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Man jailed for starting ferry blaze

A man who set fire to a North Sea ferry, off the coast of Yorkshire, while smoking cannabis in his cabin has been jailed for 11 years.

Convicted ship arsonist Boden Hughes Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Boden Hughes, 26, from Sunderland, had been drinking heavily on board the vessel when he set a pile of clothes alight after tossing a lighter onto them. Flames soon engulfed the room and smoke filled the corridor with panicked passengers being evacuated onto a higher deck.

Newcastle Crown Court was told crew members attempted to tackle the blaze after the alarm was raised but two fire extinguishers proved ineffectual.

They also struggled to remove Hughes from the room, who they found half naked on the floor, and when they did he began to fight with a friend who was also on board.

Ian Lawrie QC, prosecuting, said eventually the ship's sprinkler system kicked in and put the fire out, which ended up costing DFDS a total of £800,000.

Sentencing him to 11 years in jail, Judge James Goss QC said it was a "spectacular piece of recklessness" that carried the highest culpability.

"Panic was caused, passengers were injured and #800,000 losses were caused to the operator," he said.

"Fires on ships are even more dangerous than those on land, the escape routes are limited and the stability of the vessel can be affected by the use of water."

The blaze broke out aboard the DFDS ferry as it sailed between North Shields and Amsterdam in December.

In total 27 people required treatment for smoke inhalation and six people were airlifted from the vessel, including a pregnant woman.

The ferry, which was around 30 miles north east of Flamborough Head, near Scarborough, with a total of 946 passengers and 127 crew on board, was then diverted back to the North Shields terminal.

Christopher Morrison, defending, said Hughes was "extremely sorry, especially to those who were airlifted" as well as to the company and crew.

He had previously pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered and a charge of affray, after failing in an attempt to argue the court had no jurisdiction in his case because the incident took place at sea.

He received a nine year sentence for the ferry incident and two years for a separate conviction of conspiracy to steal railway cable.

200 warning notices issued to speeding drivers

Police in Sprotbrough have issued more than 200 warning notices to motorists advising them about the need to slow down in a built up area.

Over the last four months they have been conducting motoring checks on Spring Lane as part of an initiative to reduce speeding.

Two motorists were issued with fixed penalty notices which included a £100 fine and three penalty points on their driving license. One motorist was also detained for possession of drugs.

Residents had raised concerns with the local Safer Neighbourhood Team that the 30mph speed limit was being ignored by road users.

Responding to these concerns officers used hand held devices to check the speed of vehicles which travelled along Spring Lane in order to tackle the issue.

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Clampdown on illegal car parks

Illegal car parks in Leeds are being clamped down on as Leeds City Council takes action on firms who have failed to make the sites they use safe and secure.

Following a decision in March 2012, which saw the council approve 12 temporary long stay commuter car parks on cleared private land, firms running a number of car parks were given planning permission on the basis that a variety of improvements would be made such as landscaping, surfacing, clearly marked spaces, security lighting and signage.

Despite repeated written reminders from the council, West Register - who ran various car parks on Globe Road - failed to implement environmental improvements.

Although given over 18 months to complete the environmental improvements, including the Planning Inspector giving six months’ notice following an enforcement appeal, they still failed to do so.

It’s very disappointing that due to the failure of the organisations running these car parks to make sure they met reasonable obligation, they have to close.

"They’ve had plenty of time and reminders of what they need to do, yet still the work hasn’t been done.

"They’ve been continuing to operate as a profitable business, so they have no excuse for not making sure that the car parks are safe and pleasant for motorists to use and don’t blight the area.

"These were key factors when the planning decision was taken. Unfortunately, we have reached the point where prosecution is the only remaining option.”

– Cllr Peter Gruen, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, Planning and Personnel

It is important to remember that these car parks were only put in place as a temporary measure due to delays in developments at these sites as a result of the economic downturn.

“Although inconvenient for users, action had to be taken against these car parks otherwise it would be unfair on other car parking organisations that have complied with the rules and actually invested in their sites.

"It is also important that cark parks don’t just look like bomb sites if we’re serious about making our city attractive.

“There are plenty of alternative car parks for drivers including the city’s park & ride at Elland Road which has seen a steady increase in users since its opening which is expected to continue.”

– Cllr Richard Lewis, executive board member responsible for transport and the economy

Speed limit increased on Grimsby route

North East Lincolnshire Council has approved plans to raise the speed limit on the Grimsby stretch of Peaks Parkway from 30mph to 40mph.

Councillors unanimously supported a recommendation made by a Cabinet working group set up to look into the issue earlier this year following a petition signed by almost 2,000 people calling for an increase to the limit.

The change will be to the 30mph zone from the traffic lights at B&Q to the 50mph zone past the Weelsby Road junction and should be in place by the end of October.

In addition, members also agreed to keep the average speed cameras in place in the area, along with a scrutiny panel looking into the consistency of the use of speed cameras across the borough.

We believe the decision to increase the speed limit in this way not only addresses the needs of the local community, but also the needs of business and visitors to Grimsby and other parts of North East Lincolnshire.

“We are doing the right thing to change this policy, but I would also stress that while we have increased the speed limit to 40mph, members of the public need to drive accordingly.

"You have got what you wanted, but if you speed above the limit you will rightly get a ticket.”

– Cllr Chris Shaw, North East Lincs Council leader

Witness appeal after North Lincs double fatal

Police investigating a fatal collision between a Suzuki motorcycle and a John Deere tractor in Ulceby in North Lincolnshire on Wednesday 10 September are seeking further witnesses.

The incident, which happened at 7.20pm on the B1211 resulted in the death of the motorcyclist Richard Markham of Ulceby, and the pillion passenger Dale James, of Barrow Haven.

Officers would like to speak to anyone who saw the motorcycle being ridden prior to the collision and would particularly like to trace the occupants of a dark coloured possibly blue Jaguar motor car which came across the collision scene shortly after it occurred.

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Overturned lorry on A1 causing tailbacks

Overturned lorry on A1 Credit: ITV Calendar

On-street parking charges to be considered in Lincoln

On-street parking charges could be introduced in Lincoln as the council begins to introduce a new parking strategy for the city.

On-street parking charges to be considered in Lincoln Credit: Press Association

Currently parking in many areas of the city is free but the council believe this is reducing the money collected by council operated paid car parks.

Previous proposals to implement on-street car parking charges in Lincoln were rejected by the City Council Executive Committee in 2011.

The council believe the recent plans are more likely to be approved as the increased revenue could lead to the introduction of a park-and-ride scheme as well as two new multi-storey car parks.

The plans will be discussed at a council meeting on 22 September.

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