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River Avon body identified by police

Police have identified a man whose body was found in the River Avon at Evesham last month.

Officers were called to the Weir Meadow Caravan Park in Castle Street on Wednesday 19 February when a member of the public spotted a body in the river that had been caught up on a boat mooring.

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service sent a boat crew to recover the man, who appeared to have been in the water for some days.

West Mercia Police released a nationwide appeal for the public’s help to discover his identity, including releasing photos of his clothes.

It is a relief we have confirmed who this man is and his family can now start grieving for their loved one.

“I would like to thank those people from across the country who contacted us with information about who this gentleman may have been.”

– Detective Sergeant Craig Tennant, West Mercia police

During a police search of the river bank looking for further clues, a rucksack was found that belonged to a man in his 50s from Cheltenham. Using DNA technology it was confirmed he was the deceased man.

His next of kin have been informed and the Coroner for Worcestershire has been updated.


Police advice on how to avoid telephone scam

West Mercia Police are now linking three cases in the past 24 hours in which telephone callers have posed as police to trick elderly or vulnerable victims into revealing their bank details.

Your bank and the police will never contact you by phone to ask for this information. Victims should refuse to give any details and end the call immediately.

In addition a police officer calling at your door will carry a warrant card which shows their name, number and a photograph as well as the force they work for.

Genuine police officers will never ask for bank details over the telephone. One simple rule will prevent you from falling for this kind of con and that is to never give bank details to anyone who has called you.

– Spokesperson for West Mercia Police

Police warning of telephone fraud in Worcestershire

West Mercia Police have issued an urgent appeal to be aware of fraud involving bogus officers after a steady increase in incidents in Worcestershire.

Officers are now linking three cases in the past 24 hours in which telephone callers have posed as police to attempt to trick elderly or vulnerable victims into revealing their bank details.

Worcestershire NHS trust: surgeon 'excluded' after concerns raised about patient deaths

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has said it 'acted swiftly and responsibly' after becoming aware of 'potential problems' involving the deaths of patients cared for by a consultant surgeon.

West Mercia Police are looking into concerns about a number of patients who died while under the care of Sudip Sarker.

"The Trust would like to reassure patients and their relatives that as soon as it became aware there was a potential problem the Trust acted swiftly and responsibly to protect its patients.

"It alerted the Royal College of Surgeons in July 2012 and asked them to review his clinical practice.

"While the review was on-going the Trust put restrictions on the surgeon’s practice. He was excluded from the Trust in October 2012."

– Statement from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

Worcestershire NHS trust: 'co-operating fully' with police over patient deaths

A Worcestershire NHS trust has said it is co-operating fully with a police investigation into the deaths of a number of patients cared for by Sudip Sarker, a consultant surgeon who worked in the county.

"An expert multidisciplinary team has reviewed the medical records of all his patients who had undergone a major operation (eg for bowel cancer).

"Patients we were concerned about were recalled for further assessment and appropriate investigations.

"A separate review of all patients who had any contact with Mr Sarker (outpatient appointments or minor procedures) is being performed by a team of specialist external surgeons.

"Patients in this group who require further assessment/ investigation are also being invited back to the hospital."

– Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust


Surgeon investigated over Worcestershire patient deaths

West Mercia Police have described the case as a 'complex matter'. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Police have confirmed they have launched an investigation into the deaths of a number of patients cared for by consultant surgeon Sudip Sarker, while he was working in Worcestershire.

Mr Sarker was employed by the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

North Worcestershire Superintendent Kevin Purcell said the investigation began after officers received a letter in December last year.

He said: “We were made aware that there were a number of concerns in relation to the deaths of patients in 2012 who had been under Mr Sarker’s care.

"We are in the early stages of obtaining the relevant information from hospitals and other health organisations in order to conduct our investigation.

“We cannot be specific about numbers at this time but can confirm that the deaths of three patients whose joint inquest was adjourned in December (2013) form part of this inquiry.

"The families of those people have been informed and updated on the situation."

Over 2,000 cannabis plants in old Royal Mail office

More than 2,000 cannabis plants - worth more than £600,000 on the street - were discovered in a police raid on an old Royal Mail sorting office in Herefordshire.

Police today said it was the biggest cannabis factory ever discovered in the county.

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of producing the Class B drug.

Over 2,000 plants were found at various stages of development Credit: West Mercia Police

A total of 2,180 cannabis plants plus growing equipment were seized by the officers, who executed the warrant in Bromyard.

The raid was carried out after passers-by reported a strong smell of cannabis.

The old Royal Mail sorting office where the plants were being grown Credit: West Mercia Police

Police say it's 'only the tip of the iceberg' after drugs bust.

In terms of value, this is one of the biggest investigations West Mercia Police has ever conducted into the illegal drugs trade.

While we have seized approximately £10million worth of Class A and B drugs, we think it is only the tip of an iceberg. We believe the conspiracy has been responsible for hundreds of millions of pounds worth of drugs being smuggled into the UK.

We also have evidence that shows these drugs have been sold from the West Midlands region to organised criminal groups nationally who are dealing drugs across the country.

– Detective Chief Inspector Mark Loader, leads the West Mercia Serious and Organised Crime Unit.

Police drug smuggling operation success in Midlands

Officers from West Mercia Police have arrested ten people in an investigation into the smuggling of of drugs into the UK potentially worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

The arrests took place this morning across the West Midlands region and in the Netherlands.

Drugs seized by Police in Newent in July 2013. Credit: West Mercia Police

The suspects were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to import a Class A controlled drug and a Class B controlled drug.

The operation has been ongoing since November 2012 and during that time £10million of drugs have been seized.

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