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Drug gang jailed in Southampton

On Friday, August 29, a number of people were jailed in Southampton for their part in a gang which supplied and distributed cocaine in the city. During Hampshire Constabulary’s 18-month Operation Vulture, warrants were carried out in early 2013 at addresses including Vanguard Road, Calmore Drive, Wittering Road, and Inkerman Road. Cocaine and mixing agents were seized and a number of arrests were made.

At Southampton Crown Court the following people have now been sentenced:

26-year-old Omar Prince Thomas of Mortimer Road was jailed for eight years for two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs, specifically cocaine, and one count of possession with intent to supply a class A drug, specifically cocaine.

45-year-old Brian Hill of no fixed address was jailed for two and a half years for one count of conspiracy to supply class A drugs, specifically cocaine.28-year-old Christopher Vine of Calmore Drive was jailed for two years for one count of conspiracy to supply class A drugs, specifically cocaine.

In addition for their part in the gang 40-year-old Samantha Goudling of Wittering Road was given an eighteen month sentence suspended for two years, and 25-year-old Cara Bannister of Vanguard Road was given a twelve month sentence suspended for two years.

These convictions represent the dismantling of a well orchestrated, structured and organised crime group supplying Class A drugs, specifically cocaine throughout the city of Southampton and surrounding areas. Omar Prince Thomas was the head of this group and proved himself to be a very determined and organised drug dealer. He identified and utilised a network of vulnerable people in his ongoing illegal business enterprise. It was only through the tenacity and hard work of Southampton's dedicated drug-related violent crime team, Operation Fortress, that the group was brought to justice. In particular I would like to highlight the excellent work of the case officers, DS Edis and DC Blanche for the dedicated and professional investigation they conducted ensuring these convictions where achieved".

– Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Jason Attwell

Operation Fortress is a campaign involving police and other agencies to reduce the harm of drug-related violence. One of the aims is to restrict the supply of drugs and officers are keen to hear from anyone who is concerned about illegal drugs or drug-related crime in their neighbourhood.

The things to look out for are as follows:

A sudden increase in visitors to a house or flat and people only staying for a very short time. Short exchanges between small groups of people at or close to a flat or house. Residents leaving a flat or house on numerous occasions throughout the day and returning a short time later. People loitering in an area and using their mobile phones frequently. New-looking or hire cars parked outside a house or flat that wouldn’t normally be there, and being driven by somebody that you wouldn’t normally associate with driving that style of car.

If you have any concerns, call police on 101 or 999 if a crime is in progress.

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Investigation after GBH incident in Bicester

Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses to an incident of grievous bodily harm in Bicester.

The incident occurred on the forecourt of the Gulf petrol station in Buckingham Road, Bicester, at about 3.20am on Saturday (30/8).

The victim, a man, was with a friend when they became embroiled in an altercation with a group of four or five men. The victim was hit with a golf club during the incident.

The offender who hit the victim with the golf club is white, in his mid to late twenties, about 5ft 10in, medium to stocky build, with short dark hair. He was wearing a dark-coloured jumper.

A second suspect involved in the altercation is white, in his mid to late twenties, slim, with short blonde hair. He was wearing a short sleeved T-shirt.

The victim sustained a fractured eye socket and broken jaw. He is currently being treated at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

If you have any information about the incident then please contact investigating officer, Det Con Joe Stevenson of Force CID via the Thames Valley Police Enquiry Centre on 101.

If you don't want to speak directly to the police you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Preparing for battle - new camouflage jackets for chickens!

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Doing battle with the foxes Credit: Omlet

First they were given high vis jackets, now chickens are being disguised in military style camouflage outfits. The latest fashion for chickens has been launched by an Oxfordshire based firm to disguise them from foxes.

The company says "Whether they're dolling themselves up for a night out, preparing for battle against an army of henpeckers or forming a disguise to keep badly behaved cockerels at bay, cool chicks, army birds and rowdy hens go mad for a bit of camo"

It boasts of being of great comfort, breathable, showerproof fabric to keep hens warm, dry and clean when doing battle in the garden ... as well as giving them street cred. Whatever will they think of next!

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Nick Clegg calls for Ashya King family to be reunited

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said "the full force of the law" should not be thrown at the parents of Ashya King and called for the family to be reunited.

Nick Clegg speaking to GMB.
Nick Clegg speaking to GMB. Credit: Good Morning Britain/ITV

He told Good Morning Britain: "My heart does go out to them [Ashya's parents] and I'm like any parent.

"It seems to me...that Mr and Mrs King are in a state of great anguish and have taken this exceptional step of removing their child from hospital and going elsewhere because that's what they think is right for their child.

"We can debate whether we think that's right or not but that's clearly their motive and I don't think that kind of motive is the reason why we should be throwing the full force of the law at them.

"I do want to see the family reunited and I think it's awful Ashya is in a hospital on his own."

Read: 'Proton therapy saved my son's life despite NHS advice'

Gatwick statement on Thames Estuary airport decision

“This is an important juncture in the aviation debate because now Britain’s choice is clear; expand Gatwick and support genuine competition, lower fares and greater choice for passengers or expand Heathrow and return to the stale monopoly of the past and watch the cost of going on holiday, travelling for business and exporting goods and service go up. We believe Gatwick has the strongest case. It is the only option left on the table that can be delivered with more certainty than either of the Heathrow options, and it can be delivered without the significant environmental impacts expansion at Heathrow would inflict on London. It can be delivered faster than any other option, and at low cost and low risk. Furthermore, expanding Gatwick will ensure the UK is served by two successful world class airports. It can liberate hub capacity at Heathrow and open up the opportunities for affordable long haul travel to emerging markets for the benefit of everyone, made possible by new generation of aircraft such as the Dreamliner.”

– Gatwick Airport Chief Executive Stewart Wingate

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Back Heathrow statement on Thames Estuary decision

"This decision is a major victory for the thousands of local residents in west London who had begun to fear the worst. However, despite the emphatic rejection of Boris Johnson’s plans, the UK still has a problem because Heathrow is bursting at the seams. The UK’s only hub airport might have dodged a bullet from the Mayor of London but a slow death awaits if it is not allowed to expand. The Airports Commission has said 'No' to Boris Johnson but for the sake of local jobs and UK prosperity, it now needs to say 'Yes' to growth at Heathrow."

– Back Heathrow campaign co-ordinator Rob Gray

Plans for new Thames Estuary airport rejected

The Airports Commission has today announced its decision not to add the inner Thames estuary airport proposal to its shortlist of options for providing new airport capacity by 2030.

Following detailed further study into the feasibility of an inner Thames estuary airport the commission has concluded that the proposal has substantial disadvantages that collectively outweigh its potential benefits.

We are not persuaded that a very large airport in the Thames estuary is the right answer to London’s and the UK’s connectivity needs. While we recognise the need for a hub airport, we believe this should be a part of an effective system of competing airports to meet the needs of a widely spread and diverse market like London’s. There are serious doubts about the delivery and operation of a very large hub airport in the estuary. The economic disruption would be huge and there are environmental hurdles which it may prove impossible, or very time-consuming to surmount. Even the least ambitious version of the scheme would cost £70 to £90 billion with much greater public expenditure involved than in other options – probably some £30 to £60 billion in total. There will be those who argue that the commission lacks ambition and imagination. We are ambitious for the right solution. The need for additional capacity is urgent. We need to focus on solutions which are deliverable, affordable, and set the right balance for the future of aviation in the UK. The commission received and developed a substantial body of evidence that it considered very carefully over a number of months before reaching this decision.

– Airports Commission Chair Sir Howard Davies

Alongside today’s announcement the commission has published a paper in which it sets out in more detail the reasoning behind its decision.

The commission will now continue its appraisal of the 3 shortlisted proposals for additional capacity and will publish the appraisal for public consultation in the autumn.

Free school meals for young pupils in the South

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Free school meals Credit: ITV

Schools across the region will be rolling out free school meals from today as children head back for the new academic year. New rules - announced by the Government last Autumn mean that all pupils in reception and Years 1 and 2 will receive them. It's aimed at improving concentration in the classroom and promoting healthy lifestyle but many schools say they don't have the space or facilities to cope. And some local authorities say they are struggling to find the money to fund the scheme.

Thousands of patients to benefit from new CT scanner at Salisbury District Hospital

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CT scanner Credit: ITV news

Around Twelve thousand patients a year will benefit from a new CT scanner at Salisbury District Hospital. It's cost £650,000 which was raised through the Stars Appeal campaign. It's hoped the scanner will help reduce waiting times for CT scans and enable medical staff to make quicker diagnoses. The new CT scanner will have the very latest technology, meaning some patients will avoid having minor surgery, with all its possible side effects. Patients will no longer need to travel to other hospitals for scans. They will be able to get the CT Scan they need at Salisbury, at any time of day or night, even if one scanner is busy or undergoing essential maintenance.

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