Suffolk Trading Standards and Suffolk Police have been working with local post offices to trial the new ‘Adopt a Post Office’ scheme to share information about scams directly with communities.
Launched this week at the One Stop Stores on Ipswich Street, Stowmarket and at Post Office on Penzance Road, Kesgrave, Trading Standards and local neighbourhood policing teams will be able to work with sub-postmasters and staff to highlight various types of crimes that could affect their customers such as mail scams, internet dating scams and rogue doorstep traders.
Officers will not be permanently based within the branches but through their relationship with the Post Office, the teams can be present at periods of high footfall enabling them to interact with more residents.
Councillor Matthew Hicks is Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Trading Standards. “This is a really positive piece of partnership working, aimed at supporting the work of Police and Trading Standards in the local community,” he said. “I am delighted that we have had the support of the post offices and local shops in Kesgrave and Stowmarket.
“Being a central part of the community along with their friendly approach to customers is an excellent way to reach Suffolk residents who may not have family and friends that they can turn to for advice on the latest scams.”
Many people use post offices to transfer money, sometimes this money is sent to scammers.
Common “cons” include people sending cash on the promise of lottery prizes, or transferring money to internet ‘friends’ who have asked for money under the pretext of needing help.
With this new pilot, when post office staff suspect someone is being scammed, they will contact specialist officers from Trading Standards and Suffolk Police who will then offer advice and support.
A scheming and calculated fraudster who conned people and businesses out of hundreds of thousands of pounds has been jailed for nine-and-a-half years following an investigation by Northumbria Police.
Christopher Heayns, who is 34 and from Blyth was arrested in August 2015 on suspicion of a number of fraud offences.
The arrest came after a call to police in May 2015 from his ex-girlfriend who Heayns owed hundreds of thousands of pounds to. She told detectives that she had met Heayns on a dating site in August 2013 and they started a relationship together. He told her that his name was Christopher Smith and that he was a high flying legal barrister with a property portfolio of around £6,000,000 and a number of investments and capital at his disposal.
He claimed to have multiple successful businesses and gave the impression he was a very wealthy and successful man. Early on in the relationship he persuaded her to help him find somewhere to live in the area and got her to take out a tenancy agreement in her name at the grade two listed manor building Sandoe Hall, in Hexham. He managed to ensure that the £2,400 monthly payments were coming from her bank account and that it was all in her name.
While living at the property he arranged to have building and renovation work done to allow him to set up new business ventures from home and racked up more than £100,000 in building work costs.
He persuaded his then girlfriend-at-the-time to cover the costs, promising her that a £250,000 investment due to mature would allow him to pay her back. The borrowing continued with him using the woman’s credit cards to borrow large amounts of money and also taking bank loans out in her name. He even convinced the woman to borrow around £125,0000 from her parents to help him pay for different business ventures and his spending.
In December 2013 something happened that caused his partner to become suspicious of Heayns. One of the builders who was doing work on the Sandoe Hall saw a Christmas card at the property addressed to Christopher Poulton. He became suspicious when the name didn’t match and googled it.
He found a series of news articles from 2008 about a con-man who had been jailed for fraud offences. He flagged this up with Heayns partner and she confronted him about it. Again he sold her a string of lies about his past and said that he had been accused of the offences by a rival barrister but cleared on appeal.
He stressed that he wouldn’t be able to be working as a barrister now if he was a criminal – and he went to great lengths to convince the woman of this lie about being a barrister – even getting her to drop him off at various court locations across the country where he said he was working. In early 2014 the couple eventually split and Heayns promised the woman he would repay all of the money owed. After months and months of excuses about why he couldn’t pay her back she, in May 2015, reported him to police.
The investigation was launched into Heayns and the more officers dug into his past the more evidence of fraudulent behaviour, deceit and lying they found.
On August 15, 2015, he was charged with 14 fraud related offences and remanded in custody. Heayns appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on February 8 where pleaded not guilty and after a two week trial he was found guilty of four counts of fraud offences and seven counts of Insolvency Act offences.
On Wednesday, July 20, he was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years prison.
Detective Constable Tony Hellyer led the investigation into Heayns. “Heayns is one of the most manipulative, scheming and dishonest people that I have ever investigated,” he said. “The nature, audacity and sheer scale of the lies he told and the stories he fabricated in order to extort money from people, companies and businesses is astounding.
“People may question how people fell for his lies but I can’t stress enough just how manipulative Heayns is.
“He used many different aliases and back stories.
“He managed to deceive business owners, banks and reputable companies into believing his lies and handing over hundreds of thousands of pounds.
“He created a very convincing fake identity and persona and played on the emotional relationship between him and his ex-girlfriend to con her and her family out of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
“He lied and cheated his way to enjoying a millionaires’ lifestyle at the expense of others and has left a substantial trail of destruction behind him and a number of peoples’ lives in tatters.
“He continued his deceit right until the very end by pleading not guilty to the offences and forcing his victims to have to relive the whole experience during the court case.
“Heayns was summed up perfectly when the judge described him as being the most dishonest person that he had ever come across in 40 years of practising law.“
A 32-year-old man has today been jailed for more than 10 years after pleading guilty to the rape of a child.
Wayne Knowles of Coronation Road, Holt, was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court by Judge Bacon after previously admitting to the rape of a girl under the age of 13 in the North Norfolk area.
Knowles was arrested on suspicion of possession of indecent images on 16 March after a warrant was carried out at his address by members of Norfolk Constabulary’s Safeguarding Children Online Team (SCOLT).
A number of electrical items were seized including an Asus laptop, a Toshiba laptop and an LG mobile phone. Following forensic examination a series of Category A images were found.
The images were discovered to have been taken by Knowles earlier in March and after officers identified the victim, he was subsequently arrested for the further offence of rape of a female under the age of 13.
Detective Sergeant Dave McCormack if of the SCOLT. “We hope such a case sends a strong message out to offenders that the internet is not a safe anonymous space for accessing indecent images or grooming and abusing children,” he said. “They leave a digital footprint and we will find it.
“The crime committed by Knowles was truly abhorrent, a crime carried out to satisfy his own sexual gratification and which has scarred the lives of the victim and her family.”
Knowles was sentenced to eight years six months in prison for the rape charge and two years for the possession of indecent images charge – to run consecutively.
He today also pleaded guilty to possession of indecent images, possession of prohibited images, possession of extreme images and two counts of voyeurism. He was sentenced to two years for possession of prohibited images, 16 months for possession of extreme images and 12 months each for the two voyeurism charges. These sentences are to run concurrently with the above sentences.
Knowles was placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.
Detective Sergeant Dave McCormack said anyone affected by similar sex offences should come forward. “We have dedicated team officers who are specially trained to undertake difficult and emotive investigations on a daily basis,” he said. “We would urge anyone who has been abused or sexually assaulted to come forward, safe in the knowledge that we, together with our partners within child protection, will provide help and support, and do all we can to identify, charge and bring before the courts those responsible.”
Since the referendum result on the status of British membership of the European Union was announced last Friday 24 June, Dorset Police has seen no related increase in reports of hate crime as compared to the same period last year.
Dorset Police would like to reassure local residents that whilst the national spike in hate crime is not affecting reporting in the county, Dorset Police remains vigilant and firm in its resolve that hate crime is unacceptable and will be dealt with robustly.
Mark Cooper is the Assistant Chief Constable. “All forms of hate crime are unacceptable in any circumstances,” he said. “Hatred not only has the potential to cause serious physical and emotional harm, it damages communities and undermines the diversity and tolerance we should be instead celebrating.
“Dorset Police will respond robustly to any incidents. Tackling hate crime is a priority for the Force and we are working with our communities and partners to stamp it out.
“The Force is working to build increased confidence in reporting hate crime. We want to encourage victims to come forward in confidence either directly to us or to the supporting agencies we work with.
“In partnership with Borough of Poole and Bournemouth Borough Council, Dorset Police developed an innovative hate crime app. The app encourages people to report these crimes to enable the police to bring offenders to justice. The app can be downloaded by typing ‘Hate Crime 2’ into your app search engine.”
Hate crime can take many forms, including verbal abuse, physical assault, domestic abuse, harassment and damage to property. Such crime is targeted at a person because of prejudice towards a person’s race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity.
Karen Duke-Glover leads Dorset Police’s dedicated People, Confidence and Equality team. “We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in the provision of all our services,” she said. “Tackling hate crime is a priority for the Force. We will continue to work closely with Prejudice Free Dorset and other partnership organisation, to ensure we are fully aware of any issues facing our local community.
“The most important thing victims or witnesses of hate crime can do is come forward. Hate crime is known to be widely under-reported. We are sensitive to all the issues, fears and barriers when the public report incidents to Dorset Police. If you have concerns about notifying the police, there are other places and people you can report to.
“Third party reporting centres in Dorset include Access Dorset, Autism Wessex, Borough of Poole, Bournemouth Borough Council, Bournemouth People First, Dorset County Council, Intercom Trust, People Fist Dorset, Poole Forum and Victim Support.”
If you think you may have experienced or witnessed hate crime, report it by contacting Dorset Police, contacting Crimestoppers or using the True Vision website (report-it.org.uk), where you can also find advice about staying safe. In an emergency, dial 999.
New police guidance to support officers responding to suicide has been published for consultation today.
It is the first time draft guidance has been produced for the police so that officers are given the most up to date knowledge and advice to both suicide prevention and response.
Published by the professional body for the police, it will assist forces in creating suicide prevention plans such as the process in place at the British Transport Police, which has teams that prevent many deaths every year.
Suicide is often the end point of a complex history of risk factors and distressing events. Most people who choose to end their lives do so for complex reasons. Life events do not necessarily need to be of a serious nature but merely a trigger for emotional or behavioural distress building from a number of risk factors for suicide in an individual’s life.
This guidance has been written with input from Samaritans, British Transport Police and Papyrus, which works in prevention of young suicide.
It will help officers to identify those at risk of suicide, manage risk and assist those bereaved by suicide.
Other areas covered include identifying locations and places that are being repeatedly used for suicide, the first response to people who are considering or threatening suicide, potential suicide as a result of on-line harassment bullying or trolling and suicide pacts.
There is an emphasis on police welfare for officers and staff who handle such situations and the guidance says forces should provide access to emotional support via occupational health, staff associations and outside organisations.
Mark Smith is Head of Suicide Prevention and Mental Health at British Transport Police. “Protecting life is a key part of policing and we are delighted to have assisted the College of Policing in producing this guidance, which we hope will assist officers across the UK in tackling suicide and helping people in crisis,” he said.
The guidance will be out for consultation until 17 August 2016 and you can respond by visiting the Authorised Professional Practice website.
Dr James Rhoads, a Westminster College professor of political science, has co-authored an article involving a Q-methodological inquiry.
Entitled, “Are quests for a ‘culture of assessment’ mired in a ‘culture war’ over assessment? A Q-methodological inquiry,” the article was published in a recent issue of SAGE Open.
Co-authored by Dr Larry Bass, retired professor of political science at Valparaiso University, and Dr Dan Thomas, professor of political science at Wartburg College, the article focuses in the assessment movement in higher education, which has generated some of the most heated and widespread arguments in academia.
According to the abstract: “Because one critical lesson of extant research in this area is that ‘metrics matter,’ we approach the subjective controversy over outcomes assessment through an application of Q methodology.”
Forty faculty and administrators from several different institutions completed the Q-sort which resulted in two song factors: the Anti-Assessment Stalwarts and the Defenders of the Faith. Suggestions are offered regarding strategies for reconciling these ‘dueling narratives’ on outcomes assessment.
SAGE Open is a peer-reviewed online journal that publishes original research and review articles in an interactive open-access format. The articles may span the full spectrum of the social and behavioral sciences and the humanities.
Rhoads, who has been with Westminster since 1992, earned his undergraduate and masters degrees and a PhD from Kent State University.
A French/English couple have described how a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe is helping them deal with the effects of a cyber-stalking and harassment ordeal as they try to save their home.
Steve Paris and Angel Garden had to relocate their family back to the UK from New Zealand to fight what has been described as a persistent networked covert harassment campaign by skeptic Andrew Lewis, and British couple Richard and Melanie Byng, who describes herself as a Humanist.
Richard Byng and Melanie Byng originally showered the family with promises of support for their stand against bullying and admiration for their online publications. “They were so well-connected and influential,” Steve Paris explained. “Angel’s mum was dying so she was vulnerable when we visited the UK and Melanie just moved in on her, initiating lots of sudden involvement between our families on the pretext of helping because of the imminent bereavement.”
But within weeks, the gushing admiration of Richard and Melanie Byng had changed into framing Angel Garden as being likely to kill her own children through mental illness, and this was being spread about covertly. Richard Byng’s position as a Professor at Plymouth University specialising in mental health helped to legitimise the untruths.
As Angel Garden explains, however, the court transcript shows Richard Byng admitting that their help had been offered because of the imminent death of Angel’s mother who had a sudden and fast growing lung cancer. “Their emails we got through disclosure showed how much the Byngs were lying to us even then,” she said. “They just basically moved in on us with all the sugar, and then when we fell for it, started putting the boot in. “They started their campaign right then, outwardly pretending total disinterest and refusing to speak to us, but actually they were cyberstalking me to the hospital and Melanie Byng was trying to convince everyone she could that my mum wasn’t really ill, or didn’t even exist at all, saying things like “one call from Richard to the hospital.
“In fact Mum died there soon after. And that was around the time their smear took shape, because we had the affront to call them out on their behaviour. I guess British elites are just too used to having their own way.”
Forced to go through a punishing civil action in defamation to get access to the covert course of conduct of Andrew Lewis and Richard and Melanie Byng, Steve Paris and Angel Garden are amazed at what they’ve learned. “There are laws to deal with this sort of targeted harassment that has a cumulative effect but they’re no use if they’re not used,” Steve Paris said.
The Protection from Harassment Act provides for acts characterised by stalking which involve putting people in alarm and distress, and also for acts which put targets in fear of violence. “Although it was a relief to know that the awful feelings I’d had of being watched and monitored were all true,” explained Angel Garden. “After the disclosure and knowing how they’d been scheming with ‘a psychiatrist’ and planning to set law enforcement on us, it has been frightening in a totally different way.
“I just have no idea what they might do to me, or when they might do it, but I do know that Melanie Byng said she would personally like to shoot me in the head.”
Steve Paris explained how this came about. “We know that they did all this just because we wrote about what was happening and offered them a right of reply,” he said.
In fact the family has, while being attacked in this manner, managed to finish the Human Rights process begun before they met the Byngs, achieving a landmark Human Rights settlement about bullying in Steiner schools. “Andrew Lewis and Melanie Byng are all over the media talking about how awful Steiner schools are,” Steve Paris explained. “Then they went into court and went against everything they normally say – and the judge just ignored all of that, and in fact he even totally contradicted himself in two judgements only a matter of weeks apart.
“The judge broke his promise to deal with the harassment in the case and just sided with them.
“The judgement is just a repeat of the defence, including most of the deliberate misquotes!
“Then he used all that as a reason to punish us by giving our home to the very people who have done all that on us, or their lawyers who defended them for free.”
The crowdfund is the family’s attempt to bring attention to this injustice before it’s too late. If they can’t pay the lawyers off to the sum of £240,000 before the end of August they will lose their home.
The GoFundMe page has only been up less than 48 hours and has already received £1,275 in 9 donations so far. Steve Paris explained his gratitude. “We’re incredibly grateful and humbled by the generosity of all the people who’ve donated so far,” he said. “It’s a huge amount of money, but we’ve got try try and do everything in our power to save our children’s home, and because of the way serious stalking and harassment has been trivialised by the Judge we are really worried the council may find that we’ve made ourselves intentionally homeless, so the crowdfund is our only way to try and stop any of that.
“Nobody should lose their home for correctly identifying that they are being covertly stalked and harassed – that’s the opposite of justice.”
An Out vote in the EU referendum would put the NHS at risk, but a Labour Government would be prepared to extend workers’ rights, Jeremy Corbyn told trade unionists today.
The Labour leader received a standing ovation as he addressed the conference of Unison, the large public sector union.
After yesterday saying that Labour is “very ready” for the possibility of a snap election, he appeared more cautious this morning, telling delegates in Brighton that “we need to be mobilised as a movement as never before” to get into power.
Unison represents thousands of workers in the health service, and Corbyn warned the room that “a vote to leave would put our NHS in jeopardy.”
But he also focussed on what he wanted to do as leader after the referendum: “We want to make sure that we develop policies that are about redistribution of wealth but also about unlocking the talent of everyone in society,” he said.
Jeremy Corbyn said that victories over the Government since he became leader last September, on areas such as tax credits and academy schools, should be used as a platform to winning elections. “The message that comes from that is whenever we do things together, we achieve victories,” he said. “And we can achieve much more. We can defeat austerity and build a better society.
“To win a general election we need to be mobilised as a movement as never before, with one agenda that’s different on the economy, and is about bringing equality to our society.”
In his first Unison conference address as Labour leader, Corbyn also said a government led by him would not only protect but strengthen trade union and employment rights. “We would be a government that says that trade unions are a force for good and a force for equality in our society,” he added.
The number of websites allowing patients to post reviews of the care they receive from their GP practices is increasing. But doctors say that many reviews are unfairly negative and even abusive, with GPs often unable to respond to anonymous reviewers.
Leeds GP Richard Vautrey says that the profession is left increasingly open to criticism on TripAdvisor-style websites where care, compassion and life-saving expertise are rated by patients as if they were restaurants or hotels. “It is very easy to be a popular doctor, but it’s much harder to be a good one,” he said.
Government-run ratings website NHS Choices has given patients the chance to have their say about health services since 2007, with ratings out of five given for staff and practices — and anonymous messages left permanently for all the world to see.
In just nine years since its formation, the site has grown to 48 million views a month, according to NHS figures. And in recent years, several privately operated alternatives have sprung up — offering to guide patients through their choices.
But concerned doctors say the websites are leading to abuse, personal attacks and libellous comments — and could even pressure staff into providing treatment that isn’t in the best interests of patients in order to satisfy their demands.
Dr Richard Vautrey is also BMA GPs committee deputy chair. “Practices have had grave concerns with the simplistic and misleading sites such as NHS Choices, which bases judgements on the feedback from tiny numbers of patients who often have a particular axe to grind,” he said. “Such sites often don’t provide patients with useful or balanced information that patients can use to make truly evidence-based judgements about a practice or the care it delivers.”
The BMA supports patient choice within the NHS where possible but has raised concerns about simple measures being used to define quality — the belief being that there is more to good care than headline statistics.
Bill Beeby is deputy chair of the GPC GP clinical and prescribing sub-committee. “I think if people use them properly it could be helpful, but that is not always the case,” he said. “Nobody is in a rush to give good reviews.”
The Middlesbrough-based GP’s practice has been scarred with reviews ranging from the insulting to the potentially libellous — including one that said: “It is with no doubt that this surgery is failing patients.”
Irfan Malik is a GP in Sherwood, Nottinghamshire. “Patients don’t always get what they want,” he said. “The doctor will have managed the situation correctly but the patient is not happy and may give a low rating.”
Dr Malik’s surgery is given a five-star rating overall on NHS Choices based on 49 reviews, but a couple of patients have given one-star reviews, citing ‘poor service’ or ‘long waiting times’. “The majority of doctors dislike the ratings websites as people mostly go on to them to leave negative feedback and some can be hurtful,” he said. “Many practices, even the better ones, have low or medium scores. Some of the ratings websites can be difficult for the doctor or practice to reply to or challenge the comments.
“We have so many hoops and assessments to jump through in general practice — further ratings websites would add to the already intense stress of the job.”
In the UK there are still only a handful of private websites where patients are actively rating their doctors in any number, but some are taking off.
One of those websites, iWantGreatCare.org, shows thorough listings for GP surgeries, doctors and healthcare centres, with some receiving up to 3,000 reviews each.
In healthcare, rating systems are far more widely used in the USA, with a 2013 study of more than 4,000 people, by a firm called Profitable Practice, showing that around 60 per cent checked online before selecting a doctor.
And a simple search for a dermatology consultant in New York on a major website such as www.healthgrades.com , which gives doctors a rating out of five stars for patient satisfaction and a graph where their suitability to the patient’s needs is measured out of 100, reveals more than 400 doctors to choose from.
In 2012 a doctor in South Carolina admitted to prescribing a powerful opioid analgesic, Dilaudid (hydromorphone), to a patient with toothache — a measure described by a colleague of the doctor as ‘killing a flea with a sledgehammer‘.
When questioned about the decision, the doctor said he had been given low scores by patients during the previous month on one of the USA’s leading ratings websites, Press Ganey, and was angling for that to change.
And in 2013 a doctor at a Massachusetts hospital filed a $100,000 lawsuit against a patient who criticised his dying wife’s care in an open letter online — with the contents argued to be defamatory.
The challenge for GPs will be to engage with people in order to continue to provide high-quality care and the choice that patients want and deserve, but there must be a much greater sense of responsibility from those who expose them to unfair and demoralising criticism.
Many startups have the problem that they are unable to compete with bigger players in the same market. One Denmark-based company has shown growth can happen by working with the big firms, so much so strategies for growth need to change to focus on consolidation and product enhancement.
Danish startup Shopbox, has been so successful at generating new customers, it is now planning to streamline the business to focus on aligning the business with the needs of those customers.
The move follows a recent cooperation with the giants of Microsoft and HP. These partners have financed and launched a Windows 10 version of the successful Shopbox app with the aim of cutting queue waiting times and delivering faster service.
With enough customers to sustain the company and its customers, Shopbox now intends to focus on enhancing their product to improve the entire experience for customers, from onboarding to daily use of the hospitality. Christian Zigler is the founder and CEO of Shopbox. “If we want to compete with the big guys such as Oracle, NCR, and others, we need to make sure we have the same focus on stability and speed as they have,” he said. “Merchants may want multi-function, cloud-based mPOS, but it has to be stable and fast also.
“The project with Microsoft has made Shopbox a much better product, but we need to spend a little more time making it the most future-proof and stable POS out there.”
Since the launch of the Shopbox iOS app just over a year ago on the App Store, it has been installed on over 400 terminals in the Nordics. The company’s strategy is now based on growth in order to focus on one of its core values of providing an excellent, stable, and simple product. The ambition is to make the already popular app even better and more stable. The vision of Shopbox to help businesses increase their profits by managing their business more effectively remains the core aim of the company during this new process of development.
CEO Christian Zigler explains why Shopbox has informed partners it is not taking any new customers and that therefore there is a waiting time in integrating with Shopbox. “We are contacted daily by several business owners and partners who are interested in Shopbox or want to partner with us,” he said. “This is amazing and it feels good to experience the demand, but it also feels good to say no to certain opportunities in order to focus on the right ones.
“It feels good to grow up and be wanted instead of chasing all the time.”
For more information about when the company will launch its new and improved app, those interested can sign up online at www.shopbox.com.