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An inspirational story for anyone thinking of going into business

Francesca Cassinelli started out as a beauty-shop assistant at 13, but now she's running the place all by herself after paying her way through college.

She's gone from floor sweeper to businesswoman in seven short years.

Francesca, from Stockport, started at the salon when she did work experience, and when the owners left, she saw her chance and bought the business.

Francessca has plans to expand her business and open up more salons - and she has a few words of advice for any other aspiring entrepreneurs.

Tim Scott reports:

Arsonists torch cars in Stockport

Arson attack caught on camera Credit: MEN Syndication

Police are hunting arsonists who caused £16,000 damage after torching four cars in an early hours rampage. An Audi A3, Volkswagen Jetta, Seat Ibiza and a Citroen Nemo were set on fire in two Stockport streets yesterday morning.

Residents were woken up by ‘huge whooshing sounds’ after thugs doused the vehicles in lighter fluid or petrol before setting them ablaze.

Police believe two or three people were behind the 2am attacks. And residents in the Hazel Grove suburb described how they sprang out of their beds in a bid to douse the flames.

Police are calling for anyone with any information to contact them.

Damage caused by arson attacks Credit: MEN Syndication


Teacher jailed over sexual relationship with pupil

A teacher carried on a sexual relationship with a pupil despite his suspension by education bosses, a court has heard.

Colleagues of Richard Jones, 57, passed on their concerns to the authorities about his "improper" behaviour but the abuse of the vulnerable teenager continued.

Richard Jones, 57 Credit: Manchester Evening News

His crimes were uncovered last summer when the girl's family discovered sexually graphic email exchanges between the pair.

Richard Jones, from Stockport, was arrested and later charged with a number of sexual offences.

The investigation led to another child victim coming forward who said Jones had sexually abused her in the 1970s.

Jones was today jailed for a total of eight years after he admitted a string of sexual offences against both victims.

The judge said Jones was "extremely fortunate" that his wife, who was in court, and their children were standing by him and continued to support him.

He will be on the Sex Offenders Register for life and is also banned from working with children.

Nurse's book opens window on the past

Black and white family photo of nurse Mary Hicks with her four young sons all in shirts and ties
Stepping Hill Nurse Mary Hicks with her four sons Credit: ITV Granada

A book of sketches and poems collected by a nurse at Stockport's Stepping Hill Hospital during the First World War has been discovered.

Mary Hicks began the 'autograph book' in 1906 but most of the entries are from wounded soldiers she cared for, when the site became a military hospital in 1914.

Sketches by soldiers in nurses book
Soldiers sketches from Mary Hicks autograph book Credit: ITV Granada

The book was discovered in a second hand store in Cornwall and hospital staff turned detective to find the nurses relatives.

Sketch of Nurse Hicks caring for injured soldier
Sketch of Nurse Hicks caring for injured soldier Credit: ITV Granada

Nurse Hicks' granddaughter Sally-Anne Bromley was living just four miles away in Cheshire.

'I'm thrilled this is a new chapter in our family history. It is clear from the book her patients must have found her caring and great company to write so many messages. We are overwhelmed to read it.'

Picture of orderly man overworked and juggling jobs at the hospital
A Sketch of an 'Orderly' at Stepping Hill Hospital Credit: ITV Granada


Seven arrested during police raids in Stockport

Today's raids by Greater Manchester Police. Credit: Greater Manchester Police

Seven people have been arrested following a series of dawn raids in Stockport targeting a suspected gang of violent criminals.

Police struck at addresses in the Brinnington area following a string of violent "home invasions and assaults", during which homeowners were either threatened or attacked.

Police were targeting a suspected gang of violent criminals. Credit: Greater Manchester Police

Seven men were arrested on suspicion of assault and aggravated burglary.

They remain in police custody for questioning.

Detective Sergeant Matt Tarr said: "We believe the gang responsible for these violent attacks and home invasions are involved in an extensive criminal web that involves drugs, weapons and burglaries.

"That is why we have taken this action today and arrested seven people on suspicion of robbery.

Seven men were arrested on suspicion of assault and aggravated burglary. Credit: Greater Manchester Police

"We know that residents want us to take a tough stand against those involved in the supply of drugs and other criminality that destroys the fabric of the communities we serve.

"I hope today sends a message to the community, including the criminal fraternity, that we will not allow people to be terrorised in their own homes and we will be coming for anyone who is involved."

Anyone who has information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The raids took place in the Brinnington area. Credit: Greater Manchester Police

Landmark victory after flight delay for Stockport man

An airline passenger is celebrating a landmark legal victory which could open the floodgates for thousands of travellers hit by delays due to technical problems with planes. Ron Huzar, from Stockport, endured a 27-hour flight delay with Jet 2 from Malaga to Manchester Airport in 2011.

He has won a judgement at the Court of Appeal following a long legal battle.His compensation claim against Jet2 was turned down at Stockport County Court,but he successfully appealed at Manchester County Court.

Pensioner tied up and beaten - for £40

Police are hunting four men who tied up a 77-year-old man in his own home in Stockport and assaulted him with a crowbar.

The offenders threatened to kill the victim unless he gave them money and jewellery, before leaving him tied up for almost an hour as they ransacked the house looking for valuables.

They ran off with just £40.

The incident happened at around 10.30pm yesterday.

Four men broke into the victim’s house on Bramhall Lane South, Stockport, and bound his hands and feet with duct tape.

They placed a pillow over the victim’s face and subjected him to a brutal assault, punching him in the face until he lost teeth and suffered eye injuries, before beating him on the body with a crowbar.

Detective Constable Joseph Trippett said: “This was an utterly terrifying ordeal for the victim, who was left tied up and wounded on his bed as the four men trashed his house looking for valuables.

“They subjected him to a vicious assault that left him requiring hospital treatment and means he is scared to be alone in his own home.

“The injuries were so appalling that the victim’s son required medical attention for shock.

“The fact these men were willing to subject this vulnerable old man to such horrific treatment for the sake of just £40 demonstrates how important it is that we bring them to justice.

“If you saw anything that may assist our enquiries, particularly if it is a physical description of the offenders, or have any information as to the identity of the men involved please contact Police.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Girl sexually assaulted while roller skating in Stockport

Police are hunting a man who sexually assaulted a nine-year-old girl.

The youngster was assaulted as she was roller skating down an alleyway off Harcourt Street in north Reddish, Stockport, at about 4pm on June 11.

She ran off screaming towards Gorton Road and then onto a friend's house, from where the police were called.

Her attacker is described as being white, of a slim build, about 5ft 10in tall with short hair. He was wearing a red hooded top with white draw strings and a white zip.

This is a truly sickening and appalling act committed against such a young girl.

"To target anyone and sexually assault them is a cowardly and malicious thing to do, but to attack a girl as young as nine is truly loathsome and clearly we are dealing with an offender with no conscience or scruples.

– Detective Constable Malcolm Such

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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