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MP urges Government to secure Kellingley's "long-term future"

Yvette Cooper MP
Yvette Cooper MP Credit: ITV Yorkshire

West Yorkshire MP Yvette Cooper has urged the Government to work towards securing the long-term future of Kellingley Colliery instead of planning for its closure.

"We need a long term future for Kellingley, not just a closure plan", said the Labour MP for Normanton, Pontefract & Castleford.

"The Government needs to act because we're running out of time. Hargreaves may have pulled out of the deal, however we know that other investors are interested and Kellingley has increased production showing what a successful and profitable pit it can be.

"UK Coal and the Government need to work with all the investors and the workforce to get a new deal in place to keep the pit open for longer.

"Ministers said Government funding was available for the Hargreaves deal to close the pit in 2015. But being prepared to fund a closure plan isn't enough.

"They should be prepared to support a long term plan to keep Kellingley and Thoresby open too. That means looking at funding, but also working urgently with other investors and the workforce to build a long term plan.

"If they don't act fast it will be too late. Development work has already stopped and miners are being laid off - pushing up the costs of keeping the pit open and making it harder to get a new deal.

"UK Coal and the Government must not turn their backs when hundreds of local families are worried about the future and when men are already being laid off.”

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West Yorkshire man charged with string of sexual offences against children

A man has been charged with a number of sexual offences against children across West Yorkshire.

Samuel Smith, from Greek Street in Castleford is accused of six offences of sexually assaulting a young girl in the town - dating back to last month.

The 29-year-old has also been charged with sexual assault on a girl in the Leeds area in March and with making and possessing indecent images of children.

Police release cctv in hunt for Castleford sex attacker

CCTV of man police believe could have vital information about sex assaults in Castleford
CCTV of man police believe could have vital information about sex assaults in Castleford Credit: West Yorkshire Police

Police investigating three sexual assaults against young girls in Castleford have released CCTV of a man they believe could hold vital information.

The footage was taken from outside a corner shop at the junction of Smawthorne Grove and Willow Road on Saturday, May 31at 5.36pm and shows a middle aged white male with short hair who was wearing light grey coloured trousers and a dark blue T-shirt.

Detective Inspector Mark Catney, from Wakefield District CID, said: "We know the two victims were at the corner shop around the same time and I believe this man may have seen the two children shortly before the assaults took place on Saturday evening.

"I would ask him to come forward as he may hold vital information which could assist the investigation. I would also ask anyone who recognises the man to contact police."

Around 90 minutes later two local girls aged 5 and 6 were sexually assaulted as they played on an area of wasteland at the back of Garden Street.

A second incident occurred the following day, Sunday , June 1, between 1.20pm - 3.20pm when two girls aged 6 and 7 were playing in a park off Barnes Road in Castleford. They were approached by an unknown male walking a dog who engaged them in conversation before assaulting the 6-year-old.

A 27-year-old man, who was arrested on Sunday evening, has been released on police bail.

The suspect is described as a white male aged 25 to 35 years of age with light coloured short hair.

DI Catney added: "The response we have received from local residents has been really encouraging and I would like to thank them for their support while the investigation continues to progress.

"In the meantime, specially trained officers are continuing to support the families of the victims and neighbourhood officers have increased patrols across the area and are visiting local schools to promote safety messages around children not talking to strangers."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Wakefield District CID via: 101 and quoting reference number 1101 from June 1st.

Police appeal after three young girls sexually assaulted in Castleford

Police are appealing for witnesses after three young girls were sexually assaulted in Castleford. Two girls , aged 5 and 6, were assaulted on Saturday evening (May 31, 2014) while playing on wasteland at the back of Garden Street.

Then on Sunday afternoon between 1.20pm and 3.20pm, a 6-year-old and a 7-year-old were playing in the park off Barnes Road in the Half Acres area of Castleford when they were approached by a man walking a dog.

He started a conversation with the girls before assaulting the youngest one who was then able to run home.

"Following enquires, officers arrested a 27-year-old local man who remains in custody. The suspect is described as a white male aged 25 to 35 years of age with light coloured short hair. I would take this opportunity to reassure local people that these are unusual and rare incidents to occur in the half Acres area of Castleford. This is a close knit community who support each other who have good links with the local neighbourhood policing team and is a safe area to live."

– Detective Inspector Mark Catney, West Yorkshire Police

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Travellers moved on after complaints

A group of travellers who set up an illegal encampment in Allerton Bywater near Castledford has been forced to move following joint action by the police and council.

Ten families in caravans set up camp on private land off Barnsdale Road on April 30, leading to a number of complaints to the council and police about noise and anti-social behaviour.

Inspector Stuart Mason, of the Leeds District Outer East team, said the travellers had left without incident.

The use of these powers is generally a last resort when all other attempts to address an illegal encampment have been exhausted. The serious issues arising from this illegal encampment and the number of complaints we received created exceptional circumstances.

– Inspector Stuart Mason, West Yorkshire Police

Police appeal for witnesses to Castleford armed robbery

Police are appealing for witnesses to an armed robbery at a convenience store in Castleford. It happened around 10.45pm on Thursday May 1, 2014 at Willowbridge Lane when three men went robbed a shop.

Two men jumped over the counter, while the third man armed with a knife threatened staff. The men, who had their faces covered, but were believed to be white, escaped in a dark coloured Volkswagen Golf with several thousand pounds worth of cigarettes.

"This experience has understandably left the staff members involved traumatised and we are doing all we can to trace those involved. I would urge anyone who was in the area around the time of this offence who saw anything suspicious to call Wakefield CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 101"

– Detective Constable James Eve, West Yorkshire Police.
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