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Tobacco supplier Palmer & Harvey in administration

Staff at the company's Brandon branch are affevted Credit: Palmer & Harvey

Britain's biggest tobacco supplier Palmer & Harvey has gone into administration, leaving 2,500 people out of work.

127 staff have been made redundant at the company's Brandon branch in Suffolk. Twenty one staff will remain at the depot on Wimbledon Avenue to help the administrators in winding the business up.

The wholesaler, which employed around 3,400 staff in total, has struggled with debts and efforts to restructure the business were unsuccessful.

The P&H Brandon site Credit: ITV News Anglia

"Any job loss at any time is sad news and at this time of year especially, we feel for the people who work there and their families at this time of year."

– Cllr James Waters, Forest Heath District Council

The company has around 90,000 customers ranging from small local corner stores to the UK’s largest supermarkets and it runs a delivery network of 14 regional distribution centres.

127 jobs will go at the Brandon site. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"The Palmer & Harvey name has been a trusted partner for retailers and suppliers for nearly 100 years. This is a devastating blow for everyone who has been involved in the business. The P&H Group has faced a challenging trading environment, and the need for significant restructuring has been recognised for some while. The company has insufficient cash resources to continue to trade beyond the short term and the directors have concluded that there is no longer any reasonable prospect of a sale. Therefore, the directors have had no choice but appoint administrators."

– Matthew Callaghan, joint administrator and PwC partner

Extra police patrols following Suffolk rape

The attack happened in an open space near Knappers Way in Brandon. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

Police investigating a rape in Suffolk are putting on extra patrols to reassure people.

A woman was assaulted close to Knappers Way in Brandon in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Officers say "significant resources" are being used to try to identify the attacker.

He is described as bald or with a shaven head, white, and in his 20s or 30s, with an eastern European accent and a crooked nose consistent with it having been broken.

"I cannot stress how important it is for anyone who was in the area between the hours of 12am and 3am on Sunday morning - or who saw a man matching this description in the area that night - to come forward.

"Any piece of information, however small it may seem, could be crucial in helping us to identify the suspect."

– Det Ch Insp Caroline Millar, Suffolk Police.


Police appeal after woman reports rape in Suffolk

Credit: PA Images

Police are appealing for witnesses after a woman reported being raped in Brandon in Suffolk.

Officers were contacted around 11.45am Monday 20 June, by a woman who told police she had been raped on Sunday morning, 19 June.

She reported she had gone for a walk when a man – described as white, around 5ft 6ins tall and of stocky build and possibly in his 20s to 30s – approached her.

It’s thought the incident happened in the Knappers Way/ Warren Close area between midnight and 3am and police are asking anyone who may have been in the area bordered by Bury Road and Thetford Road between these times to come forward.

Man charged following dumper truck chase on A11 in Norfolk

The dumper truck involved in the incident. Credit: ITV Anglia

A man has been charged following a two hour chase on a dumper truck on the A11 in Norfolk in July.

Nicholas Churchill, 40, from Brandon in Suffolk, has been charged with dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking without consent, criminal damage, driving whilst unfit through drugs and possession of Class B (amphetamines).

He's due appear at Norwich Magistrates Court on Friday 8 January 2016.

Police appeal for help to find missing Suffolk man

John Emery was last seen in Brandon on Wednesday 4th March Credit: Suffolk police

Suffolk police are appealing for help to find a man from Brandon who has been missing since Wednesday 4th March.

65 year-old John Emery was last seen at his home in St Nicholas Walk, Brandon at around 9.30am on that day.

His disappearance is out of character and officers have now become concerned for his welfare.

He was wearing a dark sweatshirt, jeans and work boots when he was last seen.

Anyone with information should contact Suffolk police on 101.


"Much more work is needed but improvements have begun": Ofsted on IES Breckland

Ofsted have published their first monitoring inspection on IES Breckland since it was placed in special measures.

The Suffolk free school, which is the UK's first for profit state school, was rated inadequate by Ofsted in March.

Today the watchdog said there were still areas of teaching 'in need of urgent intervention' but that overall the school's improvement plan is 'fit for purpose.'

You can read Ofsted's full report here.

The school's principal, Alison Tilbrook, issued the following statement:**

Improvement is taking place every day, but it is an ongoing process and there is still a long way to go. One positive monitoring inspection is a good start, but everyone at the school must continue to work hard to ensure the positive steps that we have taken so far are just the beginning. I recognise the issues that are mentioned within the report and we will continue to work on overcoming them.

– Alison Tilbrook, Principal IES Breckland

IES Breckland responds

IES Breckland were not available for interview regarding Mick Smith's criticism, but referred ITV News to a previous statement by the Principal Alison Tilbrook regarding Ofsted's decision to place the school in special measures.

"We are of course dissatisfied with our performance in the recent Ofsted inspection but accept the team’s conclusions and we are already taking steps to address many of the issues identified in the report.

"This inspection came in the middle of a process of change at IES Breckland, following our own assessment of the school at the start of the academic year, and we have already taken steps to strengthen the leadership and teaching staff. A new full-time Principal has taken up post and a number of new staff at all levels have either recently started or are due to do so shortly.

"While there is still a long way to go, the report recognises that 'IES has acted promptly to appoint a new Principal and other managers' and that 'school leaders have begun to tackle some of the weaknesses identified by inspectors'.

"The changes we have made are showing improvement and we know that the school is moving in the right direction. The teachers and staff at IES Breckland are committed to providing a higher quality of education to students and will continue to work to improve standards at IES Breckland.

"We look forward to future Ofsted monitoring visits and inspections showing the direction in which we are moving."

– Alison Tilbrook, IES Breckland Principal

MP reaction to IES Breckland Ofsted report

Tristram Hunt MP and Labour's Shadow Education Secretary has responded to the publication of the Ofsted inspection into IES Breckland Free School.

This is more evidence of the damage David cameron's Free School policy is doing to school standards. The lack of local oversight and a policy that allows unqualified teachers into classrooms on a permanent basis is the wrong approach."

– Tristram Hunt MP, Shadow Education Secretary
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