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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 100

Date:- 24 May 2003

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ABANDONED cars on the streets of Liverpool are becoming an ever-increasing problem according to Merseyside police, but a new scheme introduced late last year appears to be having an impact.

As many as five cars per day found by police on our streets, encouraging neighbourhood crime across the region – including the fire hazards caused, as many are targets of arson. 

The Banger Busting scheme launched late last year has seen more than 750 cars taken from roads throughout the district and the reduction of car burnouts by two thirds. Stolen or ringed cars identified by forty owners and insurance companies have seen the positive outcome of being reclaimed. Even a 12-foot boat and several caravans have been subject to reclamation and scrapped after de-pollution.

City council executive member for community safety and the environment Flo Clucas explained:- “Before we launched this scheme it could take weeks for an abandoned car to be taken off the road. In the meantime, its use for joyriding - the windows were smashed, and it was burnt out, generally caused mayhem in the area.

Now we take it away, usually within 24 hours, and work with the police to check whether a car is stolen, or has been used in a crime. The scheme’s proving overwhelmingly popular – our contractors have been cheered, applauded and offered cups of tea, coffee and biscuits galore!

It’s simple really – we’re not going to put up with this problem any longer. Cars like this bring whole neighbourhoods down, encourage graffiti and vandalism and make people fear crime. It’s going to stop now, for good.”

Merseyside Police Chief Superintendent Dave Lewis said:- “This scheme has made a real difference. It cuts out the number of cars available on the streets for joyriding and other criminal activity; we’ve been able to track down stolen and ringed cars; it’s cut general anti-social behaviour and so helped people feel safer in their own neighbourhoods, and it’s freeing up our officers to work on other things.”

Under the previous system people would report cars to the police, or city council, or fire service. Now there is one point of contact – Liverpool Direct, the city council’s call centre. Call centre staff fill out a report form on the caller’s behalf and check whether the vehicle report states whether the police have an interest in the car. 

The new system also means owners, who burn out their cars rather than disposing of them properly, face the possibility of fines, as new powers to trace them are likely to come into force. – The fire service now report the vehicle identification numbers through the system. During its time, the scheme has seen two arrests.
Report with thanks to Liverpool City Council.

Carry on Camping

FARMERS in Forest of Bowland are encouraging walkers and cyclists to leave the tent at home and sample the pleasures of the camping barn.

More than ten years after camping barns began offering travellers simple, but welcome shelter on working farms many people still don’t even know they exist. But barn owners plan to change all that with a National Open Day next Wednesday, the 28th May between 2 – 4.30pm with Chipping and Hurst Green Barns taking part.

Visitors are invited to have a look around the barns, chat with the owners and find out more about the growing national network of farm buildings which are being converted into camping barns, or “stone tents”, to provide roomy, dry and affordable self-catering accommodations for up to 30 visitors.

Mary Kay of Hurst Green Barn said:- “I hope that these Open afternoons will encourage people to give Camping Barns a try. We get all sorts of visiters here, from walkers and cyclists to Duke of Edinburgh Award groups, Scouts, and families and the barns are ideal for people who love camping but not the hassle that goes with it!”

So, if you are contemplating your next foray into the great outdoors, drop in for a chat and maybe discover a new way to enjoy a holiday!

For more information about camping barns, contact Mary Kay on 01254 826304 for further details about the Chipping, Downham and Hurst Green Barns. 

New figures expose growing arson and abandoned car problem across Southport

MARK Bigley, Parliamentary Spokesperson for Southport Conservative Association today pointed to new figures published by the Government which show the problems of arson and abandoned cars are getting worse. Official fire statistics show that since 1997, the number of cases of arson have soared by 59% per cent across Merseyside and the number of ‘malicious vehicle fires’ – a key indicator of burnt out, abandoned cars - have soared by 126% per cent. The Government has a target to reduce arson by 30 per cent – which it is failing to meet.

Mark said:- “This is yet another area where Labour have failed to deliver on their promises. It is not just violent crime that is a cause for concern, but now our streets are getting dirtier and more dangerous. New figures suggest that there has been an increase in the number of burnt out cars littering Southport’s streets. Abandoned cars are hazardous for children and encourage more vandalism and crime in our neighborhoods. Like violent crime, arson is also out of control. Arson has soared by 126% since 1997, in the face of Labour’s pledge to cut it by a third. Such crimes can destroy local communities, especially since schools are often a prime target. Yet the problem of abandoned cars will get even worse. European Union directives signed by Labour are forcing the cost of car disposal to soar – a bill which is going to be met by car owners and council tax payers. Badly drafted regulations supposed to help the environment will end up accelerating urban decay. Conservatives believe the whole problem of crime across Southport must be addressed – from getting more police officers on the streets to tackling smaller scale, quality of life nuisances.”

Council Watcher Reports

IN the press last week the councillors from the established parties, were gloating at the poor showing of the Southport Party, (SP).

Why, may we ask are they so pleased? Well last year they had a wake up call from the people of Southport, who, fed up with the incompetent self centred councillors, voted in a big way for the Southport Party.

This could mean a threat to their cosy 3 party existence of wage rises, expenses rises, lap top computers, gravy train existence, funded by closing old peoples homes, neglecting the town and threatening the lives of older people.

It might mean they have to account for what they do and spend.

So, since the election of the S.P. councillors, they have all highlighted every little error that has been made, tripped them up at every turn, dropped several banana skins in their path. No wonder the S.P. have struggled.

The failure of the S.P. to gain more seats on May 1st was a blow to democracy.

Election May 1st 2003, was a wake up call to the people of Southport, vote for the Southport Party or go back to the incompetence and neglect of the past.




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