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Issue:- 1 November  2012


AS the clocks have gone back and the nights draw in, Merseyside Police are taking the opportunity to give advice to members of the public to help stop them falling victim to crime and to keep them safe on the roads.   Most domestic burglaries have no forced entry, and the burglar simply walks in through an unlocked door or climbs through an open window. It only takes a few minutes for burglars to sneak into your home and steal your belongings and they will look to identify an easy target.

Superintendent Kevin Johnson, said:- "The shorter days mean people's houses are left in darkness for longer and can give criminals the opportunity to break in, knowing someone isn't in. However you can make life as difficult as possible for them by making your home anything, but an easy target. Improving security features like locks and alarms, and making sure your house always looks occupied can make a big difference. All people need to do is pick up the phone and call us and we will offer them all the help we can. Police community support officers from across the Force will be continuing to run Operation Handle, an initiative aimed at reducing the number of people who fail to lock their UPVC doors properly. People not locking their UPVC doors remains a big problem as it is giving criminals far too easy a ride. Opportunists can try dozens of handles in a street and, at the minute, it won't be long before they find one that opens. Often people are either forgetting to both push the handle up as well as turn the key, or they are leaving it unlocked while round at a neighbour's or elsewhere in the house. Operation Handle aims to highlight just how vulnerable that can leave your property. Officers will be continuing to go from house to house trying people's handles and speaking to those who leave their doors open about the risks. Hopefully they will appreciate that it could have been a burglar in their home instead of the police."

So to help keep homes safe this winter take heed of the following advice:-

► Don't advertise new items you may have bought such as electrical equipment to people by leaving the empty boxes outside your home. Try to dispose of the packaging carefully by taking it to a recycling centre or keep it out of sight until the day your rubbish is collected

► All your valuable property should be marked with a UV pen and you should keep a record of the serial numbers. This can help make it easier for you to be reunited with your property if you are the victim of a burglary and the items are recovered

► During the dark nights, use a light timing device to switch the lights on (ensuring your blinds/curtains are drawn)

► Don't leave your car keys on display (on window ledges/worktops) and don't leave them by your door/windows etc

► Always lock your windows and doors. If you haven't got windows locks, you are advised to get window locks fitted. If you have window locks - use them

► Don't leave your keys in the back of the door lock

► Always check your front and back door are secure even if you are in, burglaries can often occur via insecure back doors whilst residents are at home watching television

► Secure your shed and garage properly. Don't leave tools lying around

Security mark all your home and garden equipment with full postcode using a UV marker pen or permanent marker. This can help make it easier for victims to be reunited with your property if you are the victim of a burglary and the items are recovered

Officers are also issuing motorists with essential advice to prepare for the onset of the winter weather. Follow this simple checklist and keep safe on the roads this winter...

Vehicle Safety Advice Tips:-

► In winter it is even more important to check your vehicle is well maintained and serviced

► Keep the lights, windows and mirrors clean and free from ice and snow

► Add anti-freeze to the radiator and winter additive to the windscreen washer bottles

► Make sure wipers and lights are in good working order

► Check that tyres have plenty of tread depth

► Remember – on cold mornings NEVER leave your car unattended with the engine running while it warms up

► When driving lock your doors

When roads are icy or slushy:-

► It can take ten times longer to stop in icy conditions than on a dry road

► To brake on ice or snow without locking your wheels, get into a low gear earlier than normal, allow your speed to fall and use the brake pedal gently

Watch out for fog:-

► In foggy conditions, drive very slowly using dipped headlights

Winter sun:-

► Dazzle from winter sun can be dangerous. Keep a pair of sunglasses handy

Plan your journey - During wintry weather conditions:-

► Ask yourself - is your journey absolutely essential?

► Make sure you are equipped with warm clothes, food, boots and a torch. In snowy conditions, take a spade.

► Always carry a screen scraper and de-icer.

If you get into trouble:-

► Do not use a mobile phone while driving. Stop somewhere safe or ask a passenger to make the call.

► On a motorway, it is best to use a roadside emergency telephone, because the breakdown/emergency services will be able to locate you easily. If you have to use a mobile phone, make sure you know your location from the numbers on the marker posts on the side of the hard shoulder.

► Stay with your vehicle until help arrives.

► If you have to leave your vehicle to get help, make sure other drivers can see you.

Manhunt for dangerous and predatory offender continues

 This picture of Leach, taken whilst in prison, believed to be in 2009.

POLICE are continuing to hunt for a man described as a dangerous and predatory who is believed to have committed a serious sex offence while on the run. Ivan Leach, also known as Lee Cyrus, 47, went missing from North Sea Camp open prison, Boston, Lincolnshire on Tuesday, 9 October 2012, after going on day release. Officers have warned Leach should not under any circumstances be approached as he poses a significant risk. He is believed to have carried out a very serious sexual attack in Tayside, Scotland, since he absconded on October 9th, although further details cannot be released for legal reasons. The last confirmed sighting of Leach is on the evening of Friday, 19 October 2012, in Lea, Preston but despite a nationwide appeal he remains at large. Police are urging the public to be vigilant and to come forward with information about his possible whereabouts. Leach was born in Preston and has connections across the City as well as in South Ribble. He is known to be in the City on a number of occasions since he absconded, but he could be anywhere in the country. Enquiries are also ongoing in Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Tayside. Lancashire Police are investigating reports that two schoolgirls were approached as they sat at a bus stop around 6.30pm on Lancaster Road in Preston City centre on Wednesday 17th October. The girls were approached by a man matching Leach's description who made sexual remarks towards them and encouraged them to participate in sexual activities with him. Fortunately the girls boarded their bus and reported the incident to the Police. Leach was jailed in 2005 for robbing a 90 year old woman in her home in Ribbleton, Preston. He was given a life sentence with a minimum tariff of five years. He also has convictions for burglary and robbery and assault.

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Dawson, of Preston Police said:- "Whilst Leach remains at large he continues to pose a serious threat to members of the public. He has previous convictions for burglary, sex offences against a young girl, assault and robberies in which he has targeted elderly people in their own homes. We believe he could be sleeping rough and travelling extensively throughout the country, most likely on public transport. His appearance is likely to have changed over the past few weeks as a reflection of his current lifestyle and we believe he may have stubble or may now have grown a beard and look unkempt. Leach is described as white; around 5 feet 11 inches tall, of stocky build with cropped hair and hazel eyes. His has a distinctive scar on his top lip under his nose and 2 distinctive tattoos, one with the name 'Annette' on the bicep of his left arm and a figure of a barbarian woman on the back of his right shoulder blade. He was last seen wearing a black waterproof jacket, dark trousers and carrying a full rucksack. He has a number of friends, family and associates in Preston and prior to his sentence lived and offended in the Preston area so it is likely that he will gravitate back to the City. We are liaising with a number of other forces and have a huge number of resources dedicated to tracking him down and apprehend him, but we need the public's help. I'd reassure people that we follow up every potential sighting of him so I'd urge people to call police on 101 if you think you see him or know of his current whereabouts. So far we have been very encouraged by the information provided by members of the public and have received sightings of him from around the country and a result are following up a number of new lines of enquiry. I would remind people that he is violent and should not be approached. We have extra patrols in the City and continue to have officers out looking for him round the clock and we are doing everything we can to find him. Information can be passed to local police either in person or on 101 or information can be passed anonymously via Crimestoppers:- 0800 555 111."

latest information timeline:-

►  9 October 2012; Leach escapes from North Sea Camp open prison in Boston and has travelled back to Preston where he is believed to have stayed for a number of days.

►  13 October 2012 to 16 October 2012; Leach is believed to have travelled up to the Tayside area in Scotland.

►  17 October 2012; Leach is believed to have been captured on CCTV in Preston City centre after approaching two schoolgirls and enticing them into sexual activity.

►  19 October 2012; Last confirmed sighting. Leach was seen in Lea in Preston.

20 October 2012; Report that he could have been in Nottingham City Centre.

John Hayes' condemnation of wind farms flies in the face of public opinion

THE latest Conservative minister's outburst on wind farms does more than just confirm the ever-widening cracks in the Coalition; it defies public opinion.  As recently as 23 October 2012 and with just days to ago from a poll run, by the ICM showed, that Nuclear Power, Coal and Gas burning were less popular with the population of the UK than wind farms.  67% of people said they would rather have wind turbines than a gas fired power station near their home. Only 11% preferred the gas burning station. Nuclear power and coal-fired stations were even less popular.  49% of people said they would support wind turbines being erected within 2 miles of their home, with 22% against. However, when asked if they would support wind turbines erected in line with Green Party policy, meaning the turbines and the power they produced would be owned by the local community, rather than a large power corporation, the number in favour leapt to 68% in favour, with just 7% against.The country has long had to accept that parts of the Tory Party refuse to accept the scientific evidence of man-made climate change. But serious questions must be raised when Ministers battle to force through policy even against public opinion.  So what do you are readers think about this? Do you agree with the Green Party or not? Let us know by emailing us to:-

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