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.

Crime victims offered help in North Yorkshire

More victims of crime in North Yorkshire will have the opportunity to play a role in the criminal justice system with the launch of a new service to help victims receive answers and rehabilitate offenders by helping them to understand the hurt and fear they have caused.

The aim is to bring victim and offender together outside – but alongside – the criminal justice system to reduce reoffending and give victims answers and the ability to move on by making the crime, and the fear it causes, more personal and harder to ignore.

Emma, who has used the restorative justice service, said:

“Restorative justice has changed my life.

“It gave me an opportunity to talk about what happened using emotional words.

“For two and a half years it felt like the only words I heard were facts and evidence.

“What about me and my family and what he had done to us?

“It finally felt like my emotions had a voice that was being heard and acknowledged.

“My life kick started the minute I walked back to my car after the conference.

“I felt free of so many frustrations.”

If you have been the victim of crime and need help to cope and recover:

For the full story and a video that explains why restorative justice is important and how it works, visit: https://www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/news/rjlaunch/

Burglaries in Woodthorpe yesterday

The police are reporting that they have received the following two reports of burglaries in Woodthorpe in York.

Between 13.15pm and 18.15pm on Wednesday 20th November a property has been broken into on Deepdale and items taken.

If you have any information that could assist officers with their enquiries can you please call 101 and quote incident number 12190213779

Between 10.20am and 14.20pm on Wednesday 20th November a property on Ryecroft Avenue has been broken into and items taken.

If you have any information that could assist officers with their enquiries can you please call 101 and quote incident number 12190213583

New graffiti policy can’t come soon enough

The York Council is set to adopt a new policy on graffiti removal today. It can’t come soon enough with several neighbourhoods reporting an increase in incidents.

We hope that the meeting will decide to make renewed efforts to identify those responsible. As it stands taxpayers could face a bill of £90,000 a year to remove spray point from buildings, boundaries and street furniture.

Nor has the Council been particularly prompt in meeting existing graffiti removal targets. A couple of cases in Foxwood have exceeded the 5 day removal target.

Graffiti incidents can be reported “on line” by clicking this link

Graffiti on the Grange Lane snicket has been outstanding for several weeks.
Tagging of a junction box on Almsford Road
Boundary fences can be a target
The Council will, with the owners agreement, clear graffiti form boundary walls in future.

Council installs national standard security in run up to Christmas

City of York Council is working with North Yorkshire Police, Make It York and partners across York to make the city centre over the festive season the safest it’s ever been.

Work is beginning to install extra security measures to protect all who enjoy the centre of York. This nationally-approved infrastructure includes traffic-slowing measures as used in Edinburgh and more locally, in Harrogate, and adds to and further strengthens existing measures to protect our city centre. 

Last year, York’s footstreets trialled a first phase of measures. Now, with these additional temporary safety features in place, everyone is encouraged to carry on and enjoy their plans to attend or take part in events as normal. With increased security checks at some events and venues, please arrive in good time to allow for this.

Traffic to the city centre is already limited at busy times, and with chicanes and the additional measures, pedestrians will be kept even safer. Meanwhile delivery vehicles will have controlled entry at the usual permitted times.

In the rare event of getting caught up in a weapons attack we urge you to follow the Run, Hide, Tell advice:

  • to a place of safety, rather than to surrender or negotiate.
  • If there’s nowhere to run to, hide and don’t confront.
  • Only when it is safe to do so, tell the police by calling 999.

Superintendent Lindsey Butterfield, Neighbourhood Policing Commander for York and Selby, added: “Although the terrorist threat level has now been lowered to substantial, we still need to remain vigilant and do everything possible to keep people safe.

“These latest measures are a welcome addition to our existing security plans designed to help keep York safe and secure during the festive season and the weeks leading up to it.

“Our Project Servator teams will also be out and about and could appear anywhere, anytime, so if you see them, please stop for a chat and find out how your support can help prevent crime and terrorism.”

As ever we urge everyone to remain vigilant and alert but not alarmed. Please report anything suspicious to the police. You can pass information in confidence via the Action Counters Terrorism website at gov.uk/ACT where you can find out what to look out for. You can also report information on 0800 789 321. In an emergency, always call 999.

Tom Brittain, assistant director of housing and community safety at City of York Council, said: “While very rare, terror attacks in the UK can create a lot of concern. With our partners in the police, we are making the city centre more secure than it has ever been, and want to reassure everyone who uses it that we are prepared, alert and ready to help protect them.

“It’s essential that we all maintain a high level of vigilance and continue to invest in strong protective security measures such as those we’ve installed to deter future attacks.”

Homes closed in Dale Street & Wensley House to stop drug-related anti-social behaviour

To tackle anti-social behaviour blighting the lives of neighbours, the courts have allowed the council has to close two council homes.

This action has been part of recent activity to curb drug trafficking from large cities to smaller towns, known as County Lines. This can involve criminal activity around a home which council and police officers have worked together to stop.

On 9 October, York Magistrates’ court issued a Premises Closure Order to the council for a home in Dale Street, off Nunnery Lane. This follows a number of criminal incidents, some of which involved drugs and violence. The police supported the council to secure the order which prohibits anyone except the tenant from entering or remaining the property. The tenant has since ended the tenancy and the flat will be re-let as soon as possible.

On Tuesday 5 November, the council secured the full closure of a flat at Wensley House, Holgate. This follows drug-related incidents involving offensive weapons which were attended by North Yorkshire Police, and who have backed the council’s action to close this home. The order will be in force for three months from the date of issue.

Premises Closure Orders are often used to break a cycle of anti-social and sometimes illegal and violent behaviour at the property. This may be caused or aggravated by visitors and can sometimes be out of the control of the tenant or encouraged by them.

It is a criminal offence to enter or remain in a property in breach of the terms of the closure order. Doing so can lead to penalties of up to a year’s imprisonment, fines or both.

Superintendent Lindsey Butterfield, Neighbourhood Policing Commander for York and Selby, added: “Tackling County Lines and the violence and antisocial behaviour associated with it is a major priority for North Yorkshire Police. It involves the exploitation of the young and the vulnerable and requires a response from not just the police, but many partner agencies too – we can’t do it alone.

“This action by City of York Council is a great example of true joint working and will help to disrupt the misery caused by out-of-town drug dealers in the neighbourhood.”

Cllr Denise Craghill, Executive Member for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods at City of York Council, said: “Criminal behaviour is unacceptable and these orders are very effective ways of ensuring that it stops.

“Premises closure orders, along with routine policing, can help breaking the cycle of criminality and repeat offending, with which a very small minority of people can blight the lives of neighbours and the immediate community. The closure comes at a cost of a much-needed council home which we hope to re-let as soon as possible.

“The courage of the local community in supporting us to stand up to this anti-social and criminal behaviour should not be underestimated.”