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Issue:- 22 December  2011


MERSEYSIDE Police on Friday, 16 December 2011 teamed up with other forces and partners to combat metal theft. The operation was set up in response to concerns raised about the increasing value of scrap metal and the potential for criminals to steal it.

Merseyside Police teamed up with officers from Greater Manchester Police, British Transport Police, Port of Liverpool Police and key partners during the day of action.

The operation concentrated on the key routes into Merseyside leading to Liverpool Ports. Previous operations have concentrated on addressing issues within scrap yards and ensuring operatives are complying with legislation; the purpose of this operation is to intercept vehicles heading to scrap yards and the ports of Liverpool and ensure that legislation is being complied with and that operatives are working within the guidelines.

The operation involved activity around the 3 key scrap metal dealers located near to the port.

Metal theft offences are on the increase not only in region; but nationally. High demands for metals from developing countries have seen the value of scrap metal increasing.

Almost 6 crimes per day (5.8) are theft of metal related. This equates to 2.1% of all recorded crime.

Results include:-

►  12 tonnes of BT copper cabling has been recovered

►  52 vehicles were stop checked

►  7 Fixed Penalty Notices issued / 24 Prohibition notices / 5 Defect notices - taxi licensing

►  4 arrests

Chief Inspector Zoe Thornton, said:- "While some criminals may see metal theft as a profitable business we are determined to show that if people are involved in this type of crime we will take action and they will be caught. Due to the escalating value of metals such as lead and copper, they have become attractive to thieves who are then exchanging them for cash. Metal theft is not a victimless crime and has a negative impact upon the communities in which we live. The spotlight was on the local transport network near to the port today and officers have completed a number of roadside checks at a number of sites and visited a number of scrap yards. The operation concentrated on key routes into Liverpool near to the dock area. Metal theft causes service interruption for the provision of utilities and services such as electricity, water, gas, telecommunications and rail transport. This type of crime is something that has caused misery to many and we’re determined to work with our partner agencies to clamp down on it. Those who steal cable from the railways and other areas are putting themselves in real danger. Railway lines are operational 24 hours a day and trespassing can prove fatal. Strong currents also pass through many cables and can seriously injure anyone who touches them. Those who steal cable are not only risking a prison sentence, they are risking their lives. Residents, businesses and criminals should be aware that this is another example of our focus on this type of crime and we will be carrying out further work around the area. The community are our eyes and ears and by sharing information and intelligence we can target those involved in this crime and bring them to justice."

Andrew Lloyd, ScottishPower Energy Networks Regional Operations Manager, said:- "A co-ordinated approach is vital to tackle the issues associated with metal theft. We work very closely with Merseyside Police and with companies from other industries such as telecoms and transport. Those involved with metal theft cause a huge amount of inconvenience, but also often threaten the safety of the wider public and staff who deal with such events. Working together with others we want to target those involved in stealing metal, and also those involved with buying and selling stolen metal."

If you have any information about the theft of metal contact Police on 101or alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on:- 0800 555 111.

3 arrested in North West’s largest cigarettes seizure

OVER 16.5 million illegal cigarettes, the largest single detection in the North West region this year, were seized by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) officers in the Rochdale area on Monday, 19 December 2011.  The cigarettes, worth an estimated £3.8 million in evaded duty and VAT, were uncovered at an industrial unit in the Castleton area. The cigarettes were imported as ‘fruit’ with a large quantity of oranges and kiwifruits used as a ‘cover load’ in an attempt to conceal the smuggled tobacco. 2 men (aged 49 and 35) from Greater Manchester and one man (43) from South Wales were arrested on suspicion of excise fraud and bailed until March 2012. Three vehicles were also seized plus cash estimated to be £75,000.  HMRC Assistant Director, Criminal Investigations, Mike O’Grady said:- "Tobacco smuggling on this scale isn’t about cheap cigarettes; it is organised fraud on a global scale, encouraging and supporting criminality within our communities, and robbing taxpayers of millions each year in unpaid duty and VAT. HMRC teams operate across the North West to disrupt this illicit trade, which has a devastating impact on legitimate retailers having to compete against crime on this scale, particularly at Christmas, one of the busiest times of year. Anyone with information about the storage or sale of illegal tobacco in their area should contact the Customs’ hotline on:- 0800 59 5000."  Enquiries into this huge cigarette seizure and the criminals involved continue. The seized cigarettes will be recycled as fuel pellets and used to fuel the national electricity grid.



Busy fortnight ahead as Christmas getaway begins at JLA

LIVERPOOL John Lennon Airport (JLA) is once again gearing up for the great Christmas and New Year ‘Getaway’ with around 190,000 passengers expected to pass through the Airport over the holiday period.

The end of school term on Friday triggered the first increase in passengers through the Airport as families across the region headed off on flights from Liverpool to seek some much needed Winter sun, to go skiing, visit relatives, or looking for Christmas and New Year festivities across Europe.

As usual, popular flights for passengers over the coming days are expected to be winter ski destinations such as Salzburg, Innsbruck, Lyon and Grenoble, The Canary Islands and southern Spain for some warmer winter weather and Christmas city break destinations.

Christmas is also a time to meet up with family and friends with many passengers taking advantage of flights to Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland. Visitor numbers arriving to the region via the Airport are also expected to continue to grow over the festive period too.

Helping to put passengers in the holiday mood, World Duty Free have the Liverpool Town Crier in their store in the departure lounge today and on Friday 23rd December. They also have a gift wrapping service available at certain times too, for any passengers wanting to purchase last minute presents, ready to give to friends and family.

JLA Management are once again keen to remind all passengers to allow plenty of time to pass through the Airport during this busy period and that stringent security restrictions still apply, with passengers being urged to arrive at the Airport at least 2 hours ahead of their departure times as usual.

Restrictions on liquids carried in hand luggage are still in place and can cause disruption for passengers, who are asked to think carefully about what items they are intending to pack in hand luggage, before they set off for the Airport - especially those who are travelling with presents for friends and relatives.

With many airlines encouraging on-line check-in and hand luggage only, passengers are reminded that all items in hand luggage including wrapped Christmas presents are subject to search as part of the current aviation security measures that are in place at all UK Airports. To avoid disappointment at the security search point and to help keep security queues to a minimum, passengers are being asked to travel with their presents unwrapped if they are to be carried in hand luggage. Airlines operating from Liverpool do not permit Christmas crackers in hand luggage either.

Paul Staples, Airport Director commented:- "We expect another busy Christmas and New Year period here at JLA with passengers taking advantage of the wide choice of destinations available. Whilst many of our staff will be working over the festive period we always look forward to helping get the Christmas and New Year holidays off to a great start for everyone. Once again we’d like to remind all passengers to help us to help them and avoid some of the disappointment we have seen in previous years by allowing extra time, coming prepared and thinking about what they are carrying in their hand luggage."

Eat, Drink and be Merry this Christmas; but Remember to Recycle!

AS Christmas is traditionally the season for giving, Sefton’s residents are being urged to give a little back to the planet by remembering to recycle throughout the festive season. The food waste collection service using the kitchen food waste caddy and the kerbside food waste bin, can be used to dispose of leftovers from the Christmas dinner, such as sprouts and turkey bones. Food waste collected in Sefton is transported to a special processing plant in West Yorkshire that composts the food waste for use in horticulture. The green box can be used to recycle empty mince meat and pickled onion jars, beer and wine bottles and the foil cases from shop-bought mince pies. Glass bottles and jars are recycled into new glass products, whilst aluminium and steel cans are recycled into new metal products. The blue bag can be used to recycle Christmas Gift catalogues, TV guides and other paper-based items. Paper waste collected in Sefton is recycled into new paper. The weekly textiles recycling collection service, using a pink bag, can be used for clothing, paired shoes, accessories, household linen and curtains.

Cllr. Simon Shaw, Cabinet Member Environmental, Sefton Council, said:- "Having a weekly kerbside recycling service provided by Palm Recycling gives Sefton’s residents a convenient way to recycle and helps save the planet."

Ruairi Holyoake, Scheme Supervisor for Palm Recycling, added:- "The weekly kerbside recycling service will continue throughout the festive season. Using this service makes it easy to recycle more things, more often."

Cllr. Simon Shaw continued:- "Real Christmas trees can be recycled after the holidays too."

After Christmas, Sefton Council’s Direct Services will collect real Christmas trees for composting. This service is available on request, for a limited period, for residents in the borough. To arrange a collection, please call:- 0845 140 0845. The service is strictly limited and will be operated on a first come, first served basis.    From January 3, 2012, residents can also take their trees to Lifeboat Road Car Park, Formby where the Christmas trees are used to trap sand and slow down the rate of erosion on the coastline.   Residents are reminded to remove all decorations and any metal base brackets before recycling their real Christmas tree.  Residents who are not currently opted into the food waste collection scheme can request a food waste bin for outside, an internal kitchen food waste caddy and an information pack, free of charge, by contacting Sefton Council on:- 0845 140 0845. Free extra or replacement blue bags for paper recycling, pink bags for textiles and green boxes for glass bottles & jars and tins/cans and aerosol cans may also be requested by calling this number.

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