Court fines six for offensive and fouling behaviour

York Magistrates found five men guilty yesterday (10 October 2017) of urinating in public in the city during the summer, and another of throwing a can from the City Walls.

All were fined and variously ordered to pay a court surcharge and prosecution costs.

Working in partnership with North Yorkshire Police, City of York Council prosecutes people found fouling the streets to reflect the anti-social nature and health risks this offence presents.

  • Nigel Whiteley, aged 45 of Holmsley Lane, Leeds, was seen urinating on the Knavesmire at 8:20pm on Saturday 1 July 2017. Whiteley pleaded guilty by post and was sentenced to a £120 fine, £30 court surcharge and £100 costs.
  • Patrick McGowan, aged 47 of Cornlands Road, York, was seen by York BID rangers urinating in an alley on Coney Street at 4pm on Saturday 8 July 2017. McGowan did not attend court and was convicted in his absence with a £220 fine, £30 court surcharge and £100 costs.
  • John Alexander, aged 38 of The Causeway, Wolsingham, Bishop Auckland, was seen by police at 7pm on Saturday 15 July 2017 urinating in Albermarle Road. Alexander did not attend court and was convicted in his absence. He was sentenced to a £220 fine, £30 court surcharge and £100 costs.
  • Paul Potter, aged 25, of Monkgate, York, was seen by police at 1:15am on Saturday 15 July 2017 in North Street urinating against a door. He pleaded guilty by post and was sentenced to a £130 fine, £30 court surcharge and £100 costs.
  • Dan Rogers, aged 20 of Pebworth Avenue, Birmingham was seen by police in High Ousegate at 3:50am on Saturday 29 July 2017 urinating in the doorway of a shop. He attended court, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a £70 fine, £30 court surcharge and £100 costs.
  • Raymond Warren of Meanwood, Leeds, was seen by council employees throwing a can of alcoholic drink from the City Walls outside West Offices at 8:45am on Friday 14 July 2017. He was given a fixed penalty of £75 which he failed to pay despite telling the enforcement officer that he had £900. The case was heard in his absence at York Magistrates Court on Tuesday 10 October 2017 where he was found guilty and fined a total of £330.

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Dyson vacuum cleaner servicing scam

A mother and son who ran a company that fraudulently serviced Dyson vacuums have been sentenced at Leeds Crown Court today (25 September) for a total ten years for conspiracy to defraud following an investigation by National Trading Standards.

Thomas Scoffin (aged 31 from Park Avenue, Leeds) was the sole director of Leeds-based Excel Servicing Ltd and has been sentenced to seven years imprisonment. His mother Linda Scoffin (aged 61 from Hall Drive, Lincoln) who helped him run the business, has been sentenced to three years in prison.

The judge said that the fraud was so serious that it required a custodial sentence. There were also disqualified from being company directors: Tom for eight years, Linda for six years.

Following complaints against their firm, the National Trading Standards Yorkshire & Humber Regional Investigations team based at City of York Council took 34 witness statements from 24 February 2014 to 30 May 2015. They found that the Scoffins’ company defrauded customers – many of whom were elderly or vulnerable – by falsely claiming to represent Dyson and then conducting unnecessary servicing on their Dyson vacuum cleaners.

The company cold-called members of the public from across the north of England and told them their Dyson vacuum cleaners required a service. Customers were misled to believe Excel Servicing represented Dyson, with some being told Dyson had contracted out their servicing to Excel.

Despite their claim that Dyson vacuum cleaners required servicing, this is not the case which was confirmed by Dyson Ltd itself. When company representatives visited customers they carried out unnecessary ‘servicing’ and, in some cases, actually damaged the vacuum cleaners and voided customers’ Dyson warranties.

Customers were often charged between £50 and £200 to service the cleaners, and charged £40 for a new filter which were, in fact, worth between £2 and £5.

While ‘servicing’ victims’ Dyson cleaners, Excel Servicing staff used pressure-sales tactics to persuade them to buy another brand of vacuum cleaner. The new cleaners – which are designed for industrial use – were sold for between £500 and £2,000 and were often too heavy for the customers to whom they were sold.

The investigators found that Linda Scoffin also ran her own business, KB Midlands Limited, from Lincoln. It supplied and sold Kirby cleaners, and also emailed instructions to Excel Servicing. KB Midlands Limited supplied Kirby cleaners to Excel Servicing.

£1.5 million was received into the Excel Servicing business account for the period of the investigation and payments were made – sometimes through a finance company – to buy Kirby vacuum cleaners.

The investigators also found that the couple paid for numerous foreign holidays from money made by Excel Servicing, while Tom Scoffin spent in bars, restaurants and casinos. During the period of investigation, he was found to have withdrawn £17,000 in cash, and the business bank account for Excel Servicing was used to buy international flights.

Despite this spending, Excel Servicing declared a loss to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs during this period and paid no Corporation Tax.

Both now face confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said:

“These individuals preyed on elderly and vulnerable people, exploiting their trust and defrauding them. I would like to thank all involved in bringing these criminals to justice – these sentences send a strong signal that National Trading Standards will not hesitate to prosecute those attempting to defraud consumers.

“If you think you or someone you know may have fallen victim to a fraudulent business then I would urge you to contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.”

Councillor Ann Reid, interim executive member with responsibility for Trading Standards at City of York Council, said:

“This tenacious investigation is to be congratulated: it has revealed a disgraceful fraud against vulnerable people and has brought those responsible to justice. I hope this sentence goes someway to reassuring the victims of this fraud and helps restore consumer confidence in legitimate businesses.”

Colin Rumford from the National Trading Standards Yorkshire and Humber Regional Investigations Team said:

“Being aware of consumer rights, not settling for spurious assurances and reporting concerns to Trading Standards is the right thing for people to do: this case proves that. I’m delighted with this team’s work and its outcome.”

Police appeal to find owner of Apple Ipod in Acomb/Westfield area

 

North Yorkshire Police are appealing to identify the owner of an Apple Ipod recovered in York on Tuesday 5 September 2017.

“We are conducting enquiries to locate the owner of a Black Apple Ipod, which was believed to have been lost or stolen within the Acomb area of York between 4 and the 6 September 2017.

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should contact us on 101, select option 2, and ask for [Andy Chapman]. You can also email andrew.chapman1681@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 12170159084

 

£75,000 payback order for counterfeit clothing seller

A city centre shopkeeper has today (6 September) been ordered by York Crown Court to pay over £75,000 profit from the sale of counterfeit goods from his shop over the past six years, following a proceeds of crime investigation by City of York Council’s Trading Standards.

Frank Kerr, aged 70 of Milan House, Eboracum Way, off Heworth Green, York has been given three months to pay the £75,059.98 benefit from his crimes or face a two year prison sentence after which the debt will still be hanging over him. He has also been ordered to pay £15,000 to City of York Council towards their investigation costs, within nine months.

The investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 followed a criminal investigation culminating in the prosecution of Frank Kerr in 2015. This followed the council’s Trading Standards officers finding racks of counterfeit clothes and other pirated luxury goods at Miss Diva, York. At the time, Mr Kerr told officers that he was providing a service for people who couldn’t afford the genuine article and that he felt the matter was quite trivial, having already been cautioned by Trading Standards officers for similar offences in 2012.

Mr Kerr pleaded guilty to 11 offences involving counterfeit goods, and 11 more as the sole director of Miss Diva Too Ltd. He also asked for 348 other offences to be taken into consideration. He was given a suspended four-month prison sentence.

At the time of that trial in 2015, the Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, predicted that the “sting in the tail” of the case would come following the financial investigation into the proceeds of these crimes, when Trading Standards would ask the court to confiscate his assets.
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Police appeal following recent bicycle theft at Acomb

North Yorkshire Police is appealing for witnesses and information about a bicycle theft that occurred The Green  in Acomb, York.
Appeal following recent bicycle theft at AcombIt happened between 7.30pm on Wednesday 9 August 2017 and 7.30am on Thursday 10 August 2017 when a garage was broken into at a property on The Green.

Two bicycles were stolen during the break in:
• A Yellow Cannondale hybrid bike
• A white Giant road bike

We are appealing for information about the theft and or the whereabouts of the bicycles.

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should contact us on 101, select option 2, and ask for Hannah Best. You can also email hannah.best@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 12170141164.

 

Contact details:
Hannah Best – #0728
hannah.best@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk | 30728
Incident reference:
bicycle theft 12170141164

Police appeal for information following tools theft in Tudor Road

The Police have issued the following statement,

“We have recently had a number of thefts where tools (drills) and garden equipment (chainsaws, hedge cutters) have been taken.

The most recent theft was on Tudor Road in Acomb overnight on the 24th August.

If you have any information that could help please contact and quote incident number 12170151384.

Please ensure that all your valuable items are securely stored and keep out of sight”.

York Police warn on puppy and kitten fraud

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Action Fraud have recently noticed a rise in the reporting of pets, and in particular puppies and kittens, being advertised for sale via popular online auction websites.

The fraudsters will place an advert of the pet for sale, often claiming that the pet is currently held somewhere less accessible or overseas. Upon agreement of a sale, the suspect will usually request an advance payment by money transfer or bank transfer.

However, the pet does not materialise and the fraudster will subsequently ask for further advanced payments for courier charges, shipping fees and additional transportation costs. Even if further payments are made, the pet will still not materialise as it is likely to not exist.

Tips to staying safe when purchasing pets:

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Police struggling to deal with calls to 101

North Yorkshire Police say they are experiencing around a 20 percent increase in demand to the Force Control Room resulting in delays in answering some calls.

In a statement they say, “This is not unique to North Yorkshire as forces across the country are experiencing the same issues. We are working to resolve this, but it will take time”.

The crisis comes at a time when North Yorkshires Police and Crime Commissioner has launched a bid to take over the management of the Fire and Rescue service.

Deputy Chief Constable Lisa Winward, said: “Like most forces across the country, we are currently experiencing high demand in the Force Control Room with an increase in calls – particularly 999 calls – of around 20 percent since May 2017. For example, on Sunday 18 June, we received more calls than on New Year’s Eve, which historically is our busiest day of the year and is planned for in advance.

“I would like to reassure members of the public that we are implementing a number of measures to help deal with the unprecedented increase in demand, now and into the future, but this cannot be done overnight.

“999 emergency calls must take precedence over non-emergencies, and the increase is having a knock-on effect on the time it takes to answer non-emergency calls. We ask the public to please bear with us as we implement the improvement measures over the coming months.

“Our control room staff are working extremely hard as we work to service the increase in demand and implement the changes. It is a very fast-paced and pressurised environment and I must pay tribute to the commitment and resilience they have shown during this time.

“In the meantime, we ask members of the public to use 101 in the correct circumstances. Our website provides information on when to contact the police, the best way to contact us and when to call other agencies such as the council.

“Always call 999 if your safety threatened or in an emergency situation.”

Call numbers this month to date compared to the same time last year

2 July 2016 – 24 July 2016

999 calls – 4,920

101 calls – 19,409

2 July 2017 – 24 July 2017

999 calls – 6,114 (25% increase)

101 calls – 20,498

Ransomware – York police advice

Following a global ransomware incident which took place Tuesday 27 June 2017 North Yorkshire Police and Action Fraud is reminding businesses and individuals how they can protect themselves from ransomware and what they should do if they become a victim.

How to protect yourself:
  • •Don’t click on links, or open any attachments, if you receive unsolicited emails or SMS messages. The links may lead to malicious websites and any attachments could be infected with malware.
  • •Always install software updates as soon as they’re available. Whether you’re updating the operating system or an application, the update will often include fixes for critical security vulnerabilities.
  • •Install anti-virus software on your computer and mobile devices, and keep it updated. Bear in mind that ransomware can often be picked up by visiting disreputable sites including illegal movie streaming websites and some adult sites.
  • •Create regular backups of your important files to an external hard drive, memory stick or online storage provider. It’s important that the device you back up to isn’t left connected to your computer as any malware infection could spread to that too.
    If you think you may be a victim:
  • •Report to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040
  • •Don’t pay extortion demands as this only feeds into criminals’ hands and there’s no guarantee that access to your files will be restored if you do pay.