Doorstep Crime Awareness Week 14 – 18 October

City of York Council is raising awareness of doorstep crime ahead of Doorstop Crime Awareness Week between 14 and 18 October.

The authority is working in partnership with colleagues from across the Yorkshire and Humber region as well as trading standards to provide advice to residents during the week.

The council is reaching out to provide a range of support and advice during the week to help those who are most targeted. Criminals are known to target the elderly and vulnerable by unsolicited door knocks or putting leaflets through their doors.

The following support will be provided during the week:

Meet us for advice at a city centre bus stop:

Trading standards officers will be based at city centre bus stops throughout the week, including outside the Theatre Royal on St Leonard’s Place (Tuesday and Friday) or Stonebow (Monday, Wed and Friday), to provide face-to-face advice between 9am and 10.30am.

Drop your leaflets into one of our collection boxes:

We know criminals use leaflets to pose as legitimate traders. Some of the bogus claims to lure vulnerable or unsuspecting residents into agreeing to unnecessary discounts are often promoted as ‘OAP discounts, ‘established family businesses and ‘skilled tradesman’.

With the worst offenders repeatedly targeting their victims time and again.

Residents are encouraged to drop off any leaflets they think fall into this category for our trading standards teams to review. Drop off points are provided at the following locations, or email them to trading.standards@york.gov.uk

  • City of York Council’s West Offices
  • Age UK on Bishopthorpe Road, Burton Stone Lane and Fourth Avenue in Tang Hall
  • Bell Farm Social Hall, Roche Avenue
  • Foxwood Community Centre
  • Sainsbury’s, Monks Cross
  • Costcutter, Wheldrake
  • Burnholme Community Hub, Baf Bargain Lane, Heworth
  • The Old Butcher’s Coffee Shop, Dunnington
  • St Hilda’s Parish Church, Tang Hall Lane
  • The Folk Hall, Hawthorne Terrace, New Earswick
  • Fulford Library, Heslington Lane

FACTS: Know your rights:

  • If you agree to have work done (that is over £42), whilst the trader is in your home (whether they are invited or they call around uninvited) the trader is usually required to provide you with certain information regarding the contract such as a description of the work, the price and their contact details.
  • In general you should also be given information regarding a 14 day cooling off period to allow you to decide if you wish to go ahead with the work.
  • If the trader starts the work within this 14 day period, your right to cancel does not disappear however you may be required to pay for any work done up to the date of cancellation.
  • There are a number of exceptions to the above – including certain types of bespoke work. If you would like specific advice please contact the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 for more information.
  • Trading Standards would always recommend that residents do not deal on the doorstep and be wary of anyone rushing them to make a decision – genuine traders will not mind if you do not make a decision straightaway.
  • Residents should get three written quotes which include a breakdown of costs. A list of trading standards vetted traders can be found at: www.ageuk.org.uk/york/our-services/home-services-directory/

Cllr Andrew Waller, Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning, said: “Trading Standards Officers regularly receive reports of people cold calling residents to sell goods and services. In some cases we know residents have felt pressurised into parting with vast sums of money for unnecessary and poor quality products.

“We know that crimes of this nature are under-reported, and so we urge anyone with concerns or information to get in touch by contacting the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline on 03454 040506.”

Local dog owner to pay £3,200 for not complying with dog control notices

A dog owner who failed to microchip, control and prevent dogs from straying, was given a total of £3k to pay by York Magistrates on Tuesday 10 October 2019.

Alaskan Malamute

Lloyd Hunter (aged 37 of Boroughbridge Road, York) was convicted in his absence to offences of failing to correctly microchip two Alaskan Malamutes, transferring a third Alaskan Malamute to another person with an incorrect microchip, and failure to comply with a community protection notice on two occasions.

Between July and October 2018, the dogs were regularly reported to City of York Council after straying onto neighbouring properties, including a children’s nursery. The council also discovered the dogs had incorrectly registered microchips.

Mr Hunter was issued multiple notices in October 2018 that required him to register the animals correctly with a relevant database operator, as well as a warning to keep his dogs under control.

Following further complaints in November 2018, Mr Hunter was issued with a Community Protection Notice requiring him to secure his property and ensure that his dogs were kept under proper control.

On 1 January 2019, a stray Alaskan Malamute that Mr Hunter had reportedly sold to a friend, was found to be still registered to the original owner, who Mr Hunter had purchased the dog from a few years earlier.

Another dog in Mr Hunter’s possession was also found straying by a local resident and returned on 12 June 2019, after the dog escaped and ran across the A1237.

The previous month, on 31 May 2019, Mr Hunter was walking three Alaskan Malamutes in Millennium Gardens, Nether Poppleton, when the dogs ran out of sight and attacked a Cockapoo. The dogs were off the lead and left the Cockapoo with injuries requiring over one week of veterinary treatment.

In interview during the investigation, Mr Hunter said that he was unaware of any injuries to the Cockapoo at the time of the incident, and also bought a stronger lead to prevent further escapes from his property. He also stated that he mistakenly registered his dogs through a discounted database, which is not recognised by local authorities.

Mr Hunter was convicted in his absence having failed to attend court. He was ordered to pay fines of £1,790, costs of £1,334.28 and a victim surcharge of £66.

Cllr Denise Craghill, Executive Member for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods, said: “Responsible dog owners ensure that their animals are kept under control when out in public and properly secured when at home.”

“Since the law changed in 2015 all dogs must not only have identification tags, but they must also be microchipped with all details recorded on a relevant database operator. A list of these database operators can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/get-your-dog-microchipped.”

Graffiti removed from street furniture in east York

Following action by Cllr Mark Walters, Virgin media have cleaned graffiti from many of their cabinets in east York. The above are in Tang Hall.
Unfortunately, the position in west York seems to have deteriorated with more graffiti appearing. This BT telephone kiosk in Beagle Ridge Drive is due to be removed shortly, but in the meantime it has become a target for the “artists” The Foxwood Residents Association has now formally complained about the amount of litter in the neighbourhood. They wat to see the return of “lengths-men” and dedicated estate workers, The Foxwood shops forecourt is a particular problem area.

With shorter days, the reliability of street lighting will once again become a priority. No doubt local Councillors will be undertaking a sweep of their wards checking for faults. Residents also may want to report issues. Generally faulty bulbs are replaced quickly if reported via the Councils “on line” site https://www.york.gov.uk/reportproblems (click)

Appeal for information following assault at McColl’s on Gale Lane

North Yorkshire Police is appealing for information after a member of staff was assaulted at the McColl’s store on Gale Lane, Acomb.

The incident happened at around 9.10pm on Saturday 14 September and involved a male who went into the store and assaulted a member of staff.

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2, and ask for Ben Sykes. You can also email Benjamin.sykes866@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 12190171098.

Contact details:Ben Sykes – #0866 Benjamin.sykes866@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk | 30866Incident reference:12190171098

& another burglary, this time in Askham Lane

At approximately 4:20 today (11/09/2019) there has been a burglary on Askam Lane. 2 offenders possibly ran towards the Tedder Road / Cornlands Road area.
If you saw anything suspicious or have any information that will assist the police with their enquiries please call 101 and state the reference number – NYP – 11092019 – 0341

Burglary in Foxwood

Police are reporting that there was a “sneak in” burglary in Martin Cheeseman Court , Foxwood.

The incident took place yesterday, Tuesday 10th September between 6:00pm and 9:15pm

If you saw anything suspicious or have any information that will assist the police with their enquiries please call 101 and state the following incident number – 12190168674

Appeal for information following a serious assault on Hob Moor

North Yorkshire Police is appealing for witnesses and information about a serious assault that occurred recently in the Hob Moor area of York.

It happened at around 6pm on Wednesday 4 September and involved the serious assault of a 64-year-old local man who was walking his dog on Hob Moor.

The victim received facial injuries and lacerations to his mouth which required hospital treatment.

As a result of the current police investigation, a 63-year-old man from York was arrested and has since been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

We are asking for the public’s help establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident.

In particular we are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the incident to come forward with any information they have.

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2, and ask for Phil Kennedy. You can also email philip.kennedy@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

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

Please quote reference number 12190164399.

National campaign to recruit 20,000 police officers launches today

·       Home Office campaign features serving police officers and urges people to join the police and ‘Be a force for all’
·       Up to 200 officers could be recruited in North Yorkshire
·       North Yorkshire Police’s Deputy Chief Constable Phil Cain is encouraging potential recruits to register their interest at northyorkshire.police.uk/JoinUs

A national campaign to recruit 20,000 new police officers is launched today (Thursday) – urging people to join the police and ‘Be a force for all’.

The police recruitment drive is the biggest in decades and could mean an additional 200 police officers across North Yorkshire.

The ‘Be a force for all’ campaign has been developed by the Home Office in partnership with the police and using feedback from the public via independent research.

It features serving police officers, including a neighbourhood officer, a police dog handler and a firearms officer. One of the officers started as a volunteer Special Constable, while another is a former charity executive who changed career.

They appear on billboards and digital displays at locations across England and Wales, including at shopping centres and railway stations, as well as in a radio advertisement.

A new website has also been set up to provide potential recruits with more information and direct those interested in policing in North Yorkshire to the recruitment pages on North Yorkshire Police’s website.

Potential recruits can also express their interest before recruitment opens in North Yorkshire directly on the force’s website at northyorkshire.police.uk/JoinUs

A second phase of advertising is planned for the New Year.

Deputy Chief Constable Phil Cain of North Yorkshire Police said:

“This is an exciting opportunity for anyone considering a career in policing to join our team.

“The role of the Police Officer is one of the most important parts of the policing family. No other job gives you the sense of satisfaction like this job does – you will be the frontline of the criminal justice system, helping people in their time of need and assisting when they are at their most vulnerable. It is a challenging but extremely rewarding role which offers long-term career opportunities.

“There is no denying that 200 additional officers will make a significant difference to policing in North Yorkshire but for us to achieve that figure we need people to apply. We’ll be announcing further details when recruitment opens in North Yorkshire soon but in the meantime, please register your interest here: northyorkshire.police.uk/JoinUs

“We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and experiences and recognise that the more our force reflects the diverse communities that we serve, the stronger it becomes. Whether you are just starting out in your career or are a more experienced and mature individual looking for your next challenge, this is your police force, please come and join it.”

For more information visit joiningthepolice.co.uk

Forged tenancy agreements used in council tax fraud

An investigation into a council tax fraud involving forged tenancy agreements has been uncovered and successfully prosecuted by City of York Council.

Joanne Smith (aged 39 previously of Howden Lane, Crockey Hill), provided the council with three forged private tenancy agreements for properties within the York area between 2017 and 2018.

The agreements stated that she was the sole tenant at each property, when in fact she had an additional adult living with her. This meant she was not entitled to the £1,202.43 council tax reduction nor the £618.34 single person discount that she claimed.

An investigation into the authenticity of these tenancy agreements was conducted by Veritau, the council’s fraud investigation service. Veritau were notified of the fraud following concerns that the documents Miss Smith had provided were false and were an attempt to obtain a reduction to her council tax that she was not entitled to.

During the course of the investigation, Miss Smith was interviewed under caution by Veritau officers and admitted to forging one of the tenancy agreements, and that she had provided it to the council to obtain a reduction to her council tax.

The investigation concluded with Miss Smith pleading guilty to one charge of fraud and six charges of forgery and counterfeiting at York Magistrates Court on Monday 29 July 2019.

On Tuesday 20 August 2019, Miss Smith was sentenced by York Magistrates to a 14-month custodial sentence suspended for 18 months and 20 days of rehabilitation activity. She was also ordered to repay £1,820.77 which is the full amount of council tax reduction and single person discount, and to pay a victim surcharge of £115.

In her defence, the mitigating circumstances offered were that she and her children have health issues and that she had suffered a family bereavement in 2017.

Councillor Nigel Ayre, City of York Council’s Executive Member for Finance and Performance, said: “This is a case of fraud against the authority, made all the more serious by involving forged documents.

“The actions in this case were an attempt to defraud the public purse. We encourage anyone with any information on suspected fraudulent activity to phone the fraud hotline on 0800 9179 247 or email fraud@york.gov.uk .”

“Sliding bollards” plan for York City centre

Temporary measures introduced to protect York’s busiest city centre spaces from terrorist attacks could be made permanent by City of York Council next week.

Phase 1 of the vehicle exclusion zone

The Council’s Executive will consider the results of a trial restricting vehicle access to the busiest city centre streets during footstreet hours (10:30-17:00) at its meeting next Thursday (29 August)

The Councils consultation revealed major conflicts with the wishes of groups representing disabled people

More disabled parking is planned for Piccadilly

It has been criticised by a former Tory Councillor who said on social media “Almost everyone wants to pedestrianise our city centre. It should be about improving it and supporting business growth in difficult times…not terrorism

Changes were introduced last November following police counter terrorism advice for long-term measures to combat the ongoing threat of ‘vehicle as weapon attacks’ like those seen recently in Toronto, London and Nice.

If approved, a sliding bollard system would restrict access to Parliament Street, St Sampson’s Square, High Ousegate and Spurriergate, Coney Street, Davygate, Finkle Street, Church Street and Jubbergate during footstreet hours (10:30-17:00).

“Sliding” bollards are planned for the entrances to several streets.

The Executive introduced the measures on a temporary basis to allow for work to understand the impact of restricted access on key groups, including disabled people and others with limited mobility within a core part of the city centre.

The council commissioned studies of how blue badge parking changed throughout the period, alongside a series of workshops with individuals and groups representing disabled people in York.

In addition to the available parking on the streets next to the restricted area, the executive will consider mitigation proposals including:

•             continued access to St Sampson’s Square for Dial and Ride services

•             creating blue badge parking on the traffic-restricted section of Piccadilly, and converting the taxi rank to blue badge parking during the day time (10:00-18:00)

•             extending the parking time restrictions outside Explore on Museum Street from 2 to 3 hours

•             supporting marketing efforts for alternative services like Shopmobility and Dial and Ride

*If approved, the Piccadilly changes would be subject to a traffic regulation order change. The proposed changes would be advertised for up a three week period to allow for objections before a decision can be made.

Experiments with rising bollards in the past in York have encountered reliability issues. Reliability and maintenance costs are not considered in trhe Council report.

City centre future

The same meeting will consider launching a consultation exercise on the future of the City centre retail area. The area has change a lot in recent years with several shops being replaced by pubs and restaurants.

Problems with drunken behaviour have increased.

If approved, an engagement exercise “following the principles of early and ongoing public involvement, pioneered on the Castle Gateway regeneration scheme”, would begin in the new year.

This would deliver a “strategic vision for the city centre to guide future development, regeneration and investment decisions”.

The proposal has the support of the York BID and “Make it York”.

The Council report fails to address the needs of sub-urban high streets like Front Street