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Three police officers arrested during investigation into serious sexual offences

Hampshire Police have arrested six men - three of them serving police officers - on suspicion of conspiracy to commit serious sexual offences on the Isle of Wight.

The arrests follows information from a victim. Alleged incidents are said to have taken place this year. The officers are serving members of Hampshire Constabulary.

The investigation is ongoing. More shortly.

Isle of Wight set to lose 150 council jobs

The Isle of Wight Council has begun a consultation with staff over potential redundancies in the coming year. Around 150 jobs could go between now and the end of March 2016.

Because of a reduction in government funding and increased costs, the council says it needs to reduce its net spend by £13.5 million in the next financial year.

The council says it needs needs to 'look radically' at different ways of delivering services and allocating its resources to essential services.

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Teenager disappeared exactly 18 years ago today

It is exactly 18 years since the disappearance of teenager Damien Nettles during a night out on the Isle of Wight. The last confirmed sighting of him on CCTV was at a chip shop in Cowes late on the night of November the 2nd, 1996. Despite searches taking place and rewards being offered no trace of him has ever been found. Richard Jones reports.

18 years since teenager's disappearance

Damien Nettles Credit: Nettles family

The disappearance of a teenager from the Isle of Wight is being highlighted this weekend - 18 years after he was last seen.

16-year-old Damien Nettles from Gurnard on the island was last seen during a night out in the town of Cowes in 1996.

The last confirmed sighting of Damien on surviving available CCTV was in Yorkie’s fish and chip shop off Cowes High Street at 11.35pm on Saturday, November 2, 1996.

Damien was also positively identified by his family from CCTV of Cowes High Street at 12.02am on Sunday, November 3, 1996. This footage showed Damien walking to a bus stop and then back along the High Street eating his chips.

The files on Damien Nettles remain with the Hampshire Major Investigation Team (HMIT) for regular checks. These include:

• Contacting Coroner's officers about the discoveries of any unidentified bodies similar to Damien's description.

• Analysing the credibility of any new information reported to police.

No new lines of enquiry have been identified by Hampshire Constabulary over the past year. However, the case is not closed.

Previous police actions in this case include:

• 1,134 people have been involved in the investigation (either as investigators, witnesses, or people of interest) since Damien Nettles disappeared on November 2, 1996.

• 357 witness statements have been taken to date since November 2, 1996.

• 2,553 documents have been reviewed and processed.

• Between 2010 and 2012, it was necessary for the Hampshire Major Investigation Team (HMIT) to concentrate on analysing and acting upon the information already passed to police by the local community.

• This analysis led police in 2011 to arrest eight people who were questioned over the course of a year, and later released with no further action.

• Officers focused on completing existing enquiries while suspects were on bail. We did not charge anyone with a criminal offence.

• Murder or foul play cannot be ruled out.

• Hampshire Constabulary offered a £20,000 reward between October 4, 2012 and April 4, 2013 for facts leading to the location of Damien Nettles.

• Police received 30 reports of information.

• Each of the 30 reports of information has been analysed and assessed in line with police procedures.

• None of the information led to new lines of enquiry. However, the case was not closed.

Hampshire Constabulary remains disappointed that Damien has not been found yet. Our files continue to be kept open to receive any new facts anyone may have about what happened to the teenager in November 1996.

A key point to repeat and remember in this case is the reporting of any new facts - not fictions fuelled by the repetition of rumour.

Anyone with information can contact the Hampshire Major Investigation Team (HMIT) at Fratton Police Station by phoning 101 or emailing operation.ridgewood@hampshire.pnn.police.uk

Message in a bottle - the discovery

Last month we reported on the beachcomber who found three messages in bottles within minutes of each other on the same stretch of Isle of Wight coastline.

Adie Butler came into the studio and we opened the bottles - inside was one message sent from Dorset, another in German, and one containing a model of a cruise ship.

Since then Adie has been able to discover more about the messages, as Richard Jones reports.

Beachcomber solves washed up bottle mysteries

A beachcomber on the Isle of Wight has discovered some remarkable stories behind messages in bottles that washed ashore.

Adie Butler managed to make contact with one man who threw a bottle over the side of a cruise ship as part of an art project.

He also tracked down the German author of a secret love letter, who says no one is allowed to read it except the person she wrote it to.

Adie says it was surprisingly easy to solve the mysteries:

All the stories behind the bottle messages will be revealed on ITV Meridian at 6pm

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Report finds Isle of Wight NHS Trust "requires improvement"

St Mary's Hospital Credit: NHS Trust

England's Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, has published his first report on the quality of services provided by Isle of Wight NHS Trust. Overall, the Care Quality Commission has rated the trust as Requires Improvement. Acute services provided at St Mary's Hospital, and Community Health services, were both rated as Requires Improvement. Mental Health services were rated as Good.

The trust was inspected in June under its new inspection regime. The inspection team of 79 people which included doctors, nurses, midwives, hospital managers, trained members of the public, a variety of specialists, CQC inspectors spent three days at the trust. Inspectors also returned unannounced two weeks later.

Inspectors found that staff were caring and compassionate, and treated people with dignity and respect. On the whole, patients received the right care at the right time. The ambulance services achieved national response times, patients were seen and treated in the A&E within four hours, people had surgery, diagnostic tests and outpatient appointments within national waiting times.

But at St Mary's Hospital, the pressure on beds meant that patients were being moved between wards too often, and weekend discharges were delayed. Staffing levels were too low in some areas, with difficulties recruiting staff to work on the island. There were not enough nurses for children's care in the A&E, the acute services, community rehabilitation wards, district nursing and older adult mental health wards. The trust faced a similar challenge recruiting doctors, with some services run by locums and this had not provided consistency of leadership or treatment.

Following the inspection CQC has issued a warning notice requiring the trust to take action to improve the ways it assesses and monitors the quality of its services.

Inspectors also identified a number of areas of outstanding practice, including: The Integrated Care Hub was an excellent example of teams from different disciplines working closely together to ensure that patients had timely access to appropriate services. The call centre provides access to the 999 calls service, NHS 111 service, the GP out-of-hours service, district nursing, adult social care, tele-care services, non-emergency patient transport services, and mental health services. The pharmacy service was operational seven days a week and electronic prescribing had reduced medication errors.

CQC's Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said:

"We have found some examples of outstanding care. The staff were caring, highly motivated, and treated people as individuals. However people told us how at times low staffing numbers affected their care and treatment and there were also areas of poor practice where the trust needs to make improvements. I recognise the challenge that the island faces in attracting and retaining experienced staff. But, the trust must ensure that the clinical leadership of services improve.

11-year-old sexually assaulted at picnic site

Police are investigating an alleged sexual assault against an 11-year-old girl yesterday morning on the Isle of Wight.

The incident happened at around 11am when the victim was at Fort Victoria, near Yarmouth, with her family, when she was approached by a man who allegedly sexually assaulted her and then walked away.

The man is described as-

  • White man with pale skin
  • In his 50s
  • Uncut grey hair
  • Clean shaven
  • About six feet tall
  • Average build
  • Deep voice

At the time of the incident the man was wearing a short-sleeved shirt with dark blue and light blue stripes and blue jeans. Police arrested a man earlier today. The man has since been released with no further action to be taken against him.

“This was a rare but very serious incident against a child, during the day in a busy picnic site. We would like to hear from anyone who may have witnessed anything suspicious in the area or who recognises the man from the description. Police have increased patrols in the area over the weekend to reassure the local community."

– Detective Sergeant John Stirling

Women raise £1,700 after completing mammoth swim

Four women are celebrating after they swam around the Isle of Wight, raising £1,700 for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.

They completed the swim in just over 24 hours, covering 56 miles in strong tides and choppy, cold waters.

From l-r: Pauline, Heather, Chris, Kate and Ann celebrate with a bottle of champagne! Credit: "Ladies Wot Swim"

Pauline McCracken, Heather Lunt, Ann Brimelow and Kate Steels-Fryatt started the swim at St Helens on Saturday and finished Sunday night, after each swimming six hours and a distance just short of an English Channel crossing.

In the run up to the swim, the team had a late change as their original fourth swimmer, Chris Pitman, fell ill and had to undergo heart surgery. They also had to loan a yacht from Port Solent after they lost their boat and support crew 24 hours before starting.

The ladies finished their swim at St Helens on Sunday evening Credit: "Ladies Wot Swim"

“It feels amazing, I can’t believe we’ve done it after 18 months of planning.

“The fifth hour in the water was the toughest thing I have ever done – I came out smiling but very emotional!”

– Pauline McCracken
The women raised £1,700 for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance Credit: "Ladies Wot Swim"
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