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Mystery over suspected chemical incident at South Yorkshire call centre

Emergency services say they have not yet been able to determine what caused a mass outbreak of nausea at a call centre in Rotherham. South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue were called to offices at Brookfield's Park on Manvers Industrial Estate at around 7.50pm last night following reports of people suffering the effects of eye irritation and nausea.

Approximately 75 people were checked by paramedics at the scene. Fire and rescue officers entered the premises with equipment to monitor the air quality after the building had been evacuated but found no materials that could have been the cause.

Rotherham man jailed after £400,000 of drugs seized

A Rotherham man has been jailed for seven and a half years after admitting possession and supply of £400,000 worth of cocaine and heroin.

Shane McKay was jailed for seven and a half years Credit: South Yorkshire Police

34-year-old Shane McKay, of Woodland Drive, North Anston was jailed on Monday at Sheffield Crown Court after previously admitting to the offences.

Four kilos of cocaine and one kilo of heroin were seized from an address connected to McKay in February 2015.

Sergeant Denis Plaistow said: “Drugs destroy communities and the associated criminality is a blight on our town and the lives of our residents.

“Our work will continue to get those dealing drugs put behind bars to make our town safer.”


Head of review into South Yorkshire Police's handling of child sex abuse claims appointed

South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner has appointed the head of an independent review of the force's handling of reports of child sexual exploitation.

Dr Alan Billings has appointed Professor John Drew to lead the investigation which was announced last year, following the Alexis Jay and Louise Casey reports that highlighted the scale of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham and a BBC report that alleged child sexual exploitation in Sheffield had been ignored by South Yorkshire Police. He has commissioned the review to look at how the Force has handled reports of child sexual exploitation to ensure that everything that can be reasonably known about the past is known.

Led by Professor Drew, the report will establish whether South Yorkshire Police (together with its partners) has understood and acted upon the findings of reports and inspections into matters of child sexual exploitation. It will also look at whether the Force’s response to safeguarding children and young people has been adequate, not just in Rotherham but across the whole of South Yorkshire.

The review will start in September, following a period of scoping, and will last for three months. A report will be presented to the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner and will be made public early in 2016.

Body found in search for missing woman

A body has been found in the search for missing woman Cheryl Phillips. The discovery was made in a wooded area off Bradberrry Balk Lane in Wombwell, Barnsley, yesterday evening.

Cheryl Phillips

Police say that while formal identification is yet to take place, it is believed to be Mrs Phillips and her family have been informed. There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death. The forty-five year old was last seen in Wath-upon-Dearne on May 27th.

South Yorkshire PCC promotes restorative justice campaign

South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner is raising awareness of the force's restorative justice programme.

South Yorkshire PCC, Alan Billings

Doctor Alan Billings, is promoting the scheme which offers victims of crime the chance to meet the criminal who offended against them to get answers and move on from the experience.

Police concerned for welfare of missing Rotherham woman

Police officers are growing inreasingly concerned for the welfare of a missing woman from Rotherham.

Missing Cheryl Philips Credit: South Yorkshire Police

Cheryl Philips who is 45-years-old was last seen on Wednesday May 27, at around 10am on Co-Operative Street in Wath-upon-Dearne. She is described as having red/brown shoulder length hair and is of slim build.

Police have said extensive enquiries have been conducted and appeals have been issued to try to find her.


Tata Steel workers to strike in Scunthorpe and Rotherham

Workers at Tata Steel have voted by almost 9-1 to go on strike in a row over pensions, threatening the first national walkout, which will include sites in Scunthorpe and Rotherham, in the industry for more than 30 years.

Credit: Press Association

Members of the Community union backed strikes by 88% and other forms of action by 96% in a turnout of 76% - all well above new thresholds for union ballots being planned by the Government.

Unions are protesting against plans to close the British Steel Pension Scheme to future accrual, which they say could see workers retiring at 65 instead of 60.

The company has warned that its pension scheme is heading for a huge shortfall of £2 billion.

We stand on the brink of the first national strike in the steel industry for over 30 years. This is not where we wanted to be but Tata now has an opportunity to end this dispute by removing the threat of scheme closure and discussing alternative measures to resolve the challenges faced by the scheme, something the unions have been prepared to do since November last year. Throughout those discussions, the company said it needed to address a deficit of just under £1 billion and the unions were prepared to look at measures that would have wiped that out, without closing the scheme. Community's members at Tata Steel have now spoken loud and clear. Steelworkers are determined to stand up to Tata. They have not been fooled by the company's propaganda. They have voted overwhelmingly for their pensions, their families and their futures. The company should heed this message and return to meaningful discussions with the unions in line with Tata's values of responsibility and integrity. Through Community's network of Tata Steel union representatives, we will begin to consult our members on the kind of action that they want to take. Any action we do take will aim to cause maximum disruption to the company with minimum pain for our members. We hope this can be avoided if Tata return to the negotiating table with new proposals.

– Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of Community

Members of Community's executive will meet on Monday to discuss the next move.

Before the ballot result was announced, chief executive of Tata Steel's European operations Karl Koehler sent an open letter to workers urging them not to support industrial action.

Our actions have been aimed at developing an affordable and sustainable pension scheme through changes that are fair and balanced for all those who work for us, from the younger generation to our longer-serving team members who have given most of their lives to the UK steel industry. The past few years have seen the UK, and most of the world, go through the worst financial crisis for generations. One of the consequences has been record low interest rates. And like savings in the bank, our pension scheme's assets have not been growing fast enough to keep up with increases in the expected cost of providing benefits. The result has been a huge shortfall of up to £2 billion, which is clearly not sustainable. The changes we've proposed to our UK pension scheme will help protect the benefits colleagues have already earned. They will also, crucially, ensure a good pension for our people in the future which is both affordable and sustainable. Of course we looked at keeping the final salary scheme running, a scheme which by today's standards is a very generous package. Indeed, we initially proposed reasonable measures to the unions that would have addressed the huge shortfall while also being fair and balanced to all colleagues across the age range. Sadly, this was rejected by the trade unions. The unions continue to insist on keeping unaffordable early retirement enhancements in the pension scheme which would favour our older colleagues - but would be to the detriment of younger members of the team. I believe the unions' proposals would be unfair and unbalanced. Because of this, we have been unable to agree on a way forward. But we have always said we are open to talks and further negotiations with the unions and that continues to be the case.

– Tata Steel's European operations Karl Koehler

More than 6,000 Community members were balloted.

Woman from Rotherham goes missing

Police in Rotherham are asking for your help locating 45-year-old Cheryl Phillips from the Wath-upon-Dearne area of the town.

Cheryl Phillips Credit: South Yorkshire Police

Cheryl was last seen on Wednesday at around 10am, in Co-operative Street, Wath-upon-Dearne.

Cheryl is described as having red/brown shoulder length hair and is of slim build.

Family and friends are growing increasingly concerned for Cheryl's welfare.

If you see Cheryl, please contact South Yorkshire Police.

Cheryl Phillips Credit: South Yorkshire Police

Twelfth arrest in sexual exploitation investigation

A man has been arrested in connection with an ongoing investigation into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

The man, 32, was arrested today in the Rotherham area on suspicion of child sexual exploitation offences involving two girls under 16 between 1999 and 2003.

He is currently in police custody being questioned by detectives.

He is the twelfth man to be arrested as part of Operation Clover, an investigation into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1990 and 2003.

South Yorkshire Police say anyone with any concerns about abuse should contact them.

Women and children seriously injured in crash near Rotherham

Two children have been seriously injured and a 39-year-old woman has sustained life-threatening injuries following a collision in Swinton, near Rotherham earlier today.

At around 2.50pm, it is reported that a black Vauxhall Antara and four pedestrians were involved in a collision in Bridge Street, Swinton, close to the junction with Dun Street.

A 39-year-old woman was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries where she remains in a critical condition.

Two children, a five-year-old boy and a four-year-old girl, were taken to hospital with serious injuries.

A seven-year-old boy also sustained minor injuries.

A 42-year-old woman has been arrested in connection with the incident and bailed pending further enquiries.

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