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Watch out for thieves this Christmas

Many people will visit the New Forest for a walk over the Christmas period in the hope that the fresh air will sweep away the excesses of food and drink they have enjoyed.

Police in the New Forest are warning motorists to be aware of opportunist thieves this Christmas following three recent thefts from cars in Burley.

The incidents occurred between Wednesday, December 10 and Wednesday, December 17.

During two of the incidents the victims had left their handbag in the footwell of their car and these were stolen.

Police are urging people to reduce the chance of becoming a victim of car crime by removing all valuables from their vehicle when leaving it unoccupied.

Many people know the risk of leaving valuables on display in their cars but do not consider the risk of hiding these items in boots, under seats or in glove boxes.

Most offences of theft from vehicle are opportunist.

If valuable possessions such as handbags, sat navs, mobile phones and cameras are left inside a vehicle, it is much more likely to be targeted by thieves.

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Christmas plea to use NHS services only if necessary

‘Tis the season to be jolly but try not to put extra strain on medical services this Christmas.

The advice comes from GP Dr Bob Bowes, who chairs NHS West Kent Commissioning Group (CCG), which plans and pays for the area’s health services.

Dr Bowes said: “The weekend just before Christmas, and in between Christmas and New Year, are traditionally very busy times for the NHS, which see many patients using out-of-hours GP services and going to A&E.

“We ask patients who do not need urgent treatment to leave these services free for those who really need them.

“If you need urgent treatment for a minor injury such as a cut, strain or burn, you can visit a minor injury unit which, along with pharmacies, are open throughout the Christmas period.

"Patients can check opening times, or seek advice for common symptoms by using our Health Help Now app – available from the App Store and Google Play, or at www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net

“Anyone who needs medical advice fast when it is not a 999 emergency should call NHS 111 when their practice is closed.

“Patients can also help by treating minor illnesses and basic injuries at home, and by making sure they are prepared for health problems over Christmas.

“While you are getting ready for Christmas, make sure you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home which should include paracetamol, cold remedies, antiseptic wipes, plasters, tweezers and a thermometer.”

Fire safety tips for the Christmas holidays

Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service has released 12 top tips for ho-ho-home safety over the festive period

· Check your Christmas lights are in good working order and conform to the British Safety Standard. Never overload electrical sockets, and make sure outdoor lights are fitted with a residual current device.

· Always switch off Christmas lights before going to bed or leaving the property.

· Never place candles near your Christmas tree, decorations or furnishings – and never leave a burning candle unattended.

· Decorations can burn easily – so don’t hang them near lights or heaters.

· Keep matches, lighters and candles out of the reach of children.

· If you’re having a few festive drinks, take extra care in the kitchen. Never leave your Christmas dinner cooking unattended and make sure you switch off the oven and hob when the meal is done.

· Make sure any guests know what to do in the event of an emergency – do they know where door/window keys are kept and have you shown them the escape route?

· Many fires start when people fall asleep while smoking, so make sure you extinguish cigarettes properly – and never smoke in bed.

· If you’re planning on celebrating with fireworks, make sure you follow the instructions.

· Never remove the batteries from your smoke alarm to power a new Christmas toy.

· Make sure you test your smoke alarm every week – and why not spread a little festive goodwill by checking on any elderly relatives, friends or neighbours as well.

· If you don’t already have one, get a carbon monoxide alarm and test it regularly – this is essential in homes with gas appliances, real fires and/or woodburners.

Home safety manager Neil Chamberlain said: “Sadly, over the years, we have seen too many fires both locally and nationally during the Christmas period. We want everyone to have a happy, enjoyable and safe Christmas, so we hope these top tips will be a handy reminder.”

Some households will qualify for a free home fire safety check from Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service. To find out more, call 0800 389 7849 or visit www.wiltsfire.gov.uk

Changes to Southeastern timetable introduced

Southeastern is urging passengers to check before they travel over the festive period as alterations to train services come into effect this week.

A half hourly high speed service will be provided on Boxing Day, running from Ashford International to Ebbsfleet, Stratford and St Pancras International between 08.00 and 20.00. No other services will run on that day.

An amended timetable will run from Monday 29 December until Friday 2 January, with additional services provided in the early hours of New Year’s Day to help passengers to get home after seeing in 2015.

Full details of the changes to services are available at http://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/christmas

Hackers steal personal details of police and public

Sussex Police is investigating security breaches of its external website.

Three breaches 'have been identified within a contained area of the website and could possibly be linked'.

A full investigation is underway to identify the source of the breaches and their impact.

Those responsible have obtained email addresses of a number of officers and personal email addresses of some members of the public who have used the services of our website.

Communications staff have contacted around 270 people who may have been affected, in particular to give them security advice in relation to their passwords for our community messaging service.

Our website is entirely separate to those systems used to investigate crime. The activity has not impacted on any other force IT, web or telephony systems and operational response is unaffected. There has been no impact on our service to the public. Measures are being put in place to ensure that the security of the website is not compromised further.

Work is being carried out to ensure that all our IT systems remain resilient and secure and an investigation is underway to find those responsible.

– Amaraghosha Carter, Joint Head of IT for Surrey and Sussex

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Vandals affect Christmas travel as they slash tyres on 20 cars

More than 20 cars had their tyres slashed in Portsmouth overnight between 23 and 24 December.

So far officers know at least 21 cars were damaged in Festing Road and Salisbury Road.

Police said: "A sharp implement has been used to puncture holes in the tyres of vehicles. It’s not believed at this stage that the owners were deliberately targeted but instead it’s thought this is random vandalism by at least one person.

"Whoever is responsible for this mindless act of damage has not only impacted financially on their victims at an expensive time of year, but may have also stopped some of them being able to travel to visit love ones over this festive period."

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Teddy and other charity raffle prizes recovered

A teddy stolen in Weymouth gets pride of place in a Dorset Police van Credit: Dorset Police

Police in Dorset have recovered prizes intended for a Christmas raffle in memory of a woman from Weymouth who died from cancer. They have been returned in time for today's raffle, which is raising money for a local hospice and a children's bereavement charity.

The items - which included a giant teddy - were stolen from the garden centre where Lyn Weaver used to work. They were taken on 10 December and police released CCTV of the theft.

The theft of the raffle items from Goulds Garden Centre in Weymouth was caught on CCTV Credit: Dorset Police

A 26-year-old man from Wimborne was arrested yesterday (Tuesday 23 December) on suspicion of theft. He has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

PC Nick Gravenor from Weymouth police hands over the giant teddy bear to Penny Corp-Palmer from Goulds Garden Centre, ready to be raffled off. Credit: Dorset Police

Road rage attacker punches driver and tries to pull him through car window - in busy Tesco car park

The victim of a road rage incident has been punched by a driver who also tried to pull through him through the car window.

The incident, in which a 63-year-old man suffered injuries to his face and arms, happened in a busy Tesco car park on Tuesday afternoon.

Police said: "The victim was driving a Citroen Picasso along the A30 from Ludwell towards Shaftesbury when a gold or bronze 4x4 vehicle pulled out into his path, causing the victim to slam on his brakes and sound the horn.

"The offender pulled over to the side of the road to allow the victim to pass before following his vehicle to the Tesco car park in Christy’s Lane.

"While the victim was reversing into a parking space, the offender approached and, without provocation, aimed a punch through an open window, knocking off his glasses. The suspect also attempted to pull the victim through the car window."

Ambulance technician in hospital after assault during emergency call

The victim was responding to an emergency call Credit: Meridian

An ambulance technician is still in hospital after being assaulted by a patient in Southampton.

The victim, who was responding to an emergency call on behalf of the South Central Ambulance Service, was assaulted at the junction of Milton Road and Holt Road.

The suspect fled the scene and the victim was taken to a hospital with a head injury, the spokesman said.

A 26-year-old man from Southampton was arrested on suspicion of assault and has been bailed until February 12, pending further inquiries.

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