she "could not argue" against the arguments put forward by Scotland's most senior judge, Lord Gill to support their closure.

SNP MSP Christine Grahame says the closures do not mean users of the justice system in the Borders will receive a poorer service.

She said:

In the Lord Gill’s view the current network of sheriff courts is not fit for purpose and I could not argue against his sensible testimony to the committee. After all throughout his distinguished legal career Lord Gill has worked his way up from grass roots level and knows the system inside out. It was the intellectual case rather than the financial one which won the day.

– Christine Grahame MSP, Midlothian South Tweeddale & Lauderdale

Courts closures a "damaging decision" says Borders MSP

“The SNP members today had a chance to stand up for their communities, but instead took the cowardly way out to ensure they didn’t upset Alex Salmond.

“This is a damaging decision, and one that we will soon see is a mistake.

“Courts already over-burdened with work will have to take on even more cases, and that will risk lengthy delays to sensitive and significant cases.

“Witnesses and victims who find themselves involved in the justice system through no fault of their own will also be inconvenienced by longer and more awkward journeys.

“This decision proves the Scottish Government isn’t serious about crime, and is yet more evidence of its soft-touch agenda.”

– John Lamont MSP, Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire

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Jim Hume MSP condemns court closures

Jim Hume MSP with a small sample of the letters of objection from constituents Credit: Scottish Parliament

Jim Hume, Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP for South Scotland, has condemned the decision by SNP members of the Scottish Parliament’s justice committee not to close Peebles and Duns Sheriff Courts.

Mr Hume received 400 signatures in one week on his petition against the closures.

Mr Hume said:

“Today was the last chance to save Peebles and Duns courts, but SNP members on the committee have ignored the massive public opposition to these fundamental changes to our justice system.”

Local sheriff courts await decision

Campaigners protesting last month Credit: ITV News Border

MSPs on the Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee will vote today on plans to close local courts across Scotland.

The sheriff courts in Peebles, Duns and Kirkudbright are all under threat after Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill backed Scottish Court Service recommendations.

Opposition leaders have written an open letter to the Justice Committee, asking its members to support a motion to annul the proposals and 'stand up for local services, jobs, businesses and proper access to justice'.

The SNP holds a majority on the Justice Committee, with five MSPs to four from opposition parties.

Borders firm fined almost £100k for environmental crime

A Scottish Borders firm has been fined almost £100,000 for illegally keeping waste.

The Duns based company, David Cochrane (Duns) Limited, is the first in Scotland to be given a Confiscation Order under the Proceeds of Crime Act for an environmental crime.

The company was fined £53,000 at Duns Sheriff Court today (5th June), in addition to the £41,131 Confiscation Order under the Proceeds of Crime Act which had been made against the company on 8th May.

David Cochrane (Duns) Limited pled guilty to depositing controlled waste, namely mixed waste metals, liquid, tyres and batteries on land at Station Road, Duns, and failing to remove a quantity of waste as required by a notice served by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

“David Cochrane (Duns) Limited had a significant amount of time in which to comply with the legislative requirements and had several options as to how this could be achieved.

SEPA has tried to work with them for many years, the deadline for compliance with the notice was agreed and yet the requirements were still not met.

"We want to make it very clear that SEPA will work with individuals and companies to ensure that they understand their environmental responsibilities.

"However, where the law is routinely broken or ignored we will not shy away from taking appropriate enforcement action."

– Karen Ellis, Investigating Officer, SEPA

“This case demonstrates that environmental crime is taken seriously in Scotland.

"SEPA, along with our partners in the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service, Police Scotland and Scottish Government, is working hard to ensure that no-one profits from breaking regulations that are designed to protect and improve the environment for the whole country.

“The Scottish Government’s Environmental Crime Taskforce, which I chair, has been looking into the use of the Proceeds of Crime Act in cases like this one and I’m pleased that a SEPA investigation has led to the first Confiscation Order for an environmental crime in Scotland.

"I hope this will send out the strongest possible message to those who routinely choose to operate illegally – we are watching you and we will make sure that crime does not pay.”

– Calum MacDonald, Executive Director, SEPA
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