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Warning over 'copycat' passport renewal websites

Trading Standards officers in Leicestershire are warning holidaymakers looking to renew passports about so-called 'copycat' websites, which charge extra fees.

Trading Standards officers are warning holiday makers over 'copycat' websites Credit: PA

Officers have been contacted by people who've ended up paying £50 on top of the renewal fee, just to have the application form checked.

People can easily be fooled, these websites work by charging a fee for forwarding consumers' details onto the correct authority, or for processing the application by posting you the information for you to apply directly.

Consumers need to be aware that these sites usually state that they are not official ones and they are charging for something that is available free or cheaper elsewhere.

However, we are receiving regular complaints from residents, who feel they have been misled by these websites and some banks are refusing to refund their account holders, who have used the unofficial sites.

– David Bull, head of the council's Trading Standards Service

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Birmingham given bottom 10 ranking for food hygiene

Birmingham was ranked in the bottom 10 of councils for food hygiene enforcement. Credit: PA Wire

Birmingham has been ranked in the bottom 10 local authorities in the UK for food hygiene enforcement.

The ranking was compiled by consumer group Which? using data submitted to the Food Standards Agency.

Meanwhile, Newark and Sherwood was the most improved local authority for food hygiene.

A survey also found 96% of people think it's important that local authorities ensure compliance with food hygiene rules.

Consumers expect local authorities to check that food businesses in their area comply with hygiene standards and rigorously enforce the rules.

Local authorities should do more to make the best use of limited resources, respond effectively to risks across the food supply chain and ensure consumers are adequately protected wherever they live.

– Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director

East Coast line privatisation could be delayed over competition fears

Plans to privatise the East Coast line may be delayed over fears of a lack of competition between train operators.

Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Archive

Inter City Railways Ltd, owned by Stagecoach and Virgin, is due to take over the franchise on March 1.

But sections of the route between Peterborough, Grantham and Lincoln overlap with East Midlands trains - already operated by Stagecoach.

The Competition and Markets Authority says this could lead to a reduced quality service and higher fares for passengers.

Stagecoach says they're working to address the issues raised and intends to run services from the beginning of March as planned.

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