Advice from the Police on Corona Virus scams

The scams take several forms which include (so far):

·        Messages claiming to be from HMRC offering a tax refund due to changes in the law around Covid-19, recipients have to click a link which takes them to a fraudulent website

·        Messages claiming to be from the Center for Disease Control or from the World Health Organisation. These messages offer the recipient the chance to view a list of confirmed cases within their local area by clicking on a link and making a Bitcoin payment.

·        Emails claiming to be from a virologist sending an attached document with instructions on how to avoid the Coronavirus. The attachment is malicious.

·        Fraudulent online sales of masks and hand sanitiser which never materialise. If an online shopping offer looks too good to be true, then it probably is.

Please do not click on links or open attachments and take time to check that the email is from a legitimate source. Please be aware that fraudsters go to great lengths to make their communications with you look genuine.  

As Covid-19 continues to spread, fraudsters are likely to continue using the anxiety it generates to trick people out of their personal data and hard -earned money. You can find more information about the scams listed above online. The BBC have summarised these scams in this article https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-51838468

More than ever, as a community you need to be aware of those in your locality who are elderly, live alone and who are vulnerable. Please look after and support each other

Calling all budding young artists and designers – North Yorkshire Police needs you!

Wondering what to do over the half term break? Don’t want to sit around bored? Well, how about entering our Lifestyle logo competition and having a chance at winning a Sony Cybershot camera?

We’re looking for talented young artists and designers to give our Lifestyle Challenge logo an overhaul.

Just in case you haven’t heard of it, our Lifestyle Challenge is a competition that we run across the summer holidays every year, where we challenge kids across York and North Yorkshire to come up with a great project which benefits their street, their local community or their environment and then deliver it! We then celebrate everyone’s success at a glittering awards ceremony at York racecourse later in the year.

So, we’re currently working away on plans for this year’s challenge, but in the meantime, we think our Lifestyle logo needs a redesign and who better to ask than they talented children of York and North Yorkshire!

A picture of our current logo is below, but we think you can come up with better.

You can use any colour, design, font or typeface you like. The only thing we ask is that you include the words – “LIFESTYLE – make a difference in your community!

Once you’ve created your design, take a picture of it, or if you have created it digitally, send it as a PDF attachment to lifestyle@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk by Tuesday 31 March 2020.

The winning design will receive a fantastic Sony Cybershot camera which will be presented at the Lifestyle Awards ceremony later on this year.

So get creating – we can’t wait to see what you come up with!!

Competition open to children in York and North Yorkshire under the age of 18

Man fined £700 for misuse of blue badge in Duncombe Place

An investigation carried out by City of York Council has uncovered and successfully prosecuted a case of Blue Badge fraud in York city centre.

Christopher Wilson (aged 46 of Fox Howe, Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough) was found misusing a family member’s Blue Badge in York.

Mr Wilson was seen by a Civil Enforcement Officer, parked on Duncombe Place, near York Minster in August 2019.

During the course of the investigation, conducted by Veritau, the council’s fraud investigation service, Mr Wilson was interviewed under caution and admitted that he was the driver of the vehicle displaying the Blue Badge.

He confirmed that the badge holder was not present at any point of the journey and was at home in Middlesbrough. Mr Wilson and his wife had driven to York that day for a social occasion and were running late for a restaurant reservation, when he decided to use the Blue Bade to park on yellow lines.

Mr Wilson was sentenced by York Magistrates on 28 January 2020 after pleading guilty by post and apologising for his actions. He received a fine and was ordered to pay court costs and victim surcharge, totaling £701.

£2 million cost for anti terror measures in York

Includes £300,000 project at York Racecourse

The Council’s Executive will be asked to approve permanent measures to better protect York’s busy city centre from hostile vehicle terror attacks when they meet on Thursday 13 February.

Executive Members will be asked to approve the installation of sliding and fixed bollards, which will replace the temporary measures that were introduced ahead of the 2019 festive period. The previous measures were introduced following police and counter terrorism advice to combat the threat of ‘vehicle as weapon attacks’, like those seen in Toronto, London and Nice. 

Executive previously gave approval for officers to start the procurement process for the permanent measures when they met in August 2019. The permanent measures will see vehicle access restricted to the city centre during footstreet hours by using a sliding bollard system. The measures will restrict access to Parliament Street, St Sampson’s Square, High Ousegate and Spurriergate, Coney Street, Davygate, St Sampson’s Square and Church Street during footstreet hours (10.30am -5pm).

To ensure there is still an appropriate level of blue badge parking in the city centre, it is also proposed that the loading bay and taxi rank on Piccadilly will be changed to blue badge parking. The change to the Traffic Regulation Order will be considered by the Executive Member for Transport at a decision session on 20 February.

The bollards will cost over £100,000 a year to maintain.

Councillor Andy D’Agorne, deputy leader and executive member for transport, said:

“However small the risk of terror attacks may be, the safety of everyone in York is our highest priority. That is why we have acted upon police and counter-terrorism unit advice to ensure appropriate measures are in place to protect residents and visitors in the city centre.”

“We are aware that permanent measures need to strike the correct balance between providing an appropriate level of security, whilst respecting York’s heritage and access for people with disabilities, which is why these measures include new provision for Blue Badge parking.”

Members will be asked to:

  • Approve the final location of the static and sliding bollards
  • Note the requirement for additional capital funding
  • Note the ongoing staffing and maintenance cost
  • Approve the procurement process for engaging with businesses to supply, install and maintain the bollards
  • Instruct officers to work with Make It York on the planning for security measures for Christmas 2020

Witness appeal following assault in Foxwood

North Yorkshire Police is appealing for witnesses and information about an assault that occurred in Acomb, York in the early hours of Saturday 25th January 2020.

The incident happened in the street at the junction of Bellwood Drive and Bellhouse Way, Acomb, York between 12.30am and 1.30am Saturday 25 January.  It involved two men and the victim, a 30 year old man, needed hospital treatment following the incident.

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

In particular, we are appealing for information about who was present, as it is believed a number of people were in that location during the assault.

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2, and ask for Pc 1596 Hodge. You can also email 001596@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 12200015011

Contact details:Stuart Hodge – #1596
001596@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk | 101 – ext 31596

Incident reference:12200015011

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