Burglar who targeted Alness Drive house is jailed

A prolific offender who burgled houses and went on a spending spree with stolen bankcards has been jailed for over six years.

Andrew Minskip, 37, appeared in the dock this week accused of breaking into a house in Alness Drive, York on 29 August 2019.

Just before discovering the burglary, the homeowners were alerted by their bank that there had been a number of fraudulent transactions on their bankcard during the day.

Minskip was later identified by police officers on CCTV using the stolen bankcard in local newsagents.

He was tracked by a police dog the following week in the vicinity of a second burglary at the Buckles Inn on the A64 and arrested.

Following an investigation, Minskip was charged with the burglaries on Alness Drive and at the Buckles Inn, in addition to three others at houses on Lycett Road, in Skiddaw and Strensall Park.

He was also charged with two thefts, two counts of fraud and one count of driving with no insurance – all committed between 10 August 2019 and 7 September 2019.

Another man, 39 year-old Richard Sampson, was also caught after officers recognised him on CCTV using the bankcard from the Alness Drive burglary on a separate occasion, and was charged with two burglaries and two counts of fraud.

On Wednesday 15 January, at York Crown Court, Minskip, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty and was jailed for six years and three months. He was also ordered to pay a victims surcharge of £181.

Sampson, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to the two frauds and was jailed for seven months.

Commenting on the sentences, Investigating officer DC Kyle Boad of North Yorkshire Police’s Expedite team said:
“Minskip burgled his victims’ homes, helping himself to their personal possessions and bank cards before fraudulently using them to go on a spending spree around York. It was only a matter of time until we located and arrested him.
“Whilst no-one was hurt in this case, the trauma of knowing someone has broken into your home can’t be underestimated – the impact of burglary is devastating and long lasting for victims.
“Neither MInskip nor Sampson showed any remorse for their actions and denied all involvement in their crimes throughout the investigation. I hope that this outcome will provide some comfort to their victims in the knowledge that they are both behind bars where they belong.
What to do if you have been burgled

Ring 999 if you believe the offender is still in your house or has just run away; if not use the 101 number. You will be given a crime number to quote in an insurance claim, or if you want to contact police with any follow-up queries.

Try to preserve the crime scene for any forensic evidence that may be of use to the police. If possible, do not touch anything or allow your children or pets into the same rooms that the burglar has been in.

For more advice visit northyorkshire.police.uk/homesecurity

39 year-old Richard Sampson has been jailed for seven months

Appeal following burglary in Huntsmans Walk

North Yorkshire Police is appealing for witnesses and information about a burglary that occurred in Acomb, York.

It happened at Huntsmans Walk between 1pm and 3.30pm on Thursday 2 January 2020. Items of jewellery were stolen.

We are requesting the public’s assistance to help establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident.

In particular, we are appealing for information about any witnesses that were in the area or anyone who has CCTV in the local area.

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2, and ask for PC 41 David Ellison You can also email 000041@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can pass information to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Please quote the North Yorkshire Police reference number 12200001011.Contact details:Dave Ellison – #0041
000041@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk | 30041Incident reference:12200001011

Crime levels in York

The latest crime figures taken from the nation policing web site (click) show a stable picture in York.

A lot of effort has gone into making the City centre safer and this shows with a slight downward trend in crime reports during the last 12 months.  The number of reports each month varies between 450 and 550. The largest number of incidents were reported in December 2018 so all eyes will be on the figures for last month when they become available.

Crime stats for York

Anti-social behaviour accounts for 34% of the reports.   This is in line with the popular conception that the City centre can be a rowdy environment at times.

Looking at the area outside the centre, which includes a large rural neighbourhood, crime reports have averaged around 1300 a month over the last year.

Anti social behaviour again is the most frequent report (31%) but is closely followed by “violence and sexual offences” (26%). The latter is mainly domestic disagreements.

A lot of historic information is available at a more local level.

Crime stats for the Westfield ward

In the Westfield Ward crime reports average around 150 a month.  Reports peak in the summer months.

Anti social behaviour (33%) and violence (28%) are the biggest issues.  10% of reports concern criminal damage (vandalism, graffiti etc) and arson.

Westfield crime reports in 2014/15

A graph of crime reports in Westfield (left), prepared 5 years ago, shows a very similar volume of issues.

The Police are currently recruiting additional officers and PCSOs in North Yorkshire.

£499 penalty for York woman convicted of Blue Badge misuse

A woman in York has pleaded guilty to misusing a relative’s disabled badge to illegally park in York city centre.

Lisa Parker (aged 32 of Campleshon Road, York) was found to have used the Blue Badge to park on Castlegate on 14 June 2019. The case was referred to Veritau, the council’s fraud investigation team, after a member of the parking team spotted the van parked on double yellow lines and displaying the badge.

Blue Badges make it easier for people to travel and maintain independence, however can be open to abuse. Blue Badges allow people to park in certain locations including double yellow lines and disabled spaces, however these benefits are only intended for the badge holder, or someone who is transporting them.

The badge holder must be either in the vehicle when it is parked, or in the vehicle when it leaves the location it was parked in. If a person drops the badge holder off and then goes to park elsewhere, the badge cannot be used, as the badge holder is no longer with them.

If someone is picking up a badge holder, then they can only use the badge to park in the place where they are picking them up. A Blue Badge cannot be used without the badge holder, even if errands are being run for them.

On 14 June 2019, a City of York Council parking officer saw a Blue Badge displayed in the window of a van parked on Castlegate. After identifying the badge number, investigators found that the same badge was subject to an investigation in 2017, with the same vehicle parked in the same place. The vehicle belonged to Ms Parker, who used the same relative’s Blue Badge to park there without the badge holder, for which she had already received a warning from the council.

Ms Parker was invited to an interview under caution on 13 August 2019 but refused to attend. The previous misuse of the badge in 2017 was a factor in City of York Council deciding to seek prosecution in this case.

Ms Parker pleaded guilty by post and was sentenced in York Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 17 December 2019. She received a fine and was ordered to pay court costs and victim surcharge, totalling £499.

Councillor Denise Craghill, Executive Member for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods, said: “This case shows that the council takes Blue Badge misuse seriously and is committed to taking action to prevent misuse of the Blue Bade system, which supports drivers and passengers with disabilities.

“In this instance, the resident had parked their car illegally on double yellow lines in the city centre and displayed a badge to avoid paying a fine, despite previously receiving a warning for the same thing. This could have prevented someone with disabilities and a genuine need for the Blue Badge parking from using it.”

Any members of the public with information on fraudulent activity are encouraged to phone the anonymous fraud hotline on 0800 9179 247, or email counter.fraud@veritau.co.uk.

Police campaign against Cyber Fraud stepped up

A new resource is available to assist North Yorkshire residents in protecting themselves against cyber enabled fraud.

The Cyber Helpline  provides free, expert support for victims of cyber-crime in the region. If successful it will be rolled out across the country.

The Cyber Helpline is a not-for-profit that has had support from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and has reached the semi-finals of the National Cyber Security Centre Accelerator programme. 

Using volunteer cyber security experts and a smart chatbot they provide free, expert help to any member of the public 13 years old and older. Its focus is helping individuals understand, contain, recover and learn from online security issues. 

To see how this resource can help you visit www.thecyberhelpline.com

Too many drunks in York… too few Police?

A resident has written to us about rowdy behaviour in the City Centre this weekend.

Its an issue that has grown in recent years and one that will tarnish the City’s image unless addressed by the authorities.

Firm action is now required.

Next Saturday seeks a local derby football match in the City. That may put additional pressures on policing resources.

The timing of the match doesn’t look to be particularly enlightened.

Anti drink driving push in York including random breath tests

Campaign launches by urging drivers to ‘Do one good deed this Christmas – be a designated driver’

Motorists in North Yorkshire are being encouraged to do a very simple good deed this Christmas – volunteer to be a designated driver.

Carnage: The driver of this vehicle was recently convicted of drink driving and other motoring offences following a crash in Ryedale.

It’s part of the county’s Christmas campaign to reduce drink and drug driving, which is being launched today.

Police are encouraging people to be designated drivers both during a night out with friends or colleagues, or to help them get to work the morning after a big night, then asking their friends to return the favour.

That way, everyone gets a night out and no one gets arrested.

Traffic Sergeant Andy Morton said: “While some people we encounter simply don’t care whether they break the law, others have gone out with the intention of ‘just having one’, but the atmosphere or peer pressure gets the better of them.

“We also arrest a lot of people the morning after a heavy session, and many are mortified to learn they’re still over the limit.

“As this is the season of good will, we’re asking motorists in North Yorkshire to do their good deed this Christmas. Good friends look out for each other. Volunteering to be a designated driver for your friends or colleagues just once, and asking them to return the favour, means everyone gets a night out and no one gets arrested. It really is that simple, but it could save a life.”

North Yorkshire Police arrested 123 suspected drink and drug drivers last December.

Many received driving bans of more than a year and were fined hundreds of pounds. Magistrates also gave community orders and suspended sentences to a handful of offenders.

All those who were banned also face sky-high insurance premiums when their disqualification expires.

Dave Winspear Group Manager Prevention for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “We often attend serious road traffic collisions where alcohol has been involved. We encourage everyone to have alternative arrangements to get home from any event where they’ve had an alcoholic drink. We’d also like to remind people to be aware of the time it takes for alcohol to leave their system, as there’s a risk you could still be over the limit the following morning.”

North Yorkshire Police will be conducting random roadside checks across the entire county throughout December.

They will also be gathering intelligence about repeat offenders and targeting those individuals.

Help us keep North Yorkshire’s roads safe. If you know someone who regularly drinks and drives, call North Yorkshire Police on 101. If you see an offence happening or about to happen, report it on 999 immediately.

20 months suspended jail sentence for £86,000 social care fraud

A York man has been given a 20 month suspended sentence for a case of fraud which deprived the public purse of over £86k, in the first social care fraud prosecution by Veritau and City of York Council

Neil Long (aged 54 of Leighton Croft, York) failed to inform City of York Council, who funded his mother’s social care, when his parents’ property was sold in 2014. The case was investigated by Veritau, City of York Council’s counter fraud provider, and successfully prosecuted by the council.

This is the first prosecution of a social care fraud by the council’s legal department and an area of development for the counter fraud team. The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) found that in 2018/19 losses due to adult social care fraud cases nationally had risen by 104% from the previous year.

City of York Council received information that Mr Long, the financial representative for his mother, had sold his parents’ property in 2014 and received £198,000 that he had not declared despite receiving social care funding.

The investigation found that on two separate occasions during 2015, Mr Long informed the council that his parents were still joint owners of the property and that his father still lived there.

During this period, the council spent £86,000 on social care for Mr Long’s mother, which has now been collected in full, as a result of joint working between Veritau and financial investigators from City of York’s Trading Standards team.

Appearing at York Magistrates Court on Tuesday 8 October 2019, Mr Long plead guilty to two charges of fraud by false representation.

The case was referred to York Crown Court for sentencing on Wednesday 4 December 2019, where Mr Long was given a 20 month suspended sentence and 80 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to repay all council costs of over £1,100 and an £80 victim surcharge.

When sentencing, the judge stated that a significant factor in mitigation was the repayment of £86,000 that Mr Long made to the council.

Sharon Houlden, Corporate Director of Health, Housing and Adult Social Care at City of York Council, said: “Adult social care funds support many individuals within the city and fraud like this reduces our ability to help people and make meaningful differences in their lives. We work hard to protect public money and take all reports of fraud seriously.”

Any members of the public with information on fraudulent activity are encouraged to phone the anonymous fraud hotline on 0800 9179 247.

A 24 hour voicemail facility is available, or you can email counter.fraud@veritau.co.uk.

£630 for fly-tipping furniture in car park

A York woman has been ordered to pay £630 for repeatedly fly-tipping, despite receiving waste disposal advice from City of York Council.

York Magistrates heard on Tuesday (3 December 2019) that Sharn Ogden (aged 27 of Martins Court, York) was seen disposing of a table and chairs in the car park of Martins Court on 29 July 2019.

City of York Council enforcement officers made multiple attempts to contact Ms Ogden, which she failed to respond to. On 13 August 2019, Ms Ogden admitted to leaving the waste and said she would take the items to the Household Waste and Recycling Centre. However when officers returned to Martins Court on 13 October 2019, the items had not been removed.

Since 2016, Ms Ogden has received several home visits from enforcement officers regarding waste issues in the area, six letters advising her how to present her waste correctly and two fly-tipping warnings.

Ms Ogden continued to present her waste unlawfully, has been charged for the removal of items and had now been prosecuted.

She attended court and pleaded guilty to one offence of fly-tipping. She was fined £312 by York Magistrates (3 December 2019) and ordered to pay costs of £286 and a surcharge of £32.

Tom Brittain Assistant Director for Housing and Community Safety at City of York Council, said: “We offer plentiful advice to residents on how to dispose of waste lawfully and safely and, as this and other cases show, we will take action when people fly-tip.

“It is important that rubbish is put out for collection as directed by the council. If you are unsure of your collection days, you can check at www.york.gov.uk/RefuseLookup or by calling us on 01904 551550.

“Residents can also take waste to our household waste recycling centres – see www.york.gov.uk/wasteandrecycling – or arrange for the council to collect it via www.york.gov.uk/BulkyWaste.”

Theft from vehicles exploiting key-less entry loop hole

The media are reporting today that a York Councillor’s car has fallen victim to a crime which may have exploited the vulnerabilities of “keyless” entry.

The incident, which took place “on street” in the Albemarle Road area of York, resulted in theft from the boot of the car.

Faraday pouch

You can find some advice on avoiding this type of theft via this link with more here

Essentially car owners are being recommended to store their car keys in a “Faraday Bag” which effectively blocks radio signals. One example is the “Defender” which can be found by clicking here

No doubt North Yorkshire police will be issuing more advice on what may be a growing issue.