This message has specifically been sent to Coordinators and not other members of the community or your scheme members. Please share as you feel is appropriate using the Share button below. Cheshire Neighbourhood Watch Association Week ending 14th April 2019 Cheshire News & Appeals Latest Cheshire News
Drug driver jailed after travelling the wrong way down the M56
A 23-year-old man who drove the wrong way down the M56 while high on drugs has been jailed.
Hassan Waseem appeared at Chester Crown Court today, Friday 12 April, where he was sentenced to 12 months in prison. Waseem, of Broadstone Road, Heaton Chapel, had earlier pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, drug driving, driving without insurance and possession of a class B drug.
At around 4.30am on Thursday 10 January police received reports of a white BMW driving the wrong way on the M56 in Cheshire. Callers reported that the car was being driven erratically, changing speeds and drifting across the road between junctions 11 and 12 on the westbound carriageway near Runcorn. Officers from the Cheshire Police Taskforce team were dispatched and on arrival Sergeant Anton Sullivan saw the vehicle driving towards him at speed with its lights on full beam. Sgt Sullivan took evasive action, swerving onto the hard shoulder to avoid a head-on collision. A short time later the BMW was located parked on the hard shoulder, with Waseen sat in the driver’s seat. Waseem was arrested at the scene and a drugs test revealed that he had a cannabis reading of 5.5µg/l – more than double the legal limit.
Following today’s sentencing, Sergeant Anton Sullivan said: “To have a car driving towards me head-on was terrifying. Not only did I fear for my own safety but also for the safety of my colleagues and the hundreds of other motorists who were using that stretch of road. At the time of the incident there was moderate traffic on the carriageway, including a number of HGVs. Thankfully, Waseem pulled onto the hard shoulder before anyone was killed or seriously injured. However, this does not excuse his behaviour and I have no doubt that the consequences of his actions would have been far worse had it not been for other motorists taking evasive action.”
Superintendent Jo Marshall-Bell added: “This case highlights the dangers of driving while under the influence of illegal drugs. Upon his arrest Waseem had no recollection of the incident itself. He couldn’t even remember that he had driven on the M56, let alone the fact that he had driven the wrong way. It was only when he was shown footage of the incident that he realised the seriousness of his actions and the danger he posed to other motorists. Not only is he lucky to be alive, it is a wonder that no-one else was killed or seriously injured as a result of his reckless actions.”
On top of his custodial sentence, Waseem was banned from driving for three-and-a-half years. Once his ban has expired he will have to take an extended driving test to regain his licence.
To see a clip taken from Sgt Sullivan’s vehicle please click on the attached link https://youtu.be/XdwlltnGLB8
Six men jailed for total of 34 years for attacking cash machines
A gang of six men who rammed cars into shops to attack cash machines in Willaston and across the country have today (Friday 12 April) been jailed for a total of 34 years.
The group stole more than £42,000 and caused substantial amounts of damage as they travelled the country in stolen vehicles on cloned number plates, ram raiding shop windows and attacking ATM machines with tools, sledgehammers and saws.
John Kearney, 29, of Old Chester Road in Tranmere, was sentenced to five years. Benjamin Ollerhead, 21, of Prince Edward Street in Birkenhead, received five years. Benjamin Sysum, 30, of Victoria Fields in Tranmere, received five years and six months. Mark Fitzgerald, 25, of Violent Road in Claughton was sentenced to five years, Neil Piercy, 36, of Holme Lane in Oxton will serve five years and Peter Badley, 38, of no fixed abode received five years. Kearney was also sentenced to a further 18 months for burglaries in Lancashire and Teesside. Ollerhead was sentenced to a further six months for a burglary in Teesside and Sysum was sentenced to a further 18 months for the supply of cocaine in Merseyside. The men were sentenced at Chester Crown Court after all pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary and handling stolen goods.
Over a two month period the criminal enterprise used a series of vehicles fitted with false cloned registration number plates. They used high powered stolen cars and larger dispensable vehicles to carry out a violent entry to some of the premises by use of ‘ram-raid’ tactics. In some cases they used stolen vehicles to smash their way through shop fronts where steel shutters guarded the buildings. The gang involved in the enterprise were equipped with powered cutters and angle grinders, torchlights, lump hammers, crow bars, screwdrivers, jars of paint and bolt croppers. All those directly involved at the crime scenes wore balaclavas to prevent visual detection as they carried out their crimes. Between July and September 2018, the gang carefully planned and coordinated their attacks on ATMs in Willaston in Cheshire, Arrowe Park in Wirral, Queensferry, Garden City and Caergwrle in North Wales. They also targeted ATM’s in Oldbury and Small Heath in the West Midlands, Darwin in Lancashire and Ackworth in West Yorkshire. As well as these offences, this organised team stole vehicles during a commercial burglary in Bromborough, Merseyside. These vehicles were subsequently used in the Arrowe Park ram raid. They also committed another commercial burglary in Wigan, Greater Manchester.
It was during the early hours of 22 August 2018 that four of the men, all wearing balaclavas and gloves, descended on the village of Willaston to carry out a ram raid at McColls on Neston Road. They drove to the shop in a Kia Sedona as well as a stolen grey BMW bearing cloned plates. Two or three of the men got out of the cars and went to the front of the shop before the Kia Sedona was used to ram straight through the front of the shop causing huge damage. The car also reversed twice at speed. Two of the men climbed over the wreckage and entered the shop where the ATM was located inside. One man was armed with a large angle grinder and the other a sledgehammer and a crowbar. The court heard how within minutes the bright light and sparks generated by the grinder were put into action and lit the inside of the shop as the men smashed through the machine. The sounds of the car colliding into the shop and the power tools being used inside started to wake up residents close by with some being able to see what was happening from their bedroom windows. One local woman was left petrified and fearing for her own safety after she spotted the gang in action. One of the men threateningly told her to ‘get away’ while raising a 4ft long piece of wood at her causing the woman to run back to her house to call police. The men attempted to gain access to the cash machine for over three minutes while one paced around outside the doorway, occasionally peering in at their attempts, as he made a phone call. The two men then suddenly abandoned their attempts and ran from the shop, jumped into the BMW and drove off at speed. The damaged Kia Sedona was left behind along with jars of white paint found inside the shop. The Kia Sedona was later shown as uninsured and falsely registered to an address in Wirral. The manager of the store arrived at the scene to see police outside. It was said in court how ‘shocked and angered’ she was at the wreckage to her place of work. The damage was expected to cost thousands of pounds to repair as well as the shop losing revenue until it could be safely re-opened to the public.
Police recovered angle grinders, knives, electrical transformers and jars of paint at a number of the targeted attacks. At one petrol station in Oldbury the men placed tape and a plastic bag over a camera to avoid being detected. The gang had rented two containers at a storage facility in Birkenhead where police recovered a stolen vehicle and evidence relating to cutting equipment. The group, from the Wirral area, were caught following a proactive investigation conducted by detectives from Ellesmere Port local policing unit with support from the serious organised crime unit at Cheshire Police. Sentencing the men, the Judge said they were ‘a sophisticated and professional organised crime group and were determined criminals who undermined the welfare of the public’.
Detective Sergeant Graeme Carvell, of Ellesmere Port CID, said: “Over two months this criminal enterprise went to great lengths to plan and coordinate attacks on cash machines to gain significant amounts of cash. The men concealed their identities, stole cars and number plates from innocent members of the community and believed they were untouchable. The services they targeted were recognised as providing important services to our local communities and left a profound effect on the owners and their staff. With each attack they became more confident and expanded them across the country. Their attacks were often extremely dangerous, leaving the community terrified but they were determined not to let anyone get in their way. Today’s sentences show no matter how many crimes you commit in different areas you cannot avoid being caught – we will relentlessly pursue you until you are captured. We are determined to disrupt all levels of serious organised crime within our communities and keep people safe.”
Crewe class A drugs dealer jailed for three years
A 21-year-old man from Crewe has been jailed after being caught selling class A drugs.
Officers on patrol witnessed Brandon Davidson, of Elm Drive, selling drugs to two known drug users in an alleyway off Broad Street shortly after 2.30pm on Monday 11 March. They called for back-up and soon afterwards five officers arrested Davidson in Lime Tree Avenue. Whilst being detained he swung his arms violently in an attempt to break free. During the struggle one of the officers sustained a hand injury that requires ongoing hospital treatment.
A search of Davidson revealed 14 wraps of heroin and crack cocaine and nearly £60 in cash. Officers then executed a search warrant at his home, where they found a further 120 wraps of class A drugs, a quantity of cannabis, cash and various drugs paraphernalia. Davidson was subsequently charged with two counts of possession with intent to supply a class A drug (heroin and crack cocaine), possession of a class A drug (cocaine), possession of a class B drug (cannabis), possessing criminal property and resisting arrest. He pleaded guilty to all of the charges and at Chester Crown Court yesterday, Wednesday 10 April, he was sentenced to three years in prison.
PC Jay Burns said: “I am delighted that Davidson is now behind bars and no longer able to blight the area with illegal drugs. The case against him began when officers on patrol spotted two known drug users acting suspiciously before being met by Davidson. He arrived on a bicycle and gave the drug users illegal drugs in exchange for cash. Davidson was subsequently arrested on his way back home by plain-clothed officers. Subsequent searches of Davidson and his home in Crewe revealed quantities of class A drugs heroin and cocaine and class B drug cannabis with a combined street value of around £1,500. Drugs have a hugely detrimental impact on communities, causing widespread misery. As such, removing those involved in drug dealing from our communities is of paramount importance. They often think they are above the law and I hope that this case sends a strong message to those involved in, or planning to be involved in, the supply of illegal drugs that they are not invincible and will be caught. I also hope that the sentence that Davidson has been handed by Chester Crown Court deters others from getting involved in dealing illegal drugs.”
On top of his custodial sentence, Davidson was ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge and cash recovered during the search was subject to a forfeiture order.
PC Burns added: “While this investigation has now concluded our fight against drug dealers continues and I urge anyone with any information about suspected drug related activity in their community to get in touch. You will be listened to and we will investigate the matter. You can report suspected drug dealing to us directly by calling 101. Alternatively, information can also be given anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111. Together we can tackle those who cause so much damage to our communities through illegal drugs and help to stop them from being on our streets.” Police target road users using mobile phones as part of national campaign Cheshire Constabulary is taking part in a national week of action against drivers who use their mobile phone behind the wheel.
The week of action begins on 15 April, with officers taking part in enforcement and educational activity in support of the National Police Chief Council’s country-wide campaign. It’s a well-known fact that using a mobile phone while driving is one of the main contributory factors in a fatal collision so officers will be on the lookout for anyone taking a call, texting or scrolling through their phone while driving.
Head of Cheshire Police’s Roads and Crime Unit, Superintendent Jo Marshall-Bell said: “National statistics suggest that drivers who use mobile phones behind the wheel are four times more likely to be involved in a collision. Why drivers continue to use their phones while knowing this, utterly baffles me. I have no doubt in my mind that the majority, if not all, road users know that it is against the law to use their mobile phone while driving. Many people try and hide it down by their laps in a bid to avoid being caught. We will have covert vehicles and officers out and about on the lookout for people brazen enough to flout the law. These covert officers could be in vans, on motorbikes or pedestrians – can you be certain you’re not being spotted by officers? There is an absolute fundamental need to take road traffic offences seriously. People are dying on our roads as a result of people’s reckless decisions and it is an absolute tragedy for those families who have lost their loved one. There is no excuse. If caught using your mobile phone while driving, you will face the prospect of a £200 fine and six penalty points on your licence and, if you’re under 21, you could lose your licence.”
David Keane, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, added: “Making our roads safer is one of my key priorities and I am pleased that Cheshire police is taking part in this national campaign to reduce the numbers of drivers using a mobile phone in Cheshire. Using a phone whilst driving is completely irresponsible. Not only does it put the lives of the driver themselves at risk but could also risk of the lives of other road users or pedestrians. I am shocked at the sheer number of people who continue to use their mobile phone behind the wheel when they are well aware of the dangers and know they are breaking the law. Scrolling through social media or checking a text message is not worth the loss of someone’s life or a lengthy prison sentence.”
As well as enforcement, the campaign will focus on educating drivers about the dangers of driving whist using a mobile phone. Throughout the week-long operation the force will be issuing messages through the @CheshirePolice and @CheshPolTaskforce social media accounts.
Man jailed for Middlewich arson attack
A Middlewich man who put lives at risk in a bid to get his ex-partner in trouble with the police has been jailed.
Robert Helm started a fire in stables at the back of a row of houses in Cledford Lane, Middlewich, at around 10.30pm on Monday 23 October 2017. The 47-year-old was living in one of the houses at the time. The fire damaged one of the properties and spread to a workshop close to the stables. It completely destroyed the stables, which had no animals inside, and smoke from the fire caused extensive damage to the workshop. The back of the house that was closest to the stables suffered heat damage but thankfully no-one was injured as a result of the fire. Helm admitted starting the fire, pleading guilty to a charge of arson with being reckless as to whether life was endangered at Chester Crown Court. He returned to the court for sentencing on Friday 5 April, where he was jailed for three years.
Detective Constable Liz Rankin, of Crewe CID, said: “At around 10.40pm on Monday 23 October 2017 Robert Helm flagged down officers to tell them that he had discovered a fire behind a row of houses in Cledford Lane. His ex-partner had visited his home earlier that night and Helm intimated to police that she was responsible for the fire and later told an officer that he had seen her starting it. However, our investigation into the incident showed that this was not the case and uncovered CCTV footage showing that it was Helm who went into the stables that night, and he eventually admitted starting the fire. Arson is an extremely serious offence with potentially fatal consequences. Thankfully, in this instance the fire was extinguished by firefighters before it could spread further than it did and no-one was hurt as a result of Helm’s actions. I hope that the custodial sentence he has been handed by Chester Crown Court deters others from committing similar offences and I would like to thank the firefighters from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service for their work on the night of the fire and for their support during the investigation.”
People living in Cledford Lane had to be evacuated from their home that night as a result of Helm’s actions.
Matt Barlow, Service Delivery Manager at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Three fire engines – from Sandbach, Middlewich and Holmes Chapel – attended the incident and firefighters were at the scene for around three hours. They were able to extinguish the fire with a hose reel jet before it could spread beyond the stables and a workshop. Although no-one was injured as a result of the fire, it completely destroyed the stables, caused considerable damage to the workshop and also damaged someone’s home. Fire spreads quickly and Helm’s reckless actions also put the lives of residents and firefighters at considerable risk. Arson is a terrible crime – costing taxpayers thousands of pounds as well as putting people’s lives in danger – and I hope that the case and Friday’s sentencing makes others think twice before starting fires.”
Seven arrests in operation to target county lines Widnes gangs
A week-long operation into county lines gangs in Widnes saw seven arrests made and one vulnerable adult safeguarded.
Officers working in partnership with Halton Housing arrested people for a range of offences including drug dealing and shoplifting while also recovering heroin, crack cocaine, cannabis and £450 in cash. A vulnerable man was identified as being exploited by others who had used his property to take drugs. A county line is operated by an organised crime group (OCG) who use a mobile phone, known as a ‘line’ or a ‘graft’ to extend their criminal activity business into new locations - usually from a city into rural areas.
Sergeant Rob Anderson, of Widnes Local Policing Unit, said: “Keeping people and our community safe from organised crime is our priority in Widnes. Last week we worked really hard to disrupt those who deal drugs in our community while also protecting those exploited by their activity. This type of criminality often means vulnerable adults and children are targeted by criminals to deliver and deal drugs on their behalf after being criminally exploited, coerced and manipulated. Breaking this cycle is very difficult and while we work with our partners it is important the public support us by knowing how to spot signs of criminal exploitation. We listen to the public when they provide us with information and I would encourage the local community to always keep an eye out and if you feel something isn’t right report it to us on 101.”
Stalking victim’s story shared to raise awareness of national campaign
Cheshire Police and North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s Integrated Anti-Stalking Unit (IASU) in Halton and Warrington is one of three in the country and the first of its kind in the North West.
The work of the unit involves police officers, mental health professionals, outreach workers and victim advocates working together to protect victims of stalking. The unit has received 260 case referrals since its launch in June 2018. Of the referrals, 83 were taken on by the unit for further risk management – which has included direct contact with the victim and/or offender. Partners have worked together on the other 177 cases to ensure they are effectively investigated and managed.
This week, (8-12 April), is National Stalking Awareness Week, and to support the campaign, Cheshire Constabulary and North West Boroughs Healthcare are sharing the story of a woman stalked by her friend, and left petrified - until the IASU stepped in. Pseudonyms have been used in this story to protect the identification of the victim.
Sarah and Andy, both in their early 30s, had been close friends. When Andy tried to become more intimate, Sarah broke off the relationship and things took a more sinister turn. Andy became fixated with Sarah. Bombarding her with unwanted gifts, sending her constant emails, messages and phone calls. He would also loiter near to her home, making her feel uncomfortable and extremely frightened. Sarah reported Andy to the police and explained to officers that she felt intimidated and scared by Andy – and often changed her own routines to self-manage her stress and anxiety.
The Local Policing Unit (LPU) referred the case to the IASU following a thorough review of the case and vulnerable person risk assessment - due to the nature of the complaint made to police. Subsequent discussions were had with the relevant agencies and it was agreed that the case was consistent with stalking. While it was believed there was no physical risk to Sarah, there was a psychological risk and a risk that Andy could potentially demonstrate future stalking behaviour with other victims.
The Unit provided an enhanced level of support for Sarah, ensuring her safety - as well as tackling Andy’s stalking behaviour to establish the root cause of his offending. Sarah also had access to the unit’s Independent Stalking Advocacy who supported her through the criminal proceedings - enabling her to articulate the psychological and emotional impact Andy’s action’s had on her in her statement, and ensure a robust restraining order was put in place. Andy was successfully convicted. He was given a community order and a restraining order – and was not to have any contact with Sarah or to attempt to communicate with her at all. Since conviction Andy has met with the unit’s outreach practitioners and agreed to work with the team, which formed part of the overall risk management. By working with the unit Andy was able to gain an understanding of the recklessness of his behaviour, and to work on strategies that would prevent him from reoffending.
Andy demonstrated an interest in understanding why he had engaged in the stalking behaviour and wished to understand how he could make changes in his life to avoid behaving in similar ways in the future. He is currently engaging in bi-weekly interventions with the IASU and is committed to adhering to all conditions of the restraining order and probation as set out by the court. Significantly, Andy reports he has no intention to seek out, contact, or communicate with Sarah - despite continuing to live in close proximity to her. The IASU is able to monitor and coordinate the wider policing response to enforce the restraining order and ensure any conditions are adhered to.
Although Sarah is aware of on-going risks, she feels empowered that her experience has been taken seriously by the police, and the involvement of the IASU has led to feelings of reassurance and reduced distress.
National Stalking Awareness week is about raising awareness of stalking and the stories behind the statistics. This year Suzy Lamplugh Trust and the National Stalking Consortium are focusing on the impact stalking has on victims' mental and emotional health as well as their physical safety. For more details visit: https://www.suzylamplugh.org/national-stalking-awareness-week-2019
Latest Cheshire Appeals
Detectives are appealing for the victim of a robbery in Warrington to get in touch
Detectives are appealing for the victim of an assault in Warrington to get in touch.
A witness reported a man had been assaulted at around 12.20am on 12 April in Knutsford Road near the Co-Op. The witness reported the incident to the police and officers attended the scene but the victim was not there. At 2am there was a further report of a street robbery in the same area, where a 22-year-old man was approached by three men and threatened with a knife. The men made off with his belongings. Police have arrested two men aged 22 and one man aged 27 as part of the enquiries into the robbery.
Detective Sergeant Mark Naylor said: “The assault was seen by a witness but the victim has not reported the incident up to now. The second incident was reported only a few hours later and there is a possibility they could be linked. If you were in the area around these times and have dashcam footage or you witnessed anything that may aid our investigation, I’d urge you to contact us. I would like to appeal directly to the victim to get in touch to let us know that he is okay and to help us with our ongoing enquiries. We also want to speak to anyone who believes they may know who the victim is.”
Anyone with information that may aid detectives with their investigation should call Cheshire Constabulary on 101, quoting IML 371842, give the details via https://cheshire.police.uk/contact/general-enquiries or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Appeal for information and footage following incident in Warrington
Cheshire Constabulary is appealing for information from the public following an incident in Warrington.
At around 4.40pm on Thursday 11 April police were called to reports of a small firearm being seen and discharged near The Greenwood pub in Greenwood Crescent. The man with the firearm was witnessed being chased by two other males riding bicycles. As a precaution, armed officers attended the scene. They made a thorough search of the area and carried out house-to-house enquiries but there was no trace of anyone. There have been no reports of any injuries that could be linked to this incident and officers are trying to establish if the firearm was a genuine weapon or not. Enquiries in relation to the incident are ongoing and officers are urging anyone who was in the area and witnessed anything that may help with the investigation to get in touch. They also want to speak to anyone who believes they may have CCTV or dashcam footage of any of the males, or information regarding their identities.
Chief Inspector Simon Meegan, of Warrington Local Policing Unit, said: “We have launched an investigation following reports of a small firearm having been discharged in a public place during daylight hours. This has understandably caused concern in the local area and I want to reassure Warrington residents that we are taking this extremely seriously. We are doing everything we can to establish exactly what has taken place. At the current time this appears to be an isolated incident. There have been no reports of any injuries in relation to the incident and enquiries are ongoing to establish whether it was a genuine firearm or not. We have stepped up patrols in the area to provide reassurance and as part of our enquiries we are keen to speak to anyone who was in the area and witnessed anything that may be relevant to the investigation. We also want to hear from anyone who believes they may know who any of the males involved in the incident are or have CCTV or dashcam footage of them.”
The man who was being chased was white and is estimated to be in his late 30s. His hair is described as long, brown and scruffy and he was wearing high-visibility orange trousers and a grey T-shirt. The two males on bikes were also white. One had a stocky build, a bald head and was wearing a blue coloured Puffa-style jacket and the other had short dark hair. Anyone who believes they may know the identities of any of the males, or have any other information or CCTV footage that may aid the investigation, should call Cheshire Constabulary on 101, quoting IML 371477, give the details via https://cheshire.police.uk/contact/general-enquiries or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Dashcam footage can be submitted online at www.cheshire.police.uk/advice-and-support/roads-and-vehicle-safety/submit-dashcam-footage .
Appeal for information after burglars target children’s nursey in Runcorn
Runcorn officers are urging witnesses to come forward after burglars targeted a nursery in Sandymoor.
At around 4.45am on Thursday 11 April unknown offenders broke into the Little Manor Day Nursey on Manor Farm Road. Once inside they conducted a search of the premises and stole a quantity of petty cash and electronic equipment. An investigation into the incident has been launched and officers are following a number of lines of enquiry, including CCTV and forensics.
Detective Sergeant Rob McLoughlin said: “To target a children’s nursery is shameful and we are committed to doing everything we can to trace the people responsible and bring them to justice. As part of the investigation I am keen to hear from anyone who was in the area around the time that the burglary occurred and believes they may have witnessed something suspicious. If you think that you have information that could help our investigation, no matter how small, please call the team here at Runcorn Police Station on 101. I also want to hear from motorists with dashcams who were driving on Manor Farm Road between 4am and 5am.
Police appeal for information after Holmes Chapel burglary
Police are appealing for information following a burglary in Holmes Chapel.
Sometime between 5.50pm on 7 April and 10am the following morning thieves entered a house in Sycamore Close taking a number of items including two new boxed televisions and two new boxed laptops. The occupants were not in the address at the time.
DC Scott Marshall-Bowater said: “I would urge anyone who saw any suspicious activity around these times or is offered for sale items in unusual circumstances to contact police.”
Anyone with information should contact Cheshire Police on 101 quoting IML 368448. Alternatively information can be given anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Appeal to help trace Wilmslow man
Police are asking the public to help them trace a 35-year-old man who is wanted for failing to appear at court. Gareth Morris Fitzgerald has recently been living in Handforth, Wilmslow and is believed to be in this area. He is described as a white, around 170cm in height and of a proportionate build. He has dark brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone who sees Fitzgerald is asked to contact Cheshire Police on 101 quoting reference number 19100061395. Alternatively information regarding Fitzgerald’s whereabouts can be reported anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.