Live updates


Warning: loan sharks preying on families over Christmas

A small loan over Christmas could quickly escalate out of control Credit: Press Association Images

People in Reading are being warned not to take loans out from illegal money lenders in the run-up to Christmas.

Reading Borough Council is reminding people that many loan sharks resort to threats and violence.

The council is advising anyone who is facing financial hardship to get in touch with the Citizens Advice Bureau for free advice.

Don't get bitten this Christmas. These unscrupulous sharks prey on the most vulnerable in society. No matter how much you are struggling financially, loan sharks are never the answer.

I urge people in desperate situations to speak to their local Citizen's Advice Bureau for advice, rather than getting themselves into deep water with a rogue lender.

The message to these sharks is - we are closing the net in on you and we will not tolerate this callous and manipulative crime in our town. Help us bite back against loan sharks! Remember, you can report these criminals in the strictest confidence and action will be taken."

– Paul Gittings, Lead Councillor for Consumer Services

Itchen Bridge toll barriers back as 25,000 fail to pay fee

Itchen Bridge barriers to return after thousands ignore crossing fee

Toll barriers are being re-introduced at the Itchen Bridge in Southampton this afternoon.

So far this year more than 25,000 drivers have failed to make full payments for their crossing - the unpaid sum adds up to around twelve and a half thousand pounds in lost revenue.

Southampton City Council said that in the short-term there may be delays as drivers get used to the new system. The toll only accepts the correct change or a SmartCities Card.


Town centre shoppers to park all day for £1

Councillors Gary Marsh and Pru Moore Credit: Mid Sussex District Council

Festive shoppers will soon pay a reduced rate of £1 for all-day parking in a town centre.

In the run up to Christmas, every Saturday from 5 December, Mid Sussex District Council will cut the cost of parking in their long-stay car parks:

  • Queens Crescent car park, Burgess Hill
  • Station Road car park, Burgess Hill
  • The Vicarage car park, East Grinstead
  • Norton House car park, East Grinstead
  • Franklynn Road car park, Haywards Heath

Parking in Mid Sussex is already free on Sundays and the council hopes the reduced cost parking on Saturdays will encourage more people to shop locally and attract shoppers from other areas.

'Penniless' mother-of-five ran lucrative escort agency

A judge has jailed a mother of five children from Sussex for defrauding the state of almost half a million pounds.

Janine Adeleke made £1.5m by running an escort agency. At the same time, she claimed more than £100,000 in benefits.

The judge at Canterbury Crown Court said that, because of the scale of the deception, he had no choice but to send her to prison.

Derek Johnson reports.

Sussex mother of five hid £650,000 income from 'high class' escort agency

A mother-of-five, who hid the £650,000 income she earned from her escort agency so that she could avoid paying tax and claim state benefits, has been jailed for three years.

An investigation led by HM Revenue and Customs working alongside the Department for Work and Pensions revealed that for more than seven years Janine Adeleke, of East Sussex, claimed to be unemployed. But she was actually running Carltons of London, which offered ‘high class’ escort services, providing the finest London escorts to gentlemen of distinction'.

The investigation found that Adeleke had not declared any income, stealing more than £312,000 in unpaid Income Tax, National Insurance contributions and Tax Credits payments. At the same time she fraudulently claimed over £37,000 in income support and other state benefits, and laundered £157,000 of illicit cash.

Adeleke claimed to be penniless, but this was far from the truth. She didn’t declare her income because she didn’t want to pay tax, but she did want to claim state benefits intended to help those on a low income, which she wasn’t entitled to.

Adeleke broke the law to fund a lavish lifestyle and private education for her children, stealing money from vital public services designed to support and help struggling families.

Our work doesn’t stop when a criminal is convicted and we are now working to reclaim the money Adeleke stole.

– Fraud Investigation Service,HMRC

Hospital investigated over £10m deficit

The hospital has a £10m deficit Credit: ITV

A Dorset hospital trust is to be investigated by the health regulator over its £10m financial deficit.

Monitor said it would examine the causes of the "deteriorating" financial position at The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The Trust blamed an increase in admissions and costs of agency nurses.

The regulator also said accident and emergency waiting times needed improvement.

Load more updates