#AceNewsReport – July.30: Lakatos was part of international organised gang who targeted the Boodles store in New Bond Street, central London, and stole seven gems, replacing them with pebbles, during the theft on 10 March 2016…….
#AceDailyNews reports that a woman has been found guilty of role in £4.2million diamond heist Lulu Lakatos – 60 (26.06.61) from the Saint Brieuc region of France, was found guilty of conspiracy to steal on Wednesday, 28 July following the conclusion of her trial: She was sentenced on the same day to five years and six months’ imprisonment.
Lakatos was part of a gang who had been intrinsically planning the raid for some time, engaging with Boodles and posing as a wealthy Russian investor who was looking to purchase gems. In the weeks leading up to the raid, meetings had been held with Boodles and people purporting to work for the ‘investor’, culminating in an arrangement where a gemmologist named ‘Anna’ working on behalf of the investor would travel to London to inspect the gems – this role was to be played by Lakatos:
The court were told how Lakatos entered the country on the day before the raid and checked into a hotel in Cricklewood in the company of another woman: At around 20:15hrs on 9 March 2016, Lakatos met with two men at a café near to her hotel. All three drove into central London where they scoped out the Boodles store from the street, before Lakatos was dropped back in Cricklewood: The following day Lakatos, now dressed to impersonate the gemmologist ‘Anna’, arrived for the pre-arranged meeting at Boodles. Outside the Boodles store, four other members of the gang were present, observing events. These were the two men Lakatos had met the previous evening, and two women who have yet to be identified: Using the guise that she did not speak English very well, Lakatos and staff at Boodles communicated in French – Lakatos would subsequently use this language barrier as part of the execution of the theft: After being shown into a secure area in the presence of Boodles own gemmologist, the seven diamonds were produced for Lakatos to examine; each were then individually placed in a locked bag and were to be stored with Boodles until confirmation of the payment had been received: Following Lakatos’s inspection, she placed the bag containing the diamonds in her own handbag. The Boodle’s gemmologist immediately challenged her, but Lakatos used the apparent language barrier to cause a delay, before appearing to produce the same locked bag containing the diamonds from her handbag: However, in the seconds that Lakatos had engineered, she had switched the padlocked bag with a duplicate one already stored within her handbag containing seven pebbles of the same weight: The gemmologist raised concerns, and a visual check of the bag was carried out but the padlocked bag was not discovered: Lakatos left the shop with the staff unaware of what had taken place in front of their own eyes…..As she walked down the street she was followed by the two women; they caught up with her and CCTV footage showed Lakatos transferring the bag to one of the women as they continued to walk: Further back, the two men followed at a distance: All the gang members then went their separate ways. Lakatos took a taxi to a pub near Victoria Station where she changed her clothing in a pub toilet before catching a Eurostar train meaning she had been in and out of the country, having committed the theft, within 24 hours and within just three hours of committing the offence.
The following day, Boodles – who still held concerns over the way ‘Anna’ the gemmologist had acted – had the locked bag in their possession x-rayed. While the items inside appeared to be the same size as the diamonds, they did not appear quite right. The bag was opened and the pebbles were discovered: An investigation was launched, led by the Met’s Flying Squad. They painstakingly began to piece together the evidence, analysing hours of CCTV footage and interrogating the forensic trail left behind by the gang through their contact with Boodles.
Lakatos was identified and arrested in France and extradited back to the UK on 3 December 2020….
Acting Detective Sergeant William Man of the Flying Squad said: This was an audacious theft, carried out in plain view of experienced and professional staff at a renowned jewellers. The meticulous planning and execution of this theft reveals to me that those involved were highly skilled criminals: “ However, due to the tenacious police work of the Flying Squad, involving painstaking analysis of a vast amount of evidence, we have managed to identify Lakatos and bring her to justice: “ While she played a key role in this theft, it is clear she did not work alone and enquiries remain ongoing to identify all those involved.”
= The two men involved in this theft were identified convicted of conspiracy to steal. An investigation is ongoing for the other two women seen to be involved in the exchange with Lakatos following the theft: …….A third woman – who accompanied Lakatos into the UK – was found not guilty of conspiracy to steal following a trial.
#AceNewsRepoprt – July.29: A two year investigation into the sale of illegal firearms, ammunition and controlled drugs led to the arrest of 12 people in north London after officers from Haringey and Enfield, supported by specialist firearms officers, raided 16 addresses.
#AceDailyNews reports that at least 21 people have been arrested as MET officers raid 35 addresses across London on Wednesday in crack-down on violent crime in the capital after 2yr-investigation into illegal arms and ammunition and organised crime networks ……
In Edmonton, three people suspected of being part of an organised criminal network responsible for a non-fatal shooting in April were arrested.
Seven addresses in Brent and Hertfordshire were raided by officers from the Specialist Crime Command as part of their ongoing investigation into gang members suspected of committing aggravated burglaries. Further enquiries are ongoing to identify additional offenders.
In south London, detectives executed four warrants, resulting in the arrest of three men for offences including possession of a firearm with intend to endanger life and conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
Further warrants and arrest enquiries will continue across the capital in the coming days as part of the surge in activity to tackle violent crime and firearms that got under way on Monday.
Detective Superintendent Nick Blackburn said: “It was a busy morning for Met officers in all corners of London who were up since the very early hours making arrest enquiries and executing warrants as part of our ongoing work to reduce violent crime: As part of this week tackling firearms offences, six suspected firearms and numerous knives have already been seized and in excess of 20 arrests made: To say we take violent crime seriously is an understatement. We are seeing some great results and have been actively taking dangerous weapons out of the hands of criminals who are intent on causing significant harm: While these results are good, we know we have lots more work to do. We must reassure Londoners that our capital city remains one of the safest global cities in the world. Manhunts and arrest enquiries will continue to locate further high harm offenders: Members of the public can assist us in helping to reduce violent crime, stabbings and shootings by reporting any information they have, either to the police or to Crimestoppers. We cannot police our way out of this and need members of the communities we serve to assist us. Reducing violence in London is a team effort between the police and the public.”
Information can be provided by calling police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111……Crimestoppers is an independent charity. Calls are anonymous and cannot be traced.
#AceNewsReport – July.29: The team were carrying out a number of weapons sweeps around the Surrey Lane Estate area, SW11. As the officers were walking up a stairwell they noticed the corner of a ceiling tile was loose….
#AceDailyNews reports that MET’s Violence Suppresion Unit Officers have uncovered a stash of shotgun cartridges found concealed in ceiling stairwell in Battersea the weapons were recovered by officers from the Met’s Violence Suppression Unit on the morning on Monday, 26 July, the first day of enhanced activity to tackle firearms offences in London.
Upon closer inspection they found a carrier bag which contained the ammunition: It was taken to a secure location and enquiries are now underway to identify who placed them there……
Detective Inspector Richard Mullan, from the Met, said: “Within hours of the Met upscaling its focus on firearms for the week, we have recovered 30 shotgun cartridges that someone clearly didn’t want us to find. There’s no other logical explanation for them to be stuffed in a communal ceiling: Whilst this is a fantastic start to the week of upsurge that the Met is carrying out, we constantly react to intelligence and information when provided to us. Our work will now continue to identify who placed these bullets in the ceiling and if they have access to a shotgun. Our work has not ceased now that we have taken the bullets.”Information on how to report a suspected firearms discharge, or to provide information to the police on where firearms are being stored or who is in possession of a weapon can be made via 999, by tweeting @MetCC or via our website.
Alternatively we strongly encourage anyone with information to contact Crimestoppers. They never ask your name and they cannot trace your call, your IP address or the device you use. Fill in their quick online form or call 0800 555 111. It could save a life.
#AceHealthReport – July.28: A review of the border rules is due by 31 July – the second date in the Department for Transport’s plan for a safe return to international travel.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says #COVID19 Travel: Fully jabbed from EU and US could avoid quarantine as ministers discuss with airlines on best way forward as U.S and E.U do not have an open border policy with rise in cases and lower vaccination rates than U.K. …as sources said the isolation exemption was likely to be discussed at the Covid Operations meeting on Wednesday over 31st July review of border rules….but todays cases are these below for 28/07/21 …
But they said a decision on whether to proceed will not necessarily be taken.
Currently, people who have been fully vaccinated in the UK do not have to quarantine when travelling from the US and EU, apart from France, because those places are on the amber list (and some EU countries are on the green list). But that exemption does not apply to people who have been vaccinated outside the UK.
Downing Street and the Department for Transport declined to comment on newspaper reports the government would go ahead with the plan to also exempt people vaccinated in the US and EU.
The travel industry has been pushing for this change in the rules so that people living abroad can more easily come to the UK for holidays or to visit loved ones.
“At the moment we’re in this slightly ridiculous situation where if I’m on a plane from Spain, because I’m lucky enough to have had two jabs, once we get to the UK I just wander off, no problem,” said travel expert Simon Calder.
“But the person sitting next to me, who happens to have had their vaccinations in Spain, not in the UK, has to go and sit in a room for 10 days. Doesn’t make sense.”
The aviation industry is also calling for a change after carrying out a 10-day trial of checking the vaccination status of passengers.
British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Heathrow Airport wanted to demonstrate that vaccination status could be checked away from the border and allow safe entry to the UK from countries on the amber list.
The companies said 99% of documents were verified correctly during the trial, which involved about 250 fully-vaccinated participants from the US, the Caribbean and Europe, travelling to Heathrow.
Two passengers had their credentials rejected, the companies said: one because their vaccination was completed less than 14 days before travel, and the other because of a discrepancy between the name on the passport and on the vaccine card.
The relaxation of the quarantine rules for travellers into England from the EU and the US is backed by a broad coalition of government ministers, who see the benefits to the tourism industry and the economy in general. “There’s no reason not to do this,” said one advisor. Another warned that an airline could go bankrupt if it didn’t happen.
A decision may be imminent but it may take days or weeks to put it into practice. For example, airlines will need time to prepare because they’ll be the ones checking the documents.
And the recent creation of an “amber plus” category at the last minute and without the knowledge of some members of the government shows that sometimes the process doesn’t always go smoothly.
Then there’s travel in the other direction, with the US in no rush to allow in British travellers despite the high-profile launch of a transatlantic travel taskforce last month. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Heathrow Airport said the UK was falling behind the EU in opening up to international travellers.
BA chief executive Sean Doyle said the trial provides the evidence that the government needs to allow fully vaccinated visitors from low-risk countries to come to the UK without self-isolating.
Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye said there was “no reason to delay with rolling out the solution from July 31”, while the head of EasyJet told LBC such a change was “the right thing” but a “little bit too late”.Freddie Julius runs tour company Tourist England which puts on trips for overseas visitors. He said around 80% of his customers are from the US and EU and “over the last 18 months we’ve seen almost none”.
Tourist EnglandTourist England said a rule change was critical for the revival of the travel sectorHe said changing the rules to allow vaccinated tourists to visit without quarantining was “critical for the revival of the inbound tourism sector”.But he told the BBC any change needed to be lasting, adding: “
The constant easing and tightening of restrictions have made it almost impossible to plan ahead, both for tour companies and tourists.” However, even if the UK changed its rules for the US, its citizens have been urged not to travel to the UK by the country’s health protection agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the US border is currently closed to the UK, as well as many other countries, except for US citizens.
The vast majority of countries, including the US and many European countries including Spain, Italy and Germany, are on the amber list. Adults who have been fully vaccinated in the UK, and under-18s who are UK residents, no longer have to self-isolate after visiting any amber country apart from France. But anyone who was fully vaccinated outside the UK still has to quarantine for 10 days on arrival, or pay for the test-to-release scheme to shorten their quarantine.
#AceNewsReport – July.28: David Longhor, 20 (04.07.01) of Villiers Road, Southall, was sentenced on Wednesday, 21 July for the following offences:
#AceDailyNews reports that a man transporting two Skorpion machine guns has been sentenced to nearly 8yrs in prison at Isleworth Crown Court. He entered a guilty plea at the same court on Thursday, 22 April after being charged with …..
– Two counts of possession of a firearm with intent; – Two counts of possession of a prohibited weapon; – Possession of ammunition without a certificate.
Detective Inspector Jim Casey, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “To find one weapon like this is rare. To find two at the same time is almost unheard of! …………Luckily, weapons of this type do not rear their ugly heads often, and most of the time it’s thanks to the proactive work Met officers are undertaking to keep lethal weapons out of the hands of criminals.”…………On Monday, 1 March, Longhor was being watched by surveillance officers. Just before 18:00hrs he was seen to leave his home; he left alone and was carrying a rucksack and wearing blue latex gloves: He took the train to Ealing Station before boarding a district line train to Chiswick Park tube. He was still under surveillance………At Chiswick Park Station, Longhor exited and walked along Bollo Lane, W4. At approximately 18:25hrs, armed officers stopped Longhor on Bollo Lane: He was detained and arrested: Inside his rucksack, officers found two Skorpion machine guns and two magazines, both containing 20 bullets: Longhor instantly claimed the firearms were not his when officers found them: He was taken to a west London police station for questioning. He was charged the following day.
DI Casey added: “Tackling violence, including gun crime, remains our top priority and we will continue to pursue criminals involved in shootings and transporting guns and ammunition around the Capital. The public can help us in our efforts by reporting any knowledge or information they have about criminals involved in high harm offending by calling the police or Crimestoppers.”
#AceNewsReport – July.27: The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow on 31 October – 12 November 2021: The climate talks will bring together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change: As COP26 Presidency, the UK is committed to working with all countries and joining forces with civil society, companies and people on the frontline of climate change to inspire action ahead of #COP26.
#COP26#ClimateChange……How much is the developing world getting to fight climate change ? Net zero targets are ‘pie in the sky’ So what will really be the result of another group of rich nations sitting down eating expensive meals in expensive hotels and backed by so many companies who caused the problem …..It has become “a matter of trust”, Alok Sharma says please Go to the COP26 website for more information.
The developed world had pledged to provide $100bn (£720m) a year by 2020, but this has still not been achieved so what’snext….?
Climate finance was discussed at length during a meeting in London of ministers and officials from more than fifty countries,
According to the senior UN climate representative Patricia Espinosa, developing countries “were very insistent and very clear in their messages” that they expect commitments made up to 2020 to be met.
It is going to be hard enough for rich countries to adjust to the need to remove fossil fuels and carbon from their own economies.
But it is going to be a lot more challenging in developing nations, where there is far less money to pay for new infrastructure and technology.
And there are an awful lot of people under threat.
So funding is needed for:
adaptation – adjusting to the growing effects of climate change
mitigation – reducing the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere
How much has been promised?
As long ago as 2009, the developed world agreed it would provide $100bn a year by 2020 to help poorer countries:
deal with the effects of climate change
build greener economies in the future
But, although official figures have not yet been released, an expert reportcommissioned by the United Nations concludes the target has not been reached – even though a new and more ambitious target is now supposed to be set for 2025.
“The $100bn commitment should be seen as a floor not a ceiling,” lead author Amar Bhattacharya, from the Brookings Institution, says.
“Some progress has been made – but a lot more needs to be done.”
For many countries, this is the biggest issue to resolve in the run-up to Cop26 – and the very poorest are demanding action.
How far short are the pledges?
It is quite hard to calculate what money should be included in the overall figure, because it is a complicated mix of money from governments, international lenders and private companies.
But the UN and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimate the total had reached nearly $79bn by 2018 – and failed to reach $100bn by 2020.
Between 2016 and 2018, 43% of the funding went to Asia, 25% to Africa and 17% to the Americas – a lot of it spent on green energy or transport infrastructure.
But far more will be needed.
Who is not paying enough?
The rich countries recognise they have not yet met the target they set themselves.
“Within the G7 [group of rich countries], the three countries that have been the leaders are Germany, Japan and France in that order,” Mr Bhattacharya says.
The UK and Canada are slightly behind them – but the two big laggards are the United States and, particularly, Italy.
ReutersThe UK will be hosting Cop26
In April, the US announced it would double its 2016 climate-finance contributions to $5.7bn by 2025 – but compared with the size of its economy, that is still very small.
Meanwhile, Italy provides only about $0.6bn per year.
Both countries have signed up to a big push to increase the overall amount of money provided, but that will need domestic political approval.
“President Biden has indicated to me his total commitment to helping to make that happen,” US Climate Envoy John Kerry says.
“If they [the developed world] do not come together and produce that, it is going to be exceedingly hard to get any kind of broad-based agreement.”
So there is an expectation further announcements will be made between now and Cop26. And ministers from Germany and Canada have been tasked with developing a “credible delivery plan” to make sure the $100bn figure is achieved.
But experts say that should be only the beginning.
Dr Alina Averchenkova, from the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, says: “$100bn isn’t going to do it – we need to move trillions in both public and private money.
“The pandemic has shown us it can be done when there is the political will.
“Unfortunately, climate change is quickly becoming the same kind of emergency – and it will be with us for the long term.”
Are there any strings attached to the money?
Yes. By 2018, about three-quarters of the government money made available for climate action in developing countries was in the form of loans that need to be paid back, rather than grants that do not.
The share of grants was higher to the very poorest countries – but still less than half the total.
And that is a big problem in countries, many already heavily in debt, where Covid has made access to international funds even more pressing.
“Developing countries cannot just rely on loans, so it is going to be really important that more climate finance is provided in grants,” Dr Averchenkova says.
“It’s never going to be the whole amount – but it needs to be more.”
So it is the quality as well as the quantity of funding that matters.
And the message from the world’s poorer countries is pretty simple – if you want ambitious climate targets, you are going to have to pay for them.
#AceNewsReport – July.27: The warning has been issued to companies at the border, including port and airport operators, contractors, couriers and freight operators, as their furloughed staff return to work following the easing of #COVID19 restrictions.
#AceDailyNews reports that NCA warns furloughed port and airport workers could be exploited by organised criminal groups and as global restrictions on the movement of people and goods are further relaxed, the alert warns that staff who have a detailed knowledge of controls and processes around the border could be targeted….
NCA Borders Threat Lead Beki Wright said: Life has been difficult for everyone during the Covid 19 pandemic, including staff who work at the border, but organised criminals are alive to the opportunities this presents: The prospect of having your bills paid in exchange for disclosing knowledge about the UK border might seem appealing, but the people behind these offers are high-harm criminals responsible for drug smuggling, gun running, money laundering and people trafficking: Working with our partners at the Department for Transport and Border Force, we are determined to do all we can to combat corruption and dismantle the criminal networks responsible for it.”Beki Wright added: We are aware that staff can be contacted via social media channels and would urge anyone who has been approached in this or any other way to contact us immediately. Your actions could help prevent serious criminality.
Rob Allen, Deputy Director for the Border Force Insider Threat and Integrity Team, said: We are absolutely committed to tackling organised crime and doing whatever is necessary to protect the public from harm: We welcome opportunities such as working with the NCA to disrupt organised criminal networks.” In recent years NCA investigations and intelligence has identified examples of organised criminal networks targeting those working at ports and airports, parcel hubs and delivery centres. While the numbers are relatively low, the impact of such corrupt insiders can be extremely high.
The NCA’s 2021 National Strategic Assessment of Serious and Organised crime states that OCG efforts to establish new insider contacts are likely to increase as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic. The Amber Alert issued by the agency warns that OCGs frequently offer financial support in return for knowledge and access to restricted areas. This can be used to help smuggle illicit commodities such as firearms and drugs, or the movement of vulnerable people and children through organised immigration crime: OCGs may approach workers face-to-face or online, posing as recruiters or on some other legitimate pretext.
In February 2020, Ben Whitby was stopped by police on his way home from Killingholme Docks where he worked as a tug operator. The glove box of his car was found to contain a package of cocaine with a street value of £150,000 and £3,000 in cash.
Whitby was also found to have an active Encro-device, a mobile telephone handset specifically and exclusively used to send and receive sophisticated encrypted communications – much favoured by serious and organised criminals prior to Operation VENETIC as a means of preventing law enforcement interception of messages.
A subsequent search of Whitby’s home discovered a further £20,000 in cash and a collection of high value watches, indicative of an income far beyond what his work at the port paid.
In June 2020, Whitby was sentenced to a total of 6 years and 9 months imprisonment for possession of the cocaine and money laundering.
In April 2018 baggage handler Joysen Jhurry was among 11 defendants for their role in a plot to smuggler cannabis and cocaine ino the UK.
Jhurry was observed on CCTV moving suitcases that had arrived from Brazil onto the Domestic reclaim belt, where they would be collected by couriers.
A substantial quantity of Class A drugs was recovered and it transpired that over 100kg cocaine and 44kg cannabis had been imported into the UK using this method. Jhurry was jailed for 16 years for his role.
Port of Tilbury
In September 2019 a long-running and complex NCA investigation resulted in the conviction of Tilbury port worker, Michael Fowler, who was jailed for 14 years.
He was part of an OCG that moved “dirty” containers carrying drugs to areas of the port where they were more easily accessible, enabling the recovery of the drugs by outside gang members.
“ If you are or have been approached or you have information please contact Crimestoppers anonymously, either online or by phone on 0800 555 111. If you have the means to report it through your employer or access to a whistle-blowing scheme, you can use that.
#AceNewsReport – July.27: Investigators from the OCP – a joint National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police Service Unit – had been watching the group as they conducted multiple drugs and cash handovers in Gravesend, Kent, in the week prior to their arrests.
#AceDailyNews reports on the Venetic Investigation: Kent woman headed up family-run multi-million cocaine dealership: Nicola Stevens’ illegal business was brought down in April last year when she, along with the five other members of the criminal network, were arrested by the Organised Crime Partnership (OCP) via takedown of EncroChat
The group conducted their business via the encrypted messaging service EncroChat, which was taken down in July 2020 as part of Operation Venetic – the UK law enforcement response to the takedown of encrypted messaging service, EncroChat: Messages downloaded from their phones showed them arranging meetings to pick up or exchange drugs and money on a daily basis: Upon receiving a message that he was about to be delivered some cash, Coribel AKA ‘Dreamwalker’ replies, “And you want me to take to mum?”, referring to Stevens.
Stevens, 51, coordinated the group’s activity with her son-in-law and second in command, Luke Coribel, 32.
They were supported by three couriers – David Adeniji, 29, Kyle Hills, 32, and Quang Viet Pham, 29.
Her partner, Philip Spence, 52, helped launder the dirty cash.
On 14 April 2020, OCP officers watched Adeniji and Hills meet briefly on Hillingdon Road in Gravesend, before both driving separately the short distance to Coribel’s house on Gatwick Road.
Coribel came out of his house and opened the door to his van for Hills, who then transferred a large box from his own van to Coribel’s.
Officers then moved in and detained Hills but Coribel fled the scene on foot. The box was seized from his van and found to cocaine 20 kilos of cocaine. A further four kilos were found under the floorboards in his house.
Adeniji also attempted to drive away but was stopped and arrested a short time after.
At the same time, Stevens and Spence were arrested at their house on Rochester Road, where officers seized over £200,000 in cash, encrypted phones, a money counting machine and drug dealing paraphernalia.
Coribel handed himself in to a local police station two days later.
Officers arrested Pham a week prior to this, after he was seen picking up a bag of cash from Stevens. He had attempted to hide the bag in a specially constructed concealment in his van disguised as a Honda-branded generator.
A matching concealment was found in Adeniji’s car on the day of his arrest.
In another exchange sent during lockdown, Stevens AKA ‘Avocadovermouth’ tells Adeniji AKA ‘Powerroyal’, “Im going to look on line and buy you all hi viz jackets make you look like workers”.
Following Adeniji’s arrest, Stevens received a message telling her “Stay inside… They got royal (Adeniji).” She replied, “Who, the police?” and is then told, “Yes stay in hide money”.
Investigators were able to evidence that in total, the crime group were involved in the movement of over around 786 kilos of cocaine and £5 million in cash.
The total profit of the drugs sold by the group is believed to be at least £27.5 million.
Yesterday (23/07/2021) at Woolwich Crown Court, a jury found Stevens guilty of Conspiracy to supply cocaine and money laundering. Spence was convicted of money laundering.
They were also both sentenced today to 15 years and nine months respectively.
The other four members of the group had already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and money laundering on various dates.
They were each sentenced to between seven and eight years in jail but on 30 April 2021, a judge deemed their sentences too lenient and increased them as follows:
Coribel – 8 years 3 months – now sentenced to 13 years
Pham – 7 years 2 months – now sentenced to 12 years
Adeniji – 8 years 3 months – now sentenced to 13 years
Hills – 7 years 6 months – now sentenced to 11 years
John Coles, Head of Specialist Operations at the NCA said: This targeted investigation conducted jointly by the NCA and the Met Police has taken out an entire organised crime group who were responsible for distributing huge amounts of class A drugs throughout London and the home counties: Today’s convictions mean the last remaining members of the group, Stevens and Spence, will join the rest of their criminal family behind bars: Disrupting the organised crime groups responsible for bringing class A drugs into the UK is a priority for the NCA. Cocaine supply causes significant harm to the public through its links to violence and the exploitation of young and vulnerable people: Through our partnership with the Met, we’re able to ensure we’re targeting those higher up the drug supply chain and having a significant impact at a local level.”
Detective Superintendent Simon Moring from the Metropolitan Police Service said: “Tackling violence on the streets of London remains our absolute top priority: This operation has significantly disrupted the activities of an organised crime group intent on importing and distributing Class A drugs across not just London, but the entire of the United Kingdom: There is an undeniable link between drugs and violence on the streets. Many people may believe this level of organised crime has no impact on the day to day lives of the general public, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The drugs distributed by this group would have gone down the chain and ended up being sold on the streets of cities across the country: We will continue to develop and carry out operations of this scale and will continue to identify those involved in serious and organised crime and bring them to justice.”
#AceNewsReport – July.27: She initially denied having any cash on her, but Border Force officers found the money in vacuum-packed bundles, stuffed inside her five checked in suitcases. Hanlon was arrested for money laundering….
#AceNewsDesk reports that Multi-million cash courier who thought she would be living a “perfect life” sentenced to 34 months in jail after The National Crime Agency’s investigation into Tara Hanlon, age 30 and from Leeds, began in October 2020 after she was stopped from boarding a flight from Heathrow to Dubai.
The bundles were covered in coffee, in an apparent attempt to disguise them from being picked up by sniffer dogs.
NCA investigators were able to trace her travel patterns over the previous months, and found that she had made three other trips in July and August 2020.
Enquiries with the Dubai authorities showed that on each occasion she had declared she was carrying more than a million pounds in cash upon arrival, totalling £3.5 million.
In interviews with NCA officers she admitted being driven to a hotel in London to pick up the cases, and was having her flight and hotel bills paid for.
Text messages found on her phones by NCA investigators indicated she was being paid around £3,000 for each trip.
In messages to a contact she bragged “3 big ones…with this wage and the next my debts go bye”. Other messages also indicated she was looking to recruit other couriers, referring to the job as a “…perfect life a few days in the sun and a few at home.”
Hanlon later admitted money laundering charges, and today (Monday 26 July) a judge at Isleworth Crown Court sentenced her to 34 months in prison.
NCA senior investigating officer Ian Truby
“Hanlon smuggled more than £3.5 million criminal cash out of the UK and was caught red handed with another £2 million. This money undoubtedly came from organised crime.
“Tara Hanlon thought that she was going to be living a jet-set lifestyle, instead she is now serving a prison sentence. I hope her story is a cautionary one for others who would consider doing the same.
“Stopping the flow of illicit cash is a priority for the NCA and our partners.”
Following the arrest of Hanlon a number of other cash couriers were identified suspected of being linked to the same money laundering network.
In November 2020 Czech national Zdenek Kamaryt, aged 38, from Ceske Budejovice in the Czech Republic, was intercepted as he attempted to board a flight from Heathrow to Dubai. £1.3 million cash was found in his bags, with investigators identifying he had made two previous trips in July and August.
Kamaryt pleaded guilty to money laundering offences and was given a two-year jail sentence on 9 March 2021.
Eight other people were arrested in a series of raids in May 2021 at locations in London, Surrey, West Yorkshire, and Greater Manchester. They were released under investigation while enquiries continue.
#AceNewsReport – July.26: An investigation by the Environment Agency prevented 16 25-tonne containers from onward export between Southampton and India and Indonesia in 2018 and 2019. Biffa was also convicted of exporting a further 26 containers that sailed before they could be stopped.
#AceNewsDesk reports that Biffa Waste Services Ltd have been caught exporting 1,000-tonnes of banned waste collected from private homes, labelled as paper, to Asia but including soiled-nappies, wigs and clothing in an illegal shipment despite earlier conviction: The court was told Biffa, with a £1 billion turnover last year, continued to export waste despite being fined £350,000 for shipping similar prohibited material to China in 2015: They will be sentenced on 30 July at Wood Green crown court according to the Environment Agency
Wood Green crown court heard Biffa logged various items as paper at its depot in north London. The tightly-packed waste included soiled nappies, tins, hairpieces, plastics, as well as clothing and food packaging. Investigators said the bundles gave off a putrid odour.
All of it was destined for 1 paper mill in India and 2 more in Indonesia.
Malcolm Lythgo, head of waste regulation at the Environment Agency, said:
We are pleased with the court’s decision. We want all producers and waste companies to be responsible and make sure they only export material that can be legally and safely sent abroad for recycling.
Illegal waste exports blight the lives and environment of those overseas. The Environment Agency will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those found to break the rules.
We prevented the illegal export of almost 23,000 tonnes of unsuitable waste in 2019/20, and are working with the Government on a number of measures that would tighten controls. These include increased monitoring of international waste shipments, and charging higher fees to improve compliance.
Stephen Young, lead enforcement officer on the recent case for the Environment Agency, said:
This was a significant and successful investigation into Biffa’s exports to Asia. The Environment Agency will continue to pursue operators who flout the law by sending household waste to developing countries.
Exports of unsorted household recycling waste from the UK to India and Indonesia have been banned since 1994.
All UK waste exports should meet regulations on waste shipments, and the Environment Agency has a system of inspections in place to verify compliance.
The jury did not accept Biffa’s version of events that consignments leaving its premises complied with the law because they contained waste paper.
Biffa Waste Services Ltd, of Coronation Road, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, was convicted of 4 breaches of regulation 23 of the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007.
#AceNewsReport – July.26: A small Organised Criminal Network who arranged the importation of guns, ammunition and heroin have been sentenced to a total of 42 years’ imprisonment.
#AceDailyNews reports that an Organised Criminal Network has been sentenced for importation of six handguns and ammunition together with conspiracy to supply Class A drug (Heroin) following a joint operation with other forces ….
[A] Rocky Thompson, 35 (09.09.85) of no fixed address was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to sell/transfer firearms, conspiracy to possess ammunition and conspiracy to supply Class A drugs (heroin).
[B] Shakeel Khaliq, 34 (07.03.87) of Ardenham Street, Aylesbury was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment after being found guilty following a trial at Southwark Crown Court of conspiracy to sell/transfer firearms.
[C] Yetgin Eken, 47 (01.09.73) of no fixed address, was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment after being found guilty following a trial at Woolwich Crown Court of conspiracy to sell/transfer firearms and conspiracy to possess ammunition.
[D] Mohammed Raqib Tariq, 24 (04.07.97) of Manor Road, Aylesbury was found guilty following trial at Southwark Crown Court of participating in the activities of an Organised Criminal Group. He was sentenced to a 21 month suspended sentence.
All four were sentenced together on Friday, 16 July.
A trial for Khaliq and Tariq started in March 2021. They were convicted on Friday, 9 April at Southwark Crown Court.
A trial for Eken started on Wednesday, 24 May. He was convicted on Wednesday, 26 May at Woolwich Crown Court.
Thompson pleaded guilty to his offences on 17 February 2020 at Southwark Crown Court.
During the trial, the Court heard that on 4 September 2019, Rocky Thompson made a trip from the UK to Istanbul in Turkey.
Over the following weeks, Thompson (the leader of the Organised Crime Network (OCN)), was in regular contact with Khaliq, his second in command, and a contact in Turkey. Over this time, they regularly discussed the purchase of firearms.
Within weeks of Thompson’s visit to Turkey, Yetgin Ekin was tasked with transporting the firearms into the UK via Dover. He did this by hiding the weapons and ammunition in the back of his lorry before driving up to Thetford in Norfolk on 20 September 2019.
Once the guns were in Thetford, a flurry of calls were made between Thompson, Khaliq and their contact in Turkey. Khaliq then arranged for Tariq to meet him (Khaliq) and Thompson in Aylesbury in order to collect the first shipment of guns from Eken.
Tariq was entrusted to make a down-payment of cash for the firearms, ammunition and a quantity of heroin. The OCN then left Thetford to travel back to Aylesbury.
On 23 September 2019, Eken left the UK in his lorry.
On 14 October 2019, he returned to the UK via Dover; he was driving the same lorry as last time he entered the country.
Calls were made within the OCN – and to their contact in Turkey – shortly after Eken arrived in the UK. Officers now know these were calls to arrange the collection of guns, ammunition and heroin.
Just after 15:00hrs, Tariq once again arrived at Thetford to meet with Eken.
Eken was then seen to place a black holdall in the boot of Tariq’s vehicle. Once he placed the bag in the boot he removed a red/orange bag. It transpired that this red/orange bag contained £9,000.
Once this handover was made, officers from the Met, Thames Valley and Norfolk moved into position, before executing three armed police arrests almost simultaneously.
Armed officers from Thames Valley executed a warrant to arrest Thompson and his right-hand man, Khaliq at an address on Witham Way in Aylesbury. The address was being used as a safe house by the two men whilst the firearms were being collected.
Norfolk and Suffolk armed officers arrested Tariq at a petrol station near Newmarket in Suffolk. In the boot of a car they found a black holdall which was zipped shut. Upon opening it, they found six pistols and 126 rounds of ammunition. They also found just over 1kg of heroin with a street value of approximately £100,000.
Eken was arrested in his lorry.
All of the suspects were taken into custody for interview. During his interview, Eken said he knew nothing about the firearms and believed he was dropping off food. However, his mobile phone contained images of the handguns dispelling his claims of not knowing what was being transported.
Detective Chief Inspector DrissHayoukane, the Senior Investigating Officer (SIO), said: “This was a complex and fast moving investigation relating to firearms being trafficked into the UK. I am proud of the professionalism, dedication and hard work of my team who we were able to build such a compelling case to dismantle this OCN, which was evidently acknowledged by Rocky Thompson who entered a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity: The sentencing of this OCN underlines the commitment of the Metropolitan Police and our law enforcement partners to tackle those involved in trafficking firearms. We are steadfast in our determination keep them off our streets. We were able to seize six lethal guns, ammunition and heroin, just after they were brought into the country. I am satisfied that this operation has kept the lethal weapons from the hands of criminals and this has prevented serious if not fatal shootings within London or further afield: This is a good example of collaborative work between different police jurisdictions. This operation would have not been successful but for the help of officers from Thames Valley Police and Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies.”
#AceNewsReport – July.26: The death is being treated as unexplained and despite extensive enquiries officers have been unable to identify him or inform his family….
#AceDailyNews reports on MET Appeal after man’s body found in Grand Union Canal officers were called at 11:19hrs on Saturday, 24 July 2021 following a report that a body had been found in the Grand Union Canal off Kensington Road. He was pronounced dead at the scene……Death is being treated as unexplained and they are unable to identify him …..
He is described as being aged between 50 and 60 and is thought to be Asian. He was wearing a black shirt with black trousers and a grey jumper. He was clean shaven and had three scars on his body. The scars are thought to be have come from surgery and are not believed to be connected to his death.
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 quoting CAD 2948/24Jul.
#AceNewsReport – July.23: Shane’s family are being supported by specialist officers as the investigation into the circumstances continue, led by officers in the Met’s Specialist Crime Command.
#AceDailyNews reports that the victim of fatal stabbing in Brixton has been named as officers appeal for further information after a man has been arrested but later released …Can you help?
A crime scene remains in place and enquiries continue.
Police were called at 20:18hrs on Wednesday, 21 July to reports of an assault close to Brixton Underground Station: Officers attended and found Shane suffering from a stab injury: They immediately provided first aid: The London Ambulance Service and London’s Air Ambulance also attended but despite their efforts he was pronounced dead at the scene at the 20:45hrs: A post-mortem examination will be held in due course.
Detective Chief Inspector Kate Blackburn is leading the investigation. She said: “Brixton Road near to the tube station is a busy area of London and there were many people in the street, on buses and in cars yesterday evening: We have spoken to a number witnesses already and I am asking for anyone who was in the area and who may have seen anything, or have footage on their phone or dash cam, to please contact us. A young man has tragically lost his life in an attack on a busy high street, I am asking anyone with any information to call police via 101 quoting reference Cad 7056/21Jul. To remain anonymous contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
A 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm. He has since been released with no further action.
Hard calls save lives. Are you close to someone on the fringes of knife crime? Do the right thing, please give information 100 per cent anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers. It can feel like a hard call, but it could save the life of someone you love.
No piece of information about knife crime is insignificant or too small. Any information you give to Crimestoppers can make a difference in reducing knife crime and the harm it causes to families.
They never ask your name and they cannot trace your call, your IP address or the device you use. Fill in their quick online form or call 0800 555 111. It could save a life.
#AceNewsReport – July.23: The group are alleged to have had contacts across Europe, in France, Germany the Netherlands and Poland…..
#AceDailyNews reports that seven arrests have been made as NCA dismantles Albanian people smuggling network suspected of bringing hundreds to the UK these were among those detained by NCA officers in a series of raids in south London, Surrey, Oxfordshire and Hartlepool yesterday (20 July) was the alleged ringleader of the people smuggling network, which investigators believe used lorries and hired vans to transport individuals from northern France.
Over a period of six months between July and December 2020 six such attempts were stopped by Border Force officers carrying out searches of vehicles at the Channel Tunnel terminal in Coquelles, near Calais.
All have subsequently been linked to the OCG under investigation by the NCA.
In one of those attempts, in August last year, two vans were intercepted within half an hour of each other, each carrying ten Albanian migrants.
The drivers of all the stopped vehicles were arrested and investigated by Immigration Enforcement.
In May 2021 two further attempts linked to the network were stopped, as NCA investigators shared intelligence with French and German counterparts which led to vehicles containing migrants being halted by police before they could reach the coast.
In some cases migrants are believed to have paid the OCG between �20,000 and �25,000 to reach the UK. NCA financial investigators have identified numerous bank accounts alleged to belong to the network, each showing tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds in turnover.
All seven arrested today are now being questioned on suspicion of offences including conspiring to facilitate illegal entry to the UK and money laundering.
The operation, which involved around 100 officers, was supported by the Metropolitan Police and Immigration Enforcement. Approximately �30,000 cash was also detained.
NCA Branch Commander Richard Harrison said: We believe these arrests will have significantly disrupted an organised criminal network responsible for smuggling potentially hundreds of people into the UK illegally: The network claimed to provide a top of the range service and charged accordingly, using complicit drivers to transport migrants in hired vehicles: This activity represented a significant threat to both the safety of the migrants involved and the security of UK border controls.”
NCA Deputy Director Andrea Wilson added: This operation shows that people smugglers are right at the top of the NCA’s target list: It is a form of criminality that sees people exploited for profit by criminals who have no regard for human life: Those involved in organised immigration crime should know that our officers are working day and night with partners in the UK and abroad to find them, disrupt and dismantle their business models and bring them to justice: I also have a message today for drivers, commercial or otherwise, who would consider assisting these organised criminal networks by transporting migrants on their behalf.
#AceHealthReport – July.23: Regulations will be laid in Parliament that will require medium and large businesses, including those with 50 or more employees, to phase out their offering of multibuy promotions such as “buy one get one free” or “3 for 2” offers on HFSS products.
#AceHealthDesk reports on Promotions of unhealthy foods that followed a consultation with industry, the government will restrict unhealthy food promotions in stores from October 2022….including ‘ buy-one-get-one-free or 3 for 2 on HFSS products….
Restrictions will apply to medium and large retailers
Measures form a key part of the government’s strategy to tackle obesity and get the nation fit and healthy
Less healthy promotions will also no longer be featured in key locations, such as checkouts, store entrances, aisle ends and their online equivalents. Free refills of sugary soft drinks will also be prohibited in the eating-out sector.
Today’s announcement follows consultation with industry and the government has considered industry’s feedback and has made the decision to extend the implementation date of this policy – from April 2022 to October 2022 – to allow businesses enough time to prepare for these restrictions.
The government will continue to work with businesses, trade associations and local authorities to ensure they are supported in implementing the new requirements ahead of them coming into force. This will include sharing draft guidance with industry and local authorities to provide further clarity on how these restrictions will need to be implemented in practice.
As part of the regulations, the government will provide local authorities with the option of issuing civil penalties for non-compliance with the promotions restrictions.
These measures will support people in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and improve the nation’s health. Over 25 years, these measures are estimated to accrue combined health benefits of approximately £60 million, according to the value that society places on changes in the quality and length of people’s lives as a result of fewer cases of obesity. They will make supermarkets and other retailers places where the healthier choice is the easy choice for everyone and support people to lead healthier lives.
Public Health Minister Jo Churchill, said:
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the impact that an unhealthy weight can have on people’s health. We know families want the healthy choice to be the easy choice, and restricting promotions on unhealthy foods will help them achieve this.
We want to support everyone to eat healthier foods more regularly and this starts with helping supermarkets and manufacturers promote healthier food choices lower or free from HFSS, to support families to make healthier choices.
These restrictions will come into force from October 2022. I look forward to working together with everyone to ensure that for families a healthy option is the easy option when shopping.
Obesity is one of the biggest health crises the country faces as almost two-thirds (63%) of adults in England are overweight or living with obesity and 1 in 3 children leave primary school overweight or obese. Obesity-related illnesses cost the NHS £6 billion a year.
Further action as part of the government’s obesity strategy to get the nation fit and healthy will see the introduction of mandatory calorie labelling in restaurants, cafes and takeaways from April 2022 and restrictions for the advertising of HFSS products being shown on TV before 9pm and online coming into force at the end of 2022.
There is a two-stage process to define what products are captured by the promotions restrictions. This two-step process ensures the restrictions apply to the products of most concern to childhood obesity whilst allowing the healthiest products within categories to be excluded. First the products will only be subject to the restrictions if they are in a narrowed set of categories listed in regulations. If a product falls into one of these categories, then the second stage is to apply the 2004/05 Nutrient profiling Model (NPM). If a food products scores 4 or above or a drink product scores 1 or above it will be considered as HFSS and not able to be promoted.
The government’s Impact Assessment for the promotions policy can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/restricting-promotions-of-food-and-drink-that-is-high-in-fat-sugar-and-salt
#AceNewsReport – July.23: The announcement by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick today (21 July 2021) follows new advice from fire safety experts that the government commissioned earlier in the year to investigate risk in medium and lower-rise buildings, which makes clear that there is no systemic risk of fire in these blocks of flats…
#AceDailyNewsreports that a GOVUK Announces a Major intervention programme from government and lenders to support leaseholders which is a significant step forward for leaseholders in medium and lower-rise buildings who have faced difficulty in selling, anxiety at the potential cost of remediation and concern at the safety of their homes and it comes following expert advice that the forms should no longer be needed on buildings below 18 metres.
Advice from independent expert group finds there is no systemic risk of fire in blocks of flats under 18 metres
States that residents need to be reassured on safety and recommends an urgent move to a proportionate approach to low and medium-rise buildings
Following the expert advice, government sets out that EWS1 forms should not be requested for buildings below 18 metres
Major lenders welcome the move, paving the way for EWS1 forms to no longer be needed, which should free leaseholders from cost and delay and provide confidence to the housing market
The report recommends that residents are reassured as to safety, and a more proportionate approach is urgently instituted, requiring action by all market participants.
A group of major high street lenders has committed to review their practices following the new advice; HSBC UK, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group and others have said that the expert report and government statement paves the way for EWS1 forms to no longer be required for buildings below 18 metres and will help further unlock the housing market.
The government welcomes their support but is now calling on others to demonstrate leadership by working rapidly to update guidance and policies in line with the expert advice.
The expert advice was commissioned by the Secretary of State after witnessing what Dame Judith Hackitt, Chair of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, has described as extreme risk aversion, which has left leaseholders across the country receiving costly bills for remediation that is not necessary.
It states that fire risks should be managed wherever possible through measures such as alarm systems or sprinklers, and that the overwhelming majority of medium and low- rise buildings (those under 18m) with cladding should not require expensive remediation.
The intervention is designed to reduce needless and costly remediation in lower rise buildings and is part of wider efforts to restore balance to the market, helping flat owners to buy, sell or re-mortgage homes.
Risk to life in blocks of flats remains very low. The number of fires in homes in England has been on a general downward trend for many years, reaching an all-time low last year. 91% were in houses, bungalows, converted or low rise flats, while only 9% were in blocks of flats of four storeys or more.
The government is already fully funding the cost of replacing unsafe cladding on all buildings over 18 metres, through the unprecedented £5 billion Building Safety Fund, and has been clear with building owners, lenders and the industry throughout that they must take a proportionate response to fire safety and enable homeowners to get on with their lives.
Today’s announcement – outlined by the Secretary of State during the second reading of the Building Safety Bill – demonstrates that the industry should now be actively taking an evidence-based approach to fire safety.
The move has been backed by the National Fire Chiefs Council and the Institution of Fire Engineers.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said:
Today’s announcement is a significant step forward for leaseholders in medium and lower-rise buildings who have faced difficulty in selling, anxiety at the potential cost of remediation and concern at the safety of their homes.
While we are strengthening the overall regulatory system, leaseholders cannot remain stuck in homes they cannot sell because of excessive industry caution, nor should they feel that they are living in homes that are unsafe, when the evidence demonstrates otherwise.
That’s why I commissioned an expert group to further examine the issue, and have already agreed with many major lenders that lower-rise buildings will no longer need an EWS1 form, and the presumption should be that these homes can be bought and sold as normal.
We hope that this intervention will help restore balance to the market and provide reassurance for existing and aspiring homeowners alike. The government has made its position very clear and I urge the rest of the market to show leadership and endorse this propionate, evidence based, safety approach.
There is a longstanding legal duty on the Responsible Person for all purpose-built blocks of flats to have an up-to-date fire risk assessment. Moving forward, where the Responsible Person has identified fire safety issues they should update their fire risk assessments to determine any actions required. This could include measures such as installing sprinklers or alarms and in exceptional cases, remediation to ensure buildings are safe and people feel safe.
To help with this, new guidance for the risk assessment of external wall systems will be introduced. The PAS9980 will ensure that fire risk assessments are consistent, proportionate to risk and actions to manage risk are cost-effective, and the Consolidated Advice Note will be withdrawn.
For buildings under 18m which do require remediation, the government will introduce a financing scheme so that no leaseholder will have to pay more than £50 a month for the cost of replacing unsafe cladding. Further details of this scheme will be set out in due course.
Welcoming the support from the fire safety profession and from major lenders, Dame Judith Hackitt said:
I am pleased to see the support and commitment to returning to an evidence-based proportionate approach to fire and building safety. It’s critical, given the significant – and in many cases unnecessary – impact this is having on people who live in and own homes in blocks of flats.
What’s needed now is for the remaining bodies and lenders to get onboard so we have a collective, fact-based system that is reflective of the reality of the situation and reassures leaseholders that they, their homes and their investments are safe.
CEO of the Institution of Fire Engineers, Steve Hamm, said:
The IFE supports the expert statement issued today. We expect this will lead to a significant reduction in the demand for the EWS1 process from mortgage valuers, particularly for buildings under 18m in height.
Today’s statement will support competent fire engineers to use their professional training, judgement and expertise to assess buildings based on professional appraisal of risk. This should enable a move away from the often risk-averse and overly cautious approach that has been seen in many cases.
We welcome the commitment of all parties to ensure a proportionate and evidence-based approach to fire and building safety for all buildings along with the increased scrutiny to be provided by the new Regulators and the gateway approval process, which we expect will lead to improved levels of safety, providing comfort and reassurance for residents and homeowners as well as the wider market.”
Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), Mark Hardingham said:
“We fully support this new advice and welcome the challenge to those who are applying an overly risk-averse approach in many buildings below 18 metres. We expect this will start to redress the balance where disproportionate measures have been put in place to manage fire risks. We want to ensure that buildings are safe and will work closely with fire and rescue services to apply the advice for buildings in their area.”
The government has also set out plans for developers of high-rises in England to contribute to the cost of remediating safety defects in a major step towards ensuring industry contributes to righting the wrongs of the past.
A consultation published today outlines that the levy will be applied when developers seek permission to build certain high-rise residential buildings of 18 metres or more in height.
The money recouped would contribute towards fixing historic fire safety defects, including unsafe cladding, protecting leaseholders and taxpayers from shouldering the burden of remediation costs.
The government is calling for views on the proposed design of the levy, which was first announced earlier this year as part of multi-billion-pound package to fix unsafe cladding on high-rise residential buildings, alongside wider financial and regulatory support.
The government has also confirmed today that the Building Safety Fund will reopen for applications in Autumn for any eligible buildings that missed the original deadline in June, with more details to be published in the coming months.
The expert group members are:
Dame Judith Hackitt, Chair of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety
Sir Ken Knight, Chair of the Independent Expert Advisory Panel on building safety following the Grenfell Tower Fire
Ron Dobson, former London Fire Commissioner
Roy Wilsher, adviser on fire reform, former Chief Fire Officer.
Very few fires spread from the room where they start. In 2019/20, 7% of fires spread beyond the room of origin in blocks of flats over four storeys, compared with 9% in blocks below four storeys and 14% in houses, bungalows, converted flats and other dwellings.
As part of the strengthened regulatory system set out in the Building Safety Bill, all high-rise residential buildings will have to have a golden thread of information, which will capture and protect all relevant safety information relating to the building.
The golden thread was a recommendation by Dame Judith Hackitt and will be used by the people responsible for the building to demonstrate its safety to the regulator throughout its life-cycle.
Full statements from lenders:
We welcome the statement from experts on building safety and note the assessment from the parties to the statement that there is no systemic risk from fire in medium and lower rise blocks of flats. Our expectation is that the existing consolidated advice note will be removed and, with the endorsement from IFE, this means we will no longer require EWS1 forms for buildings below 18m, and consequently RICS guidance will be updated in line with this advice. We look forward to these changes being reflected in valuations from our RICS qualified partners and remain committed to supporting affected homeowners.
We have seen and support the statement from experts on building safety and accept their assessment that there is no systemic risk from fire in medium and lower rise blocks of flats. This should remove the need for EWS1 forms for mortgage applications in any block below 18 metres. Our approach to mortgage lending and valuation has been and will remain proportionate, relying on the normal statutory process for blocks of flats having an up-to-date fire risk assessment to assure residents’ safety.
Lloyds Banking Group
We welcome the government’s statement on fire safety in multi storey apartment blocks and specifically its declaration, based on advice from relevant experts on building safety, that there is no systemic risk from fire in medium and lower rise blocks of flats. In particular, we welcome the government’s pledge to withdraw its consolidated advice note. We look forward to working with RICS as they update their specialist guidance, which should provide the certainty everyone needs. We also look forward to seeing the details of the government loan scheme that will provide residents support if they need any cladding-related remediation. We expect the government’s action will help further unlock the housing market.
#AceNewsReport – July.22: Officers, assisted by the Met’s Territorial Support Group (TSG) and colleagues from the National Crime Agency (NCA), targeted 16 addresses in south London in raids starting early on Wednesday morning….
#AceDailyNews reports that drug warrants were carried out in Southwark on Wednesday, 21 July, by officers from ‘Southwark Safer Neighbourhoods Team’ and the local CID, along with officers from the Met’s Central Specialist Crime, led an operation focused on the disruption of suspected offenders operating in the Peckham and Old Kent Road areas.
In total, 12 males – aged between 16 and 55 – were arrested on suspicion of offences including supply of Class A drugs, conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.
Searches at the addresses have concluded and officers have seized a quantity of what is believed to be Class A and Class B drugs, as well as a stash of cash.
The investigation was launched in December 2020 after officers identified a number of people involved in drug supply across Southwark.
The early stages of the investigation revealed to officers that there were a large amount of drugs lines operating in the area. Those believed to be concerned in the supply were subsequently targeted as part of the long running operation.
The operation involved more than 200 officers from the Met, as well as a number of officers from the NCA.
Neighbourhood Inspector Tom Cornish, from the Central South Basic Command Unit, which covers Lambeth and Southwark, said:“This morning’s activity is a direct result of months and months of hard work by officers. The public have played an important role in providing information that has assisted us in the dismantling of these drug lines. Concerns of drug dealing in the area were raised and we have acted to put a stop to this pernicious activity: We know that drug dealing is closely linked to violence we see on the streets of London and cause great misery in our communities. That is exactly why disrupting the supply of drugs is a central part of our work to continue to tackle violence in the capital: By disrupting these drug supply lines, we have hopefully prevented associated violent incidents from occurring in the future.”…….All those arrested have been taken to police stations in south London.
+ Do you have information about drug crime? If you have information that could help keep your community safe, but don’t want to speak to police, please contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They do not ask your name and cannot trace your call or I.P address.
Any young people who have information about drug dealing or want information about the consequences of drug crime, can visit www.fearless.org to where they can pass on information anonymously – your I.P address will not be traced. Fearless is part of the Crimestopperscharity and is independent of the police.
Hard calls save lives. Are you close to someone on the fringes of violence or drug crime? Do the right thing, please give information, 100 per cent anonymously, through the independent charity Crimestoppers.
No piece of information about violent crime is insignificant or too small. Any information you give to Crimestoppers can make a difference in reducing knife crime and the harm it causes to families.
#AceNewsReport – July.22: This comes after he was found guilty of one count of attempted grievous bodily harm on Thursday, 20 May at Kingston Crown Court. He pleaded guilty to six counts of making threats with a bladed article in a public place, criminal damage, burglary and theft at the same court on Wednesday, 21 April.,,,,
#AceDailyNews reports that Ibrahim Ajbeer, 30 (16.01.91) of Moor Lane, Preston, Lancashire was sentenced to six years and ten months in prison at Kingston Crown court on Monday, 19 July.
On 11 October, 2020 at 21:47hrs, Ajbeer entered a shop on Battersea Park Road, SW11 and went behind the counter, picking up a knife which he used to threaten store workers before being chased away.
He didn’t stop there, going into a supermarket on Battersea Park Road to steal a bottle of vodka with the knife in his hand.
Once outside, he approached a woman and ran after her. He grabbed hold of her, pulled clothing from her and held a knife over her as she lay on the ground before he was chased away by members of the public.
His rampage continued on to Falcon Road, SW11 where he stabbed at the window of a car, causing it to shatter, before threatening two women outside a pub on Falcon Road, pinning one to the floor.
The events culminated when he attempted to stab a woman and threatened another before several members of the public bravely intervened and detained him. Officers arrived on scene and arrested Ajbeer.
DC Emily Dawson, investigating officer, said: “This was a string of violent, unprovoked attacks in which Ajbeer inflicted fear and intimidation on those in the local community. He went out on the streets looking to cause harm to the public and I thank the members of the public who intervened and restrained Ajbeer. The consequences of his actions could have been far worse and it took extreme bravery to confront him: Ajbeer will now spend a considerable amount of time in prison. I am certain this has made our streets a safer place and hope it will bring some closure and justice to the victims who suffered terrifying ordeals. The Met remains committed and dedicated to tackling violent crime and putting offenders behind bars.”
#AceHealthReport – July.22: NHS staff including nurses, paramedics, consultants, and dentists in England will receive a 3% pay rise backdated to April 2021 after the government accepted the recommendations of the independent NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) and the Review Body for Doctors’ and Dentists’ Renumeration (DDRB).
Government accepts recommendations of NHS independent pay review bodies in full for this year
3% pay rise for NHS staff including nurses, paramedics, consultants, dentists and salaried GPs
NHS staff recognised for their pandemic contribution during an unprecedented year
For the average nurse, this will mean an additional £1,000 a year, while many porters and cleaners will receive around £540.
The government committed to providing NHS staff with a pay uplift in recognition of the unique impact of the pandemic on the NHS.
The independent pay review bodies considered a range of evidence from organisations including government, the NHS and trade unions in order to reach their recommendations.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:
NHS staff are rightly receiving a pay rise this year despite the wider public sector pay pause, in recognition of their extraordinary efforts. We asked the independent pay review bodies for their recommendations and I’m pleased to accept them in full, with a 3% pay rise for all staff in scope, from doctors and nurses to paramedics and porters.
We will back the NHS as we focus our efforts on getting through this pandemic and tackling the backlog of other health problems that has built up. I will continue to do everything I can to support all those in our health service who are working so tirelessly to care for patients.
Minister for Care Helen Whately said:
I am determined to make the NHS the best place to work for all our staff and we continue to invest in recruitment and retention with over 45,300 more staff in the NHS now compared to a year ago, including nearly 9,000 more nurses and over 4,000 more doctors.
Our NHS staff have worked incredibly hard to fight the pandemic for over eighteen months and I’m glad to confirm we are accepting the pay review bodies’ recommendations in full this year, so staff in their remit will receive a 3% pay rise.
In addition, salaried GPs’ recommended minimum and maximum pay will be uplifted by 3% whilst dental contracts will be uplifted to account for the 3% uplift for dentists.
The reports will be laid before Parliament at 9:30am tomorrow morning (22 July).
The pay rise will be backdated to April 2021.
Nurses at the top of band 5 currently earn a salary of £30,600.
The DDRB were not asked to make pay recommendations for those Specialty and Associate Specialist (SAS) doctors who have transferred over to the new SAS contract, or doctors and dentists in training, as these groups are in respective multi-year pay and contract reform deals.
The SAS deal offers doctors faster progression to the top of the pay scales with meaningful increases at each progression point. The introduction of a new senior SAS grade improves opportunities for career progression. The agreement also introduces safeguards and additional annual leave to support health and wellbeing.
GPs are subject to a five-year investment agreement (to 2023/24) between NHSEI and the British Medical Association (BMA) and therefore no pay recommendation has been sought for GP contractors.
Dentists will receive a 3% uplift. This is in addition to reduced requirements on the activity they deliver for full payment of their contract, minus agreed deductions, that have been in place throughout and a renewed commitment to reforming the NHS dental contract.
Uplifts to dentists will be passed on via an uplift to their contract value.
Health spending and public sector pay is a devolved responsibility and it is up to each respective country to determine how they respond to the Pay Review Bodies and what pay uplift to provide for staff.
#AceNewsReport – July.21: The BBC’s Jon Donnison spoke to some of the migrants trying to make the dangerous journey: The UK will pay more than £54m as part of the deal, which will also improve intelligence sharing…..
He told the Today programme: “The fact is, we’ve seen it before. Having more money, having more police officers, having more controls, will not prevent people to succeed in these crossing attempts: ‘We have too many kilometres of shore to monitor.”….The funding will also be used for better technology to target those who organise the crossings, the Home Office said.
The Home Office said on Tuesday 287 people had landed in the UK.
‘Step too far’
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel and French interior minister Gerald Darmanin have agreed to “strengthen co-operation” over the crossings.
The Home Office said UK support last year helped France double the number of officers deployed daily on the beaches of its northern coast.
It said this resulted in France preventing twice as many crossings so far this year compared with the same period in 2020.
However, it said the people who facilitated the crossings had now changed their tactics and had moved further up the French coast, “forcing migrants to take even longer, riskier journeys”.
Mr Dumont added that the French are not supposed to intervene at sea – yet former Border Force chief Tony Smith has called for joint patrols.
Mr Smith said: “That seems to be a step too far for the French at the moment. The French position is they are not prepared to intervene on the high seas, only on land.”
PA MediaA group of people thought to be migrants are escorted by Border Patrol in Dungeness on Tuesday
The new support announced by the UK would enable France “to respond by posting more security forces further up the coast, installing and utilising the latest surveillance equipment throughout northern France”, the Home Office said.
Home Office minister Victoria Atkins insisted that a £28m deal between the UK and France last November, to double police patrols on French beaches, had made a difference, saying it had prevented some 7,500 people crossing the Channel.
Ms Atkins told Today it was an “incredibly complicated” situation and that the UK was trying to work with other countries to make sure “when people arrive in a safe country, they remain there and do not try to make that hazardous journey”. She said the government wanted “safe routes for legal migrants” and to crack down on the gangs bringing people over……..’No quick and easy fix’
Analysis by Simon Jones, BBC reporter, in DoverFrom the famous White Cliffs of Dover, we watched this morning as another group of migrants was brought to shore by the Border Force, having been picked up in the Channel. Conditions at sea are once again incredibly calm and the sun is shining, so these are unlikely to be the only arrivals today. Almost 1,000 people have reached the UK by boat in the past three days, putting pressure on the home secretary to act. Priti Patel is now pledging more money to the French authorities to try to prevent the crossings. But the deal struck last night is very similar to one agreed between Britain and France last November – which has failed to stem the numbers arriving, though the Home Office points out the number of crossings being prevented by the French authorities has doubled.The government here accepts there is no quick and easy fix to problems with the asylum system, but there’s no doubt the home secretary will want to see swift results in return for the increased investment in northern France.Ms Patel has previously pledged to make Channel crossings “unviable”, with new legislation that will make it a crime to knowingly arrive in the UK without permission.The Nationality and Borders Bill, which is currently being considered by MPs, will mean migrants entering without permission could face up to four years in prison.The government hopes the overhaul of asylum rules will deter migrants from making the crossing.But the plans have been criticised by charities including Refugee Action, which has called them “extreme and nasty”. PA MediaA dinghy’s arrival being watched over by the crew of an RNLI lifeboatDan O’Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander for the Home Office, said: “There is an unacceptable rise in dangerous small boat crossings across the Channel because of a surge in illegal migration across Europe.”People should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and not risk their lives making these dangerous crossings. We are continuing to pursue the criminals behind these illegal crossings.”He added that the Nationality and Borders Bill would “protect lives and break this cycle of illegal crossings” and the government was continuing to return those with no legal right to remain in the UK. But Amnesty International’s Steve Valdez-Symonds told the BBC the new legislation was an “extremely reckless and dangerous response” to the issue and would not tackle the problem of people smugglers. Instead, he said it was likely to drive desperate people to avoid the authorities, leaving them vulnerable to further exploitation and slavery. Labour shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said the Home Office announcement was “yet more empty words from the Conservatives about agreeing a deal with France to address trafficking gangs”.He said ministers promised a plan with France in August 2020, “yet almost a year later they are still making empty promises, letting down victims, and allowing criminals to continue their evil trade”.