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New flood defence scheme for Thatcham

Parts of Thatcham were devastated by flooding in 2007 Credit: ITV Meridian

Work is underway on a new flood defence scheme in West Berkshire.

The £1.2m project will help protect Thatcham from flooding - previously the town's surface water sewers couldn't cope.

A new embankment will be built which can hold back 50,000 square metres of water.

Parts of Thatcham were devastated by flooding in 2007 Credit: ITV Meridian

"This new scheme will be a significant asset to the town and will reduce the risk of flooding for many local residents. Throughout the scheme a priority for us has been to preserve the local area as much as we can and, once completed, the bank will be landscaped and the area returned to fields.

"We're continuing to work with our communities to introduce additional protections against flooding. This is the second flood scheme in the area with others to follow over the next four years and all of which have been identified as necessary by a surface water action plan agreed in 2010."

– Councillor Garth Simpson

Chinese takeaway cook tried to kill head chef with meat cleaver over argument about marinaded chicken

A Chinese takeaway cook tried to murder his head chef with a meat cleaver over an argument about how to prepare marinaded chicken.

The argument began after Qiang Gao took exception to Kok Yuan Woon interrupting his food preparation and led to the defendant storming out of the kitchen.

The two men twice had to be separated by co-workers after going face-to-face with each other, before they took their argument outside the Chinese Takeaway in High Street Thatcham, Berks, a jury heard.

Mr Woon initially swung a meat cleaver at Gao in a courtyard at the back of the takeaway and smashed him around the ankle with a heavy duty metal ladle before heading back into the kitchen.

Gao – who suffered a cut to the arm and heavy bruising to his ankle – then retaliated, furiously hitting Mr Woon twice over the head and in the shoulder and leaving a series of horrific injuries.

Gao, of Acorn Drive, Thatcham, will be sentenced on December 22

Violent crime has no place in our community and will not be tolerated. This conviction is an example of how Thames Valley Police works to protect the community and bring offenders to justice.

– Investigating officer, Det Con Gareth Perry, Thames Valley Police


Persistent shoplifter banned from local shops

Adrian Lewis given Criminal Behaviour Order Credit: Thames Valley Police

Following an investigation by Thames Valley Police, a man has been issued with a Criminal Behaviour Order restricting entry to shops in Thatcham.

Adrian Lewis, aged 50, of Old Bath Road, Newbury, was given a Criminal Behaviour Order at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (29/7).

The order bans Lewis from entering the following places in Thatcham:

The Co-op in 22-26 The Broadway

The Co-op in 54-55 The Broadway

The Co-op in Burdwood Centre, in Station Road

The Co-op in Harts Hill Road

The Co-op food petrol station in London Road

Waitrose in The Broadway

Sainsbury’s Local in Coombe Square, Chapel Street

Lloyds Pharmacy in Crown Mead, Bath Road

Lloyds Pharmacy in Kingsland Centre, The Broadway

The order will last for two years and was put in place due to Lewis’ persistent shoplifting.

Lewis is also prohibited from remaining in any retail establishment in West Berkshire if asked to leave by staff.

Investigating officer, PC Greg Jones, from the response team based at Newbury police station, said:

“The gaining of this order demonstrates Thames Valley Police’s conviction to deal with individuals who commit anti social behaviour in whatever form it takes.

“Any breaches of Criminal Behaviour Orders can be reported to the Force by calling our non-emergency number 101.”

– Thames Valley Police

Attempted murder charge after restaurant 'incident'

A man charged with attempted murder is due before magistrates in Reading today. Quiang Gao, 39, of Acorn Drive in Thatcham was arrested on the evening of Thursday 28th May. It was in connection an incident at a restaurant in the town's High Street earlier that day which left a 40-year-old man with serious head injuries.

Quiang Gao was charged on the evening of Friday 29th May. The victim needed surgery for his head injuries, and remains in hospital in a serious but stable condition.

Shocked woman finds snake in boot of new car

A Berkshire woman was admiring a second hand car she had just bought, when she opened the boot and got a big surprise.

A three-foot boa constrictor was staring up at her.

The 3ft snake was seen curled up on towels in the car boot Credit: Charlie Wise

23-year-old Charlie Wise thought the snake was a toy at first but when the reptile flicked its tongue she screamed and slammed shut the boot.

The snake was kept in the boot despite the car being sold Credit: Charlie Wise

Charlie rang the car's previous owner who said he had lost the snake two months ago but did not want the animal anymore.

Local animal charity, Berkshire Reptiles Centre, came and collected the snake who survived the ordeal unscathed.

A friend helps to gently remove the snake from the boot Credit: Charlie Wise

Motorist designs app to avoid queues at level crossings

Help could soon be at hand for drivers left fuming, waiting in queues at level crossings. One driver from Thatcham in Berkshire is so infuriated at the problem he's decided to do something about it.

Steve Ardagh-Walter is developing a system that tells drivers when the barriers are down so they can avoid the queues. Our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse reports.


Extra safety lessons for young drivers

The driving test is facing its most radical changes. Within the next few weeks the Government will consult on measures that would make young learners spend much more time practising and experience conditions like night and motorway driving.

It comes as alarming figures show young drivers are now responsible for hundreds of deaths and thousands of serous injuries a year.

So how will the measures help? The Under 17 Car Club (U17CC) teaches young people to drive from the age of 11 years old. It's a charity based in the Meridian region and research shows if youngpeople get more experience they are less likely to be involved in accidents or get convictions.

The U17CC promotes safe driving skills and attitudes through a programme of voluntary pre-licence driver development events.

Well this year we're following the work of the club. Members also visited the Thatcham Motor Research Centre to look at the safety work they do and the cars of the future.

In this report from our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse we talk to Oliver Lambert, aged 12, from Hampshire, Rhiannon Bailey, aged 16, from Reading and Sydney Austin, also 16, who lives near Heathrow. Shaun Cronin is from the club and Iain Wallace from Thatcham Research Centre.

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