Other Stories In Brief

Here is a round up of some other stories from across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

December 7th, 2010

Mayor Dave Hodgson has praised the work of Bedford Borough CCTV officers in their vigilance which identified two individuals causing damage to a Christmas tree in Silver Street. On the evening of Sunday 5th December, officers in the CCTV control room identified a male and a female causing damage to the Christmas tree lights which decorate the tree situated on Silver Street. Upon spotting this act of vandalism, officers swiftly informed the Police, who were then able to arrest the individuals in Lurke Street.

Mayor Dave Hodgson said: “We want everybody to enjoy Christmas in Bedford town centre and mindless vandalism like this will not be tolerated. The Council CCTV unit will work with the Police to ensure the protection of property in our Borough and the safety of residents.”

Cllr Will Hunt, portfolio holder for Community Safety, at Bedford Borough Council, said: “As Christmas approaches we will work to ensure that anti-social behaviour is not tolerated and provide the Police with the evidence which they need to bring prosecutions. Bedford Borough Council works hard to keep local residents safe and secure 24 hours a day, 365 days a year through the use of its exceptional CCTV unit.”

Since November 2007, the CCTV team have submitted well over 1,000 evidence packages to assist in prosecutions for various criminal cases as well as playing a vital role in several high profile murders.   The Council is also now using a series of wireless, mobile CCTV cameras, which can be moved at short notice to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour hotspots in a targeted, effective manner.

Furthermore, earlier this year the CCTV Control Room team in Bedford were named the best in the country by the National CCTV User Group due to the outstanding results they consistently deliver.

December 3rd, 2010

An employer based in Bedford has recently learnt that benefit fraud doesn’t pay. 35 year old Sarah Weaver of Luton Road and Director of KWS Education Services provided an employee with false wage slips in order that the employee could claim Housing and Council Tax Benefit. Her actions aided the employee, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to fraudulently claim £3771.45 in benefits in less than eight months!

Sarah Weaver pleaded guilty to ‘Fraud by False Representation’ at Bedford Magistrates Court on Tuesday 30th October and was sentenced to a 12 months conditional discharge and ordered to pay £100 in costs.

Cllr Colleen Atkins, Portfolio Holder for Housing, Planning and Licensing commented: “Unfortunately, there are some employers and employees who operate within a culture where they see cheating the system as being acceptable.  This is definitely not the case and we want that culture to change and that's a bigger battle than catching the cheats. 
"Bedford Borough Council's benefit fraud investigation team are particularly active and are increasingly successful in bringing prosecutions. They will seek to take the strongest possible action against employers found to be colluding with their employees to fraudulently claim benefits. Not only do we prosecute offenders but we also make sure that fraudulent claims are repaid."

November 24th, 2010

Police in Rushden are appealing for the public's help in finding a man who has gone missing from the town.

Ronald Albon, aged 57, was last seen in Bedford High Street at 11.40am on Friday 19 November.

He is a vulnerable adult and officers are appealing for anyone who may have any information about his whereabouts to contact them.

Mr Albon is white, around 5ft10~ tall, has a grey beard and bald head and is believed to have been wearing a green fleece jacket, black jogging bottoms and uses a walking stick.

Police believe he is in the Bedford area and would like to speak to anyone who may know of his whereabouts.

November 10th, 2010

A man who drove off without paying for petrol at least seven times has been arrested by Bedfordshire Police.

The offences took place between 4 November 2009 and 27 September 2010 at the Sainsburys petrol station at Kempston. Each time the offender filled his tank with unleaded petrol then told staff that he did not have his wallet or any money to pay. He gave his name and address and completed an “unpaid transaction” form which allows seven days for him to return and pay – but he never returned to pay.

At around 9am on Monday 8 November a police patrol spotted the offender’s car and knowing he was wanted for numerous offenders stopped and arrested him. He has been bailed to re attend Greyfriars police station on 7 December 2010.

If anyone has any further information you can contact Bedfordshire Police on 01234 841212 or text to 07786 200011 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

November 10th, 2010

Householders in the Castle and De Parys areas of Bedford are finding their tools being used against them. Burglars are taking advantage of unlocked or poorly protected garden sheds to use garden tools to break into people’s homes in the areas. The autumn often sees an upsurge in burglaries as the nights draw in. Households should take heed of the simple ways to avoid a visit from a thief:

Pete Spicer, Crime Prevention Officer, said: “The Police often stop and search known burglars to see if they are “going equipped” to do a burglary. So rather than take anything with them they will use whatever they can find to force entry to a house – having an unsecured shed could mean the difference between being broken into or not.”

“To prevent your tools being used by burglars you should get sheducated!“

• Store your hand tools in a lockable cabinet in your shed.
• Secure power tools by chaining them to the floor or together.
• Property mark power tools.
• Check your padlocks and hasps – replace any damaged hardware.
• Fit locks or bars across any large windows.
• If you have chest freezer in the garage or shed fit a lock.

Keep burglars out of your garden altogether by following these simple rules:

• Check your fencing and gates and repair any damage.
• Check your outdoor lighting – do the sensors and bulbs still work?
• Battery-operated drive alarms will alert you to someone coming onto your property.
• Look at where you store your wheelie bins – could someone use them as a climbing aid?
• To improve surveillance at the front of your house, keep hedges no higher than 1 metre and tree canopies no lower than 2 metres.

For more information visit www.bedfordshire.police.uk

If anyone has any further information you can contact Bedfordshire Police on 01234 841212 or text to 07786 200011 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

October 27th, 2010

A man was robbed of his wallet in Bedford after striking up a conversation with a woman outside shops.

He walked with her from the shops in Brickhill Drive to Falcon Avenue where she had said a friend needed help to get his car started.

But when he arrived  he was threatened and had cash taken from his wallet.

Detective Constable Mark Stewart investigating said: "This robbery took place in the early hours of Friday evening and people in and around the shops in Brickhill Drive will have noticed the man talking to the woman outside the shops. The pair walked along Kestrel Drive to get to Falcon Avenue where the male offender was standing by an old dark Ford car, possibly a Sierra. After he was threatened and robbed the offenders walked off so the car may not have been theirs.

"It is possibly you saw what happened and it would be easy for you to call me on 01234 275011 or call anonymously using the Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111 or you can text to 07786 200011."

October 27th, 2010

Bedfordshire Police are looking for witnesses after a 16 year old boy was robbed in Tavistock Street, Bedford at 4.45pm on the afternoon of Monday, 11 October.

The young boy was walking down Tavistock Street when he saw three Asian youths by the telephone box outside the KFC. He walked on down the road until he was nearly opposite the Curry Leaf Restaurant. As he crossed Peel Street he was approached by one of the Asian youths who push him and said “I need to talk to you”. The victim said he was in a hurry and the offender then said “I really need to talk to you, you don’t want to make me aggressive” and tried to push the victim down Peel Street. He also put his hand in his pocket and told the victim he had a knife.

The offender then called over to the other two youths who asked the victim if he had anything for them. The first offender again pushed the victim who said he didn’t. The offenders began unzipping his rucksack, which was on his back, and because he thought the first offender had a knife he handed over his Noika X6 mobile phone. The offenders then walked off in the direction of Peel Street.

The three offenders are described as young Asian men of around 16 years old. The first offender was five foot tall, slim, with black spiky hair, wearing a black hooded Adidas tracksuit jacket. The second was taller, about five foot nine inches tall, with black, short hair. He was fat with a round face and wearing a black hooded top. The third offender was also wearing a dark top.

Detective Constable Ian Johnson, investigating the robbery said: “This robbery took place on a busy street in the late afternoon so I am sure someone would have seen the robbery taking place or the three offenders hanging around the phone box outside the KFC in Tavistock Street. It is possible you saw them walking down Peel Street after the attack. On this occasion the victim was only shaken, but these three young men need to be caught before they attack again and cause serous injury.

“You can easily tell us what you saw if you were in Tavistock Street at 4.45pm on Monday 11 October, by calling me on 01234 275351 or you can call anonymously using the Crimestoppers number 0800 555 111.”

October 26th, 2010

A man has been sent to prison for eight months after pleading guilty to Corrupt Acts by a Public Agent.

Parminder Singh Dhap, aged 29, from Oak Road, Bedford, was sentenced at Huntingdon Crown Court yesterday (26/10) after pleading guilty to four counts of Corrupt Acts by a Public Agent on 22 September this year. He was sentenced to eight months for each offence to be served concurrently.

In February 2008 Milton Keynes Council contacted Thames Valley Police to report that they had become aware that an employee was taking private payments for doing work which was part of his role within the council as a trainee surveyor. A local property builder alerted Milton Keynes Council after Dhap approached him offering to reduce the cost of having a restricted covenant lifted if he agreed to pay half of the cost to Dhap directly.

Dhap was immediately suspended while the council conducted an internal investigation, which ultimately resulted in his dismissal. The council then handed over all of the evidence it had gathered to Thames Valley Police.

Dhap began working for Milton Keynes Council in 2001 and in January 2007 he moved into a trainee surveyor position. Part of his role was to assess and cost work requested by tenants and owners of property which was owned or previously owned by Milton Keynes Council. Primarily, Dhap was dealing with covenants on properties.

Det Con Wendy Fellowes, who led the investigation, said: “Today’s conviction is a result of a two year investigation between Thames Valley Police and Milton Keynes Council into Parminder Dhap and those who made payments corruptly in return for reduced rate work. would like to thank the witnesses who came forward and reported the corrupt behaviour of Dhap and to Milton Keynes Council for their full support throughout the investigation and for working closely with us to bring this man to justice.”

A spokesman for the council’s Corporate Anti-Fraud Team said: “This case demonstrates that we take whistle blowing referrals very seriously, and we will robustly pursue any such wrongdoing – whoever is responsible – in order to protect the local taxpayer’s interests. This case also demonstrated that we have good working relationships with our external partners, in this case Thames Valley Police.”

Two people have also received cautions for Corrupting a Public Agent, Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, by making payments to Dhap.


October 21st, 2010

A gang of seven youths tried to rob a bus driver in Bedford.

The driver had pulled up behind another bus at a stop on Carron Road near to the junction with Tyne Crescent at half past six on Monday evening.

As several of the passengers got off the bus, the engines unexpectedly cut out and the driver was unable to start them back up again.

It is believed that the external emergency stop button had been pressed.

The driver got off the bus, taking the cash box with him, toreset the button where he was joined by the driver of the other bus.

Around 7 youths then surrounded the drivers and attempted to take the cash box and a mobile phone. They were unsuccessful and fled the scene.

Detective Sergeant Jim Mallen, investigating officer said: "This was a shocking experience for the driver who was simply going about his daily work. We are appealing for anyone who can identify the youths involved to come forward, maybe you were a passenger on one of the buses or were in the area at the time?"

October 13th, 2010

A 20 year old was attacked with a hammer and bottle as he walked through Bedford on his way home to Elstow.

He was on London Road, crossing the bridge from Mowsbury Road, at 11.30 last Saturday night when he was a large group of males and females by the basketball courts in Romsey Park.

They started shouting at him and goading him, He felt threatened and ran away, but they chased him. He tripped and fell and was attacked at the corner of Titchfield Drive and Whitby Way.

The victim received several injuries to the head and body and paramedics were called to treat him.

The police arrived within five minutes of receiving a call from residents .  A hammer and bottle was recovered from the area.

Detective Constable Andrew Webb, investigating, said: "We know many local people saw this attack and they can help by giving us descriptions of the attackers. They can call me in complete confidence on 01582 304052 or call anonymously using the Crimestoppers number 0800 555 111. We would also like to hear from people in the Mowsbury Road area who may have seen this group of youths fleeing from Elstow or may know more about this attack. This is a very serious assault and although we arrived promptly and dispersed the group we want to find out who was involved so we can take action to prevent further incidents. The young people who took part in this assault should bear in mind it only takes one bad fall to turn a fight into a murder which will ruin their lives as well as their victims'"

October 4th, 2010

A thief from Bedfordshire who stole bikes from railway stations has been sentenced after after being caught on CCTV by British Transport Police.

Steven Walters, 39, of St Neots Road, Sandy, stole nine bicycles between March and July of this year at various stations in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

Walters, who pleaded guilty to the offences, was sentenced to a four month jail term, suspended for 12 months, plus a 12 month referral order.

PC Robbie Singh, investigating officer, said Walters targeted high-quality bikes, some of which cost several hundred pounds.

"Walters was in search of quality items and most of the bikes he took were high-spec models, often those with suspension systems or front disc brakes.

"Unfortunately for him he was pictured on CCTV on several occasions and he was later identified as being the culprit responsible for all of the offences," said PC Singh

Walters, who gave a no comment interview to police, appeared at Bedford Magistrates Court on Friday, 1 October. In addition to the suspended jail term he was also ordered to pay £50 in compensation to each victim.

Three thefts were at Sandy, two at Huntingdon and the others at Hitchin, Biggleswade, Bedford and St Neots.

October 4th, 2010

A young Clapham man who pushed a lit piece of paper through the letterbox of the home of an 89-year-old lady who was asleep inside has been sentenced at Luton Crown Court.

Leigh Eglington, 20, of High Street, Clapham, pleaded guilty to an offence of arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered. On Friday 1 October he was sentenced to 12 months detention in a young offenders' institute, suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work, as well as being under the supervison of the probation service for the next two years.

He was also told he will also be subject to a curfew to remain at his home between 8pm and 7am on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for the next six months and he must pay £535 prosecution costs and £100 compensation to his victim.

Prosecutor Daniel Siong told the court in the early hours of 16 May this year, Freda Waller, who suffers from mobility problems and walks with the aid of a zimmer frame, was asleep in her home in High Street, Clapham.

A neighbour of the woman saw the defendant outside the front door of the pensioner’s home, apparently putting out the lit embers of some paper. Eglington had in fact pushed burning paper through the letterbox, which had caused some damage to a doormat and smoke had billowed throughout the downstairs and upstairs rooms of the property.

Despite Eglington's assurance that he had called the fire brigade, the neighbour alerted the fire service herself and fetched water from her home. On the fire brigade’s arrival the elderly lady was led out of her home in a state of shock.

Paul Tweddle, defending, said there could have been "catastrophic consequences by his client's actions."

He said the old woman owed her life to the heightened senses of dogs next door, which had alerted their owner, who had then come across Eglington.

The court was told that the defendant had been found not to be suffering from any mental illness and a report on him by a doctor had said that he might have wanted to be a hero by rescuing the woman from the property.

The court heard that it was still not known why the defendant had started the fire and why he had made previous hoax calls.

Eglington was said to have been using cannabis at the time and was drinking to excess at weekends. Mr Tweddle said he now wished he could turn back the clock and had given up taking cannabis and no longer drunk as much as he used to.

Recorder Stuart Bridge told Eglington took the view that the offence was not pre-meditated but "impulsive, crass, stupid and highly dangerous."

He said the offence may have been a case of Eglington displaying attention seeking behaviour and might also indicate that he gets some sort of excitement calling out the emergency services and watching them arrive.

September 24th, 2010

A supply teacher who worked at several schools in Bedford has been jailed for illegally being in the country on false documents.

Brian Segole, 39, of Romney Walk, Bedford, had been refused asylum when he came to the UK from Zimbabwe as a student. He pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court on Tuesday 21 September to two charges of possessing false documents with intent, between 1 January 2008 and 13 November 2008 and was jailed for six months.

Prosecutor Claudette Elliott told the court his appeals to stay were also dismissed but he remained in the country. He was later taken on by an agency as a supply teacher using a South African passport with a fake Home Office stamp, purporting to show he had indefinite leave to remain in the country.

When the agency made further checks in 2008 they found his credentials were false and he was dismissed, but police were not informed until this year.

Pamela Brain, defending, said: "He was persecuted in Zimbabwe where he was a fully trained teacher. He has relatives who are British citizens and came here to seek asylum.

"He tried to make a living here working in schools in Bedford and had a good record. He was paying his tax and national insurance. He very much regrets these offences and is ashamed and embarrassed."

Judge Michael Kay QC told him: "The only sentence open to me is imprisonment. What happens to you at the end of the sentence is a matter for the immigration authorities."

September 24th, 2010

A drunken man who attacked an off duty PC without warning and disfigured him for life after he bit part of his ear off has been jailed for five years.

Declan Zimmer, 21, of Rush Court, Bedford, was jailed for five years at Luton Crown Court on Friday 17 September after pleading guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Zimmer walked off and spat out the part of the ear, but surgeons were unable to reattach it. PC Kirk Seymour said in an impact statement: "This life changing injury has left me disfigured for life. I cannot sleep and I no longer go out and socialise much or go to the gym.

"I have gone from a confidant young man to a man with problems with anxiety. I have postponed my wedding until I feel confidant to have photographs taken."

Prosecutor Claudette Elliott told the court PC Seymour and a friend were walking home on 22 May this year after a night out in Bedford. They were near Midland Road eating pizza when they saw a group of six to eight people.

She said: "The defendant suddenly appeared in front of him and knocked the pizza out of his hand and without warning punched him directly in the mouth.

"He fell to the ground and was punched repeatedly. Zimmer was on top of him and he felt severe pain to his left ear and then the defendant walked off. He was bleeding heavily, and surgeons found that 40 per cent of his ear was missing."

Zimmer was arrested on 4 June and almost immediately made a full confession. "He said he had drunk a large amount and had an argument with a girl in the group and was upset and took his anger out on the first person he saw."

Anna Hamilton-Shield, defending, said: "He had been drinking for ten to 14 hours, starting with strong lager and going on to whisky. He cannot believe what he did and literally burst in to tears when discussing it. He is disgusted by it.

"But he is motivated to make changes in his life and has taken enormous steps forward while in custody."

Judge John Bevan QC told Zimmer: "This was an unprovoked attack which has led to permanent disfigurement and lasting psychological harm. It is a very bad offence."

PC Seymour may later have reconstructive surgery using one of his ribs.

September 22nd, 2010

POLICE are appealing for information after damage was caused to allotments in River Road, Eaton Ford.

Since July, there have been nine incidents of criminal damage reported to police where damage has been caused by digging up vegetables.

PC Chris Bockham, from St Neots neighbourhood policing team, said the damage is causing anger and frustration amongst the allotment holders.

He added: "We have increased our patrols in the area, but I appeal to anyone who may have information about the incidents to get in touch."

Anyone with information should contact PC Bockham on 0345 456 456 4, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

September 11th, 2010

A Romanian who was caught red handed stealing £5,000 worth of copper wiring in Biggleswade, was given an unusual sentence on Friday.

Judge John Bevan QC said he wanted to pass a sentence that would "limit his ability to lurk about at the dead of night stealing other people's copper".

That was after hearing that Nicolai Floricel had a conviction in 2007 for stealing a ton of copper lead in Warwickshire and another for stealing aluminium in Welshpool earlier this year. Floricel, 24 who uses four different aliases was assisted by an interpreter during his hearing at Luton Crown Court.

Daniel Siong, prosecuting said on Feb 5 this year at 3.30am police received a report of a suspicious van outside European Metal Recycling at the railway sidings. Police arrived to find five men loading metal into the back of the van. They all ran off but Floricel was caught by a police dog. All the high value copper wiring was recovered.

Judge Bevan told Floricel, from Oldbury, West Midlands; "You profess to be a Christian then think about one of the Commandments - Though shall not steal." He said the theft of metals was becoming an increasing problem.

He gave Floricel a nine month prison sentence suspended for two years, with supervision and 75 hours unpaid work. He was also faced with a bill of £940 for a fine, compensation and costs.

Judge Bevan also ordered that as part of the suspended sentence Floricel is forbidden from being in a vehicle between 6 pm and 5 am for 12 months unless for work purposes and he has written permission from his supervisory officer.

Alex Radley, defending said; "He was the only one caught and has stayed around the face the music. He is working and paying taxes and wishes to make a better life here."

September 9th, 2010

A 21 year old man who was part of a team that robbed a security guard delivering cash in Kempston in March has been jailed for 30 months today/Thursday. Telmo Frota had come from Barking, Essex to carry out the raid, Luton Crown Court was told.

Although he and another man were arrested shortly after, still with the stolen cash box in the car, the contents of about £500 in currency had gone. A third man has not been caught. Frota, from Wedderburn Road, pleaded guilty to a charge of robbery.

Prosecutor, Natalie Carter, said the guard from G4S parked in Halsey Road, Kempston intended to drop cash to three premises. "He was on his way to Thomas Cook, carrying currency when two men walked towards him. One held on to him and the other, the defendant held his wrist and was pulling the cash box. There was a struggle which went on for about 20 seconds until he lost grip of the box and the two men ran away."

She said one witness informed police of the getaway car which was stopped in Bedford shortly after.

Also inside the car was a Bedford car park ticket from the week before, which implied the robbers had come to the town previously to plan the offence.

Clive Smith, defending said Frota played no part in planning the robbery and was only told about it half way to Bedford.

"He feels very sorry for the victim who must have been extremely scared and he realises the repercussions this offence would have on him and his family. When he sits in his cell and thinks about it he becomes quite emotional."

He said he was a keen footballer who had trials with Barking Reserves. His brother plays for a team in Portugal. While on remand he has passed an FA coaching course which was run as a pilot scheme in prison.

Judge Richard Foster told Frota; "Security guards who distribute cash are always vulnerable and deserve the protection of the courts. It was a planned robbery and even if you were not party to the planning you had plenty of time to withdraw, but you took your full part in it."

September 9th, 2010

Bedfordshire Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward after a man was injured during a confrontation as he left the True Briton public house on Monday (Sept 6).

The incident happened at approximately 11.50pm on Hospital Road, Arlesey when the victim became involved in an altercation with another man outside the pub. The man threatened him and then fired an air pistol towards the victim, he then felt a pain to his ear.  The victim, in his thirties attended Lister hospital but did not require further medical attention.

Detective Constable Gill Cowley, investigating, is keen to speak to anyone who saw the two men outside the pub or heard the shots.

She said: “Luckily the victim was not seriously injured but had the pellet hit his eye then this could have had much more serious results.”

Anyone with information relating to this incident can contact DC Cowley at Dunstable Police Station, in confidence, on 01582 473386, or text 07786 200011, or contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

September 9th, 2010

Two young drivers  who 'goaded' each other to race through Bedford town centre were told by a Judge they were lucky not have killed someone.

The race did end with one car crashing and overturning, trapping the driver's girlfriend inside, causing her injuries, Luton Crown Court was told.

Prosecutor Natalie Carter had earlier told a jury: "They were two young men driving nice little sporty cars and they thought they were invincible but they were not. They were behaving like idiots and racing each other which led to a crash."

Before the court were Roberto Volpe, 19 who was driving a yellow Fiat and Gurdeep Virdi, 22 who was driving a black Citroen Saxo. They both lived in Mile Road, Bedford.

Mrs. Carter said at about 10.30pm on Mar 25 last year they drove one behind each other out of Mile Road. It was not suggested that they had planned to meet up but Virdi was in front and Volpe was behind flashing his lights and trying to overtake.

At traffic lights on London Road they pulled alongside each other and there was a conversation. When the lights changed Volpe accelerated away with his wheels spinning and cut in front of Virdi.

This was seen by a police officer in an unmarked car who decided to follow them, but when he caught up with them in Kingsway, the Saxo car had crashed into a wall outside a bed shop and overturned. Virdi had used a bus lane to get past the Fiat, and cut across in front but went up a ramp and into the wall.

Virdi, a warehouseman, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving. He was given a six month prison sentence suspended for 18 months, with 150 hours unpaid work, £1,200 costs and a three month curfew. He was banned for a year and must take an extended test. His car was written off.

Volpe, a hairdresser, pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving but was convicted by a jury last week. He was also given a six month prison sentence suspended for 18 months with 225 hours unpaid work, a four month curfew, an 18 month driving ban and £1,500 costs. The Judge made an order depriving him of having his car returned.

Judge Michael Baker QC told them; "You two goaded each other into racing on far from deserted roads leading you to crash the Saxo and seriously injure your passenger. You are both equally responsible for that. It is a bad case of dangerous driving and it was a matter of chance - a chance of short odds - that you did not cause a death."

He told Volpe; "You started this episode and your failure to acknowledge that your driving was dangerous troubles me. You did not recognise what was staring you in the face."

Derek Johashen, defending Virdi said: "He very much regrets his actions. It was a moment of madness that went very badly wrong for him and his passenger."

Christopher Strachan, for Volpe said: "He is contrite and genuinely remorseful." He said he stopped and helped after the crash.

September 1st, 2010

Two small children suffered broken bones and bruises after boisterous play by their mother's new boyfriend.

Although both were hurt and would have been in pain their mother did nothing to help them, Luton crown court heard yesterday/Weds.

It was only when their paternal grandmother noticed bruising at bath time that an investigation was launched and the children were examined at Bedford hospital.

The little girl, who was aged two and a half, suffered at least one and probably two fractures to a forearm. She had extensive bruising to her back, legs and head.

Her older brother, who was three and a half, had bruising to his elbow, buttocks, back, head, shin, foot and knee.

Prosecutor Beverly Cripps said the mother and her husband had separated in May 2008. 
The children stayed with the mother in Bedford, but would visit their father at his parents' home.

"The maternal grandmother became concerned about the relationship the children were having with the mother's new boyfriend. She raised concerns with social services and was advised to discuss it with the children's mother.

The mother agreed to tell the boyfriend not to 'play rough' with the children," said Ms Cripps.

In November 2008 she noticed bruising on the boy's arm and later that month a bumps and bruises on her granddaughter and on the boy.

They were taken to hospital where they were examined and the full extent of the injuries were discovered.

Miss Cripps said X-rays revealed the girl had suffered a fracture to the forearm in the previous two to six weeks and possibly a second break. "The child would have been in considerable pain," she said.

When questioned about her boyfriend, in December 2008, the 25 year old mother said she had met him three months earlier over the internet. She said she felt the children liked him and could not account for the injuries.

The boyfriend, aged 29, said the injuries could have been caused by their Alsatian puppy and the girl being unsteady on her feet and falling on a coffee table.

Both had pleaded guilty to two counts of cruelty to a  aged under 16 on the first day of their trial last month. Sentence had been adjourned for reports. The woman was of previous good character, the man had previous convictions for driving with excess alcohol, driving while disqualified, obstructing a constable and being drunk and disorderly.

Ardal Singh, defending, said the unemployed boyfriend accepted he was responsible for some of the injuries. "It was boisterous play. He can say on the basis of what he understands that he probably caused the injuries. He has to learn how to deal with children responsibly," he said.  He said he no longer had contact with the children.

Mr Singh said it was clear the mother had failed in her duty to her children by failing to recognise their injuries. He said she had been having supervised contact with them since they were taken away from her in November 2008. "She sees the children at least three times a week and the children have left in a good mood after seeing her," he said.

Judge Michael Baker QC told the boyfriend: "You were blind to what was obvious. The only explanation is that you were totally unconcerned about the children's well-being and concerned about your own."

He told the mother: "How you could fail to notice the injuries caused to your children I fail to understand."

The boyfriend was sentenced to 6 months' jail suspended for 2 years with 18 months' supervision. He must complete 150 hours unpaid work and pay £750 prosecution costs at the rate of £15 a fortnight. He is banned from having contact with the two children.

The mother was given an 18 month community order with 18 months' supervision and ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work. She must also pay £750 prosecution costs at the rate of £15 a fortnight.

The children's paternal grandmother said, in a victim impact statement, that the brother and sister were now getting back to being normal, happy children.

August 27th, 2010

POLICE in St Neots are issuing a warning about underage drinking and anti-social behaviour at public parks and play areas.

Officers will be carrying out patrols at Riverside and Priory parks, St Neots after reports of underage drinking.

The clampdown involves anyone caught drinking underage will have their alcohol confiscated, their parents will be informed and enquiries into where they were sold the alcohol, or who provided them with the drink will be made.

PC Chris Bockham said: "We want to send a clear message that it is not acceptable for underage youths to be drinking and causing disorder in public areas.

"We are also targeting those who are breaking the law by supplying these children with alcohol.

"I would urge parents to ask themselves if they know where their children are and what they're doing.

"We will continue to carry out these patrols to ensure that children are not being exposed to the dangers of excess alcohol."

Anyone who has a problem with alcohol related anti-social behaviour in their area should contact their neighbourhood policing team on 0345 456 456 4.

August 27th, 2010

An 'angry young man' with a disdain for people in authority who was told by a Judge that he was a blight on the country has been jailed for a year.

Peter McIlveen threatened a court security officer with a hammer and hurled racial abuse at a supermarket security guard. He also repeatedly reacted violently when paramedics tried to help and police tried to arrest him.

The 30-year-old, of Burr Street, Luton, was before Luton Crown Court on Thursday 26 August to be sentenced for seven offences committed over a three month period. Some he had admitted and some he had been convicted of after trial at Magistrates Court.

Prosecutor Simon Shannon said on 10 February McIlveen turned up drunk at a help centre in Bailey Street, Luton and collapsed. An ambulance was called but he was abusive to paramedics and staff at the centre. Police were called and he struggled when arrested. He pleaded guilty to threatening behaviour.

On 24 March he was lying on the ground in Old Bedford Road, Luton and an ambulance crew had to call for police assistance when he became aggressive and abusive as they tried to assist him. He pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly.

A month later on 26 April he was drunk in The Mall shopping centre in Luton and had been causing a problem. When police arrived he swore at them, called them 'pigs' and threatened to head butt them.

He resisted being arrested and was eventually restrained with hand cuffs and leg restraints. He pleaded guilty to a public order offence.

On 1 May he was in a Morrisons store in Hatfield. A security guard believed he had something under his top. McIlveen produced a glass bottle.

He was racially abusive as he was escorted from the store and arrested. He pleaded not guilty to racially aggravated threatening behaviour but was convicted.

On 7 May he was waiting at Luton Magistrates Court for one of his appearances, but because of his behaviour he was asked to wait outside. But he objected and threatened a security officer with a hammer. When arrested he said in his opinion his behaviour had been fine and called everyone in uniform a swear word.

He pleaded not guilty to a public order offence and possessing an offensive weapon but was convicted. He also pleaded guilty to failing to surrender to bail in May.

Debbie Gibson, defending, said: "Custody is inevitable today. He is an alcoholic with issues, who behaves inappropriately."

Recorder Leslie Cuthbert told the defendant: "You are a blight on this country. You have a complete lack of remorse and no conception of the impact of your words. Your behaviour shows your disdain for officials and those in authority. You are clearly an angry young man.

"I know the words I say to you will have little impact but I am hopeful that you may come out of custody with a slightly different attitude."

August 27th 2010

A Merseysider who was found with more than £123,000 in his car after he was pulled over by police was convicted by a jury for possessing criminal property.

John Farrell, of Athol Street, Liverpool, was convicted at Luton Crown Court on Friday 27 August. He will be sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court where he has pleaded guilty to two armed robberies of Ladbrokes bookmakers in the city.

Recorder Tim Clark ordered that the £123,445 should be confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The court heard Farrell swerved as he exited the M1 at Luton, a dog handler decided to pull him over for a word. But the officer and his dog later found almost £125,000, wrapped in cling film, concealed in the back of a seat.

Prosecutor Neil King told the court the inevitable conclusion was that the cash was the proceeds of some crime, because Farrell was living on benefits and had declared no income since 2003. He said the probability was that Farrell was acting as a courier.

But Farrell, 42, told a jury that he was a successful gambler and the money was his winnings from betting shops and casinos.

He said he was coming to Luton thinking there might be a couple of boutiques for clothes shopping, and maybe find a liquidation auction and visit a friend in Bedford.

Farrell also told the court that he regularly left his pool of money in his car parked outside his home in claiming people did not steal cars like his.

He also admitted that while winning thousands at the bookies he was also stealing from cars because "that was the way he was brought up."

August 27th,2010

Police in Central Bedfordshire have been busy this week raiding cannabis factories.

Members of the Ampthill and Biggleswade Safer Neighbourhood Team assisted by the Central Bedfordshire Tasking Team arrested a man and woman yesterday (August 26) after executing a drugs warrant at an address Pegsdon. The officers carried out the raid which was based on intelligence from the public.

A large cannabis factory was found at the address and over 450 plants at various stages of growth were seized. The house was full of specialised equipment for growing the plants including hydroponics and lighting

On Friday morning (27 august) police also uncovered a smaller cannabis factory in River View, Shefford where they found six mature plants and a number of seedlings. A man has been arrested in connection with this.

Speaking after the arrests, Inspector Lisa Johnson, said: “This is a good result for Bedfordshire Police and shows the important part the public play in cracking down on those people who supply illegal drugs in our towns and I would like to thank them for their help.  Today’s arrest makes it abundantly clear that if you are involved in drugs in Central Bedfordshire you can expect to be arrested by us at any time – and in any place.

“Those growing these plants will steal electricity, wreck the house and then just disappear leaving the landlord to pick up the repair bills. Our message is that landlords should be careful who they rent to. It’s always better to rent through an agent who can keep an eye on the property – particularly if the landlord doesn’t live near the property they are renting out.

“These cannabis factories can look completely normal from the outside and we urge residents to contact us if they see anything unusual in their neighbourhoods and suspect illegal drug activity.This information allows us to continue the fight against illegal drugs and the knock on problems this type of crime causes.”

Our website has information about how to spot a cannabis factory and how to ensure you don’t rent to someone who might set one up.
Visit: http://www.bedfordshire.police.uk/crimeinfo/cannabis/default.htm

If you have information relating to illegal drug activity in Central Bedfordshire you can contact Bedfordshire Police, on a special confidential hotline number, 01582 394126, or text information to 07786 200011, or you can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

August 27th, 2010

Bedfordshire Police are appealing for witnesses following a burglary in Renhold this week. Between 7am and 5pm on Tuesday 24 August an offender or offenders smashed a window of a property in Renhold before entering the house and stealing jewellery with an estimated value of £5,000.

The jewellery consists of a number of necklaces, bracelets, rings and a watch and is of significant sentimental value. The full list of stolen items is:

-          Thick rolled gold twist neck chain, with teardrop diamond pendant

-          Solid gold thin neck chain, with teardrop diamond pendant

-          Solid gold plain neck chain

-          Double strand solid gold bracelet

-          Single strand solid gold bracelet

-          Thick rolled link gold coloured chain bracelet

-          Solid gold 1/2" wide bangle engraved swirls pattern

-          Solid gold Rotary wrist watch with analogue face

-          Solid gold expanding bracelet wrist watch with analogue face

-          Solid gold gents wedding ring with flat square engraved with initials "WTS"

-          Solid gold ladies wedding ring

-          Solid gold ladies engagement ring with round face inset with diamonds

-          Solid gold dress ring inset with three emeralds

-          Solid gold antique ladies neckchain with 6 dropped strands, with gold balls on ends

PC Kevin Howes, investigating the burglary, said: “The burglar or burglars have clearly targeted the jewellery and these items are of considerable sentimental value to the victim. A man who said he was a window cleaner was seen acting suspiciously in the area and we would urge anyone who has seen anything suspicious or is offered any gold jewellery at a low price to contact us immediately.”

If you saw anything suspicious in the Renhold area during the day on Tuesday, or can provide any information, please call Bedfordshire Police on 01234 275142, or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

August 26th, 2010

Central Bedfordshire Council has successfully prosecuted an Arlesey shop owner who continuously breached licensing laws by selling alcohol to underage youngsters.

Despite numerous warnings and guidance form the council, Bhupinder Mann who runs the Premiere Store in House Lane, Arlesey continued to sell alcohol to youngsters and was prosecuted at Bedford Magistrates Court on Tuesday 17 August.

The court heard how Mann sold alcohol to children on two occasions in September and October 2009 this being despite previous  warnings for sales to children on two   other occasions.  Following each incident he was given advice and guidance from Trading Standards officers about preventing underage sales but this was ignored and Mann continued to sell high strength alcohol to children.

Despite not attending the hearing, Mann was found guilty of two charges and was fined at total of £3,799 which included a £15 victim surcharge.

The prosecution was the result of a series of operations carried out around the Arlesey and Stotfold area by Trading Standards officers following complaints of underage drinking and anti-social behaviour. 

Cllr David McVicar, Portfolio Holder for Safer Communities and Healthier Lifestyles at Central Bedfordshire Council said: “I am pleased to see that the courts have taken such a strong stance on the actions of this licensees and I hope that this prosecution goes to show that the sale of alcohol to youngsters will not be tolerated.

“Mr Mann was given ample opportunities by the council to stop his unlawful activities and put in place measures to ensure that children were not served, but he decided to reject this advice.

"Central Bedfordshire Council  invests a great deal of time assisting licensee's to prevent such sales from happening in the first place and in turn  will not tolerate the sale of alcohol to underage youngsters and we will investigate any allegations that are made against licensees."

August 23rd, 2010

Bedfordshire Police are looking for witnesses to a robbery in a Bedford Park late in the afternoon on Tuesday 17 August. 

At around 5.30 pm the victim, a middle aged white man, was sitting on a bench in Mowsbury Park, Wentworth Drive, Bedford which overlooks the cricket pitches, smoking his pipe. He was approached by three men; one asked him for the time and they then moved about twenty yards away and stood by a gate. They then came back over to where he was and asked if they could sit down on the bench, which they did. Then one offender said “Give me your money”

At first the victim thought they were joking but realised they weren’t. They then threatened to beat him up unless he handed money over. The man didn’t have any and turned his pockets out to prove this, so instead the offenders took from his shirt breast pocket his black and silver Blackberry mobile phone and a white and grey Olympic digital voice recorder. They then walked off in the direction of Church Lane. 

The three offenders are described as a white man in his mid twenties, skinny build, about 6’ tall and wearing a red top, a second white man in mid twenties, also skinny build, about 6’ tall and wearing a white hoody with grey horizontal stripes and a man of Asian appearance, also in his mid twenties, skinny build and about 6’ tall. 

Detective Constable Ian Johnson, investigating the robbery said: “This offence took place in a public park near a busy road at a time when many people would have been travelling home to work or returning for their dinner. The victim was enjoying a quite afternoon and this incident has left him feeling very shocked and upset. These men threatened violence and could have attacked him and may do so next time they confront someone.If you were in Mowsbury Park, travelling along Wentworth Drive or Church Lane at around 5.30 to 5.45pm on Tuesday 17 August and saw this incident or these three men before or after the robbery or may have been offered one of these stolen items please get in touch with me.” 

Anyone with information should contact DC Ian Johnson on  01234 275351, or text to 07786 200011 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

August 20th, 2010

Police are appealing for witnesses after two arson attacks outside a home in St Neots.

On both occasions the victim's Mercedes car was targeted. In the most recent incident, a resident in Rowley Road heard a thud and then the sound of a car driving off at 9.30pm, on Tuesday. When they looked out of their window they saw a fire underneath the vehicle and flames coming from the bonnet.

The attack follows a similar incident on July 3, when the victim discovered the burned remains of an accelerant on his driveway.

Detective Constable Chris Bacon, investigating, said: "This incident has caused thousands of pounds worth of damage. The victim has no idea why he has been targeted and has been left very upset by the damage caused to his vehicle."

Anyone with any information should call police on 0345 4564564 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

August 20th, 2010

Two women were involved in a violent row in a lay-by in Bedford.

An Asian woman, in her late 30s, got out of a silver BMW car, in which a man with short brown hair was also sitting, and began shouting abuse at another woman in her early 30s in a second silver car.

She hit the woman in the car and snatched a mobile phone from her.

The injured woman left her car, transferred two toddlers from the other car to her own and left.

Bedfordshire Police say they are looking for witnesses to argument which happened in the lay-by at the Tesco Filling  Station on Riverfield Drive at around 12.15pm on Saturday 14 August.

The Asian woman is described as five foot two inches tall, of slim build with dark hair tied up in a ponytail and wearing a yellow hooded top and grey tracksuit bottoms.

The other woman is of mixed white - Indian race, is around five foot two tall, with dark hair with red streaks, worn down, of slim build.

Augut 9th, 2010

Bedfordshire Police are seeking witnesses to a very serious assault on Margretts Road, Kempston which left one man with his leg fractured and bones sticking out of the open wound.

Just before 9pm on Friday 6 August a 40 year old Asian man was attacked by three black youths on Margetts Road, Kempston. The attack took place at the North end of Margetts Road, near its junction with Cater Street.

The three men punched, kicked and stamped on him. His left leg was stamped on with such force that it fractured in two places and the bones ended up sticking out of his open wound. He could now be facing up to four corrective operations.

The three attackers are described as black and mixed race, about 18 to 20 years old. One was riding a pushbike and may have come from the direction of the The Smiths Arms public house.

Detective Constable Darren Armitage, investigating, said: "This was a vicious and dreadful attack by three young men that left this man with very serious injuries. We are looking for anyone who may have seen this attack, the attackers fleeing the scene or knows anything about it. We need to find these men before they strike again and perhaps do someone even more damage. You can call anonymously on the Crimestoppers number - 0800 555 111."

Anyone with information can contact DC Darren Armitage on 01234 275356, or text to 07786 200011 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Monday August 9th

Police in Bedford are appealing for witnesses to come forward after a disabled Aldi shopper was assaulted in the car park last Saturday (31st July). 

The incident happened outside the new Aldi store on Church Lane in Bedford at around 4pm when the 40 year old victim tried to park in the disabled bays to the front of the shop. She asked a passerby to check if a Blue Honda Accord was displaying a blue badge to be told that it wasn’t. 

The woman held up her blue badge to the occupant of the Honda and the car was moved to allow her to park. However, as the woman started to get out of her car, the occupant of the Honda came over to her and started to be verbally abusive before he pushed her car door catching her leg. 

The offender then left the car park. He is described as a tanned white man in his mid to late 40’s, he was approximately 5’8” tall with dark short wavy hair. He was wearing a black t-shirt, shorts just above the knee and sandals. 

A Bedfordshire Police Spokeswoman said: “We know there were a number of people in the area at the time that may have heard the verbal altercation or seen the full incident. In particular, we would like to speak to the passerby who assisted the victim when she was trying to find a space. Although the victim did not suffer any significant injuries from the incident, she is very shaken by what took place.”

Friday August 6th

A young single mother who stole from neighbours who had been kindly to her wept as she was told she should 'go down on her knees and apologise'.

Emma Hall, 28 used her son to distract her disabled neighbour while she went in through the back door and stole the pensioner's purse. The victim and her husband later told their daughter and son in law, who are both police officers, that the purse, containing £60 and cards had gone missing.

Prosecutor Bozzie Sheffi told Luton Crown Court;  "When the daughter spoke to Miss Hall about the purse, she put her head in her hands and began to cry."

The purse was returned without the cash.

Miss Sheffi, said the parties involved had been neighbours in Acacia Road, Bedford for about 18 months.

"The couple are both registered disabled, but they had offered support to Miss Hall, including looking after her children as she was on her own. They have been badly affected by this as they have always helped people out."

When the defendant was arrested she made full admissions to taking the purse on June 22 this year, and said she used the money to buy food for herself and her two children.

She said she had sent her son round to her neighbours to ask for some bleach and while the victim was at the front door she had gone in through the back door and taken the purse.

Paul Tweddle, defending said: "She wishes to apologise profusely. She had received nothing but kindness from her neighbours and has let them down in a very deceitful fashion. She is not proud of that. Nothing like this will ever happen again. She is ashamed, sorry and terrified of going to prison."

Hall pleaded guilty to the charge of burglary and was given an eight month prison sentence suspended for two years with 100 hours unpaid work. She must also repay the £60 she stole.

Recorder Martin Oldham told her: "You broke the trust of people who had befriended you and helped you. They were vulnerable people and you used your son to distract them. You deserve a custodial sentence, of that there is no doubt, but the only reason I am suspending it is because of your children. You should be utterly ashamed of yourself and should go down on your knees and apologise to those people."

Friday August 6th

Shotguns and caravans uncovered in Upper Caldecote

OFFICERS investigating a number of burglaries and thefts across the East of England launched a dawn swoop in Bedfordshire on Thursday (July 29).

More than 30 officers from Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and British Transport Police descended on a rural location in Upper Caldecote where they arrested a juvenile on suspicion of handling offences.

Police have recovered a substantial amount of stolen jewellery and two caravans believed to have been stolen in 2003 from the Norfolk area. Two shotguns and a rifle with ammunition and medical equipment believed to have been stolen from an ambulance in Bedfordshire earlier this year.

The 15-year-old boy was taken to Dunstable police station and later released on police bail pending further inquiries. Police are looking to make further arrests in relation these thefts.

The initiative, called Op Hagley, involved detectives, uniformed officers, specialist search teams, scenes of crime officers and firearms unit from both forces.

It follows burglaries and thefts, mainly across Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.  

Speaking after the operation, Detective Inspector Lindsay Turner, said:

“This was an excellent show of team work that resulted in a number of dangerous weapons being seized.

“Today’s warrant will send a warning message to those involved in burglary and thefts, since this demonstrates offenders will be caught, regardless how far they travel or untouchable they think they are.”

He continued: “We hope this team effort between the forces reassures the public and highlights police forces will work together to track down those individuals that move across the region.”

Wednesday August 4th

Bedfordshire Police are asking passers by who helped a man injured in a serious assault to come forward to help them with their inquiries.

At about 10pm on Wednesday 21 July the 54 year old victim was sitting on a bench by the Embankment in Bedford near the play area  when he was approached by two young white teenagers riding bicycles. They asked him if he had any money and when he replied “no” they punched him in the mouth. He fell, hitting his head on the bench which caused his head and mouth to bleed. The boys then made off empty handed.

Some passers by stopped to help the victim to get medical assistance but did not give their details. The Police would like them to come forward to help with their inquiries.

The two boys are white, slender and willowy and thought to be around 14-15 years old. One was wearing blue jeans and a white t-shirt.

Detective Constable Claire Case investigating said: “This was a violent and unprovoked attack by two youths seeking to rob someone. I would like to speak to the passers by who helped him to get the medical attention he needed and any other witnesses to this incident. If anyone has information about this assault they can call me or use the Crimestoppers line.”

Tuesday 7th July

Two people were arrested last week (30th June) and eight vehicles were seized for having no insurance following part of a national operation to target rogue traders in the Bedford area.

The Bedfordshire Police ANPR team alongside members of Trading Standards and government agencies including HM Revenue and Customs and the DVLA targeted offenders and aimed to raise awareness of door step crimes. The day formed part of a week of activities which aimed to educate people on the dangers and to help prevent them from becoming victims of rogue trader related crimes. 

Although cold calling offering services is not illegal, in many of these scams victims may be asked to pay a substantial amount of money for unnecessary or substandard work.  Other scammers may simply try to gain access to your home in order to take money or other possessions.

In recent months, Bedfordshire Police have appealed for information following crimes involving rogue traders such as two reports in May of elderly women being victims of distraction burglaries after allowing a man into their homes who claimed to be assessing overhanging trees in their gardens.

The ANPR team were kept busy with a grand total of 75 vehicles checked. Six Fixed Penalty Notices were issued and four vehicles were searched in relation to drugs.  Two people were arrested for Driving Whilst Disqualified and Possession of a Class C Drug whilst a further two people received street cautions for drug possession.  

Bedfordshire Police’s partners also had a productive day with nine people arrested in relation for failing to appear for outstanding court warrants. Two people received prison sentences and seven were handed financial or alternative penalties totalling £2,000.

HM revenue and Customs were able to register a further 8 people for Tax and VOSA prohibited 20 vehicles for a variety of offences whilst Immigration officials located an over stayer who entered the country three years ago and are now seeking to return him home. Benefit Fraud Investigators stopped various benefits for 12 people including four people losing their Incapacity Benefit of £400-£1000 per month and seven people losing their Job Seekers Allowance.

Sergeant Ian Stoughton of the ANPR Intercept Team said: “This was an extremely successful and productive day for all partners and agencies that attended. We would like to thank everybody for their efforts. The operation has also resulted in significant amounts of information being gathered for intelligence purposes which will help us to prevent and detect crimes in the future.”

Tuesday 15th June

Secure your car or you won’t know where you’re going is the message from Bedfordshire Police.  In 5 out of 7 recent thefts from vehicles the satellite navigation systems were stolen from insecure cars. All were taken from residential locations across North Bedfordshire.

Bedfordshire Police’s crime prevention officer Lara Curtayne said: “Don’t treat your car as a shop window for thieves by leaving your possessions on display. You will dramatically cut the chance of being broken into if you remove everything from the inside of a car before leaving it parked - even outside your home. It just takes a minute to clear out satnavs, MP3 players, bags and other easy to take items from your car, so either place them in the boot or take them into your home.

“Don’t just put your satnav into the glove compartment when you leave the car - remove the cradle and wipe the suction mark off the windscreen too, otherwise you’re just advertising there’s one in the car waiting to be taken.

“Don’t think ‘I’ll only be gone a minute’, because your possessions will be gone in half that time. Last week a handbag was stolen from a car in Bedford, so don’t leave these in the car, even if you think you’ve hidden it under a seat - it’s the first place a thief looks.

“So remember to take out satnavs, mobile phones, removable stereo fascias, CDs and CD wallets, house keys, sports bags, wallets, fishing tackle, tools, cigarettes and loose change! Even if you don’t think something is worth anything – like an old jacket or empty shopping bag – a thief might think there’s something of worth in it and break in anyway.

“Clearing up the mess made by a broken window or forced entry is costly, messy and time consuming. Don’t end up paying the cost for not clearing your car, just a minute to do so will save you money and a lot of trouble. And if your satnav is stolen in a strange town, you’ll really be lost!”

Crime reduction packs especially for satnavs can be picked up at police stations in Bedford, Biggleswade, Ampthill, Leighton Buzzard and Dunstable – or call the crime prevention office on 01234 275273.

Tuesday 15th June

Detectives in Huntingdon are issuing a warning to anyone thinking of falsely reporting a robbery or any other crime- fake claims could land you a fine or time in jail.

Last month two men were charged with perverting the course of justice after falsely reporting a robbery in St Neots.

Detective Sergeant Claire Hewson, said: "The majority of robbery reports are made by genuine victims of crime and I certainly do not want to discourage those victims from coming forward and reporting incidents.

"What I am aiming to do is warn those considering making a false report to think again. These reports limit the time officers can spend investigating genuine reports and bringing actual offenders to justice.

"Robbery is an extremely distressing, violent crime, often leaving victims physically hurt and emotionally traumatised. We investigate all reports of robbery thoroughly and provide specialist support services to victims to help them recover from the shock of their experience.

"Once investigations are underway it soon becomes clear if a crime report has been fabricated. False reporting is not only irresponsible, it could lead to a prosecution for Perverting the Course of Justice or Wasting Police time.. If convicted of Perverting the Course of Justice the maximum sentence is Life Imprisonment or for Wasting Police Time six-months in jail and, or a fine of up to £2,500."

Monday 14th June

Paramedics who raced to the scene of a report house fire in the early hours of Saturday morning (June 12), arrived to find out it was a hoax call.

The East of England Ambulance Service sent three ambulance crews from Kempston to Exeter Walk in Bedford at 1.09am. The initial report was of a house on fire and its occupants possibly trapped.

Ambulance service spokesman Gary Sanderson, said: “First and foremost this despicable act potentially put our paramedics attending the scene, and genuine 999 callers in need of an ambulance at risk. It begs belief why someone or somebody would do such an outrageous act.”

It turned out there was no fire and no one was injured.

Monday 14th June

POLICE are appealing for information following a robbery in Eaton Socon on Thursday night.

At 9.55pm a 30-year-old man was walking along Great North Road near to the Texaco garage when he was approached by two men.  One of the men assaulted him and threatened him with a knife. The victim was not injured in the incident.

The first man is described as white, in his early 20s, around six foot, slim, with black hair, wide eyes and large ears. He was wearing a dark hooded top and trousers.

The second is described as white, in his early 20s, around 5'7", slim, with short black hair. He was wearing dark clothing.

They stole the man's Acer Extensior laptop and headed off towards St Neots.

DC Mark Yendley, investigating, said: "We would like to hear from anyone who may have seen the attack take place or anything suspicious in the area.  We would also like to hear from anyone who saw the men in the area or believes they may know who is responsible."

Anyone with information should contact DC Mark Yendley on 0345 456 456 4 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Thursday 10th June

Have you seen a Faberge egg?

The appeal comes from detectives who are investigating the theft of a Faberge egg and an iPod Touch.  The theft is believed to have happened during a house party in May in Fairfield Road, Biggleswade.

The home owners returned from their holiday to discover extensive damage caused to their home. They later discovered a house party was held at their home and a Faberge Egg and an iPod Touch had been stolen.

The Faberge Egg is emerald green and set with diamonds in 18ct white gold.  It measures 1.5 cm in height by 1cm wide.  The egg is designed to be attached to a pendant.

DC Mark Harrison, investigating, said it is possible jewellers or members of the public may have been offered the egg. 

He is also keen to speak to anyone who attended a party in Fairfield Road between  April and early May, anyone who may have knowledge of or received the egg as a gift.

DC Harrison, a member of the Dunstable-based Crime Investigation Team (CIT) said: “This jewellery is absolutely priceless to the owner, who was completely devastated to find it missing.”

Anyone with information can contact DC Harrison, in confidence, on 01582 475333, the main switchboard ion 01234 841212, Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or text to 07786 2000 11.

Wednesday 9th June

Police are appealing for information following the theft of a bike from Bedford Hospital on Tuesday 1st June between 12 noon and 2.30pm.

The 60 year old victim had left her bike padlocked to the racks outside the Primrose Unit at the hospital whilst she attended for treatment. The offender removed the bike from the racks and fled the scene.

The bike is a Specialized Ariel Women’s model with a blue / gray colour lightweight frame. It is a city style bike with thick wheels and an unusual tubular black light on the front. 

Investigating Officer, Cathy Everett said: “Clearly the victim is very upset by the theft of this bike, especially as it was a gift to help her manage with her illness. The bike is a distinctive model and has been security tagged and marked so we would ask anyone who may have found this bike or been offered it for sale to come forward.”

“Equally if anyone was at the hospital that day and either saw the theft or saw someone making off with the bike we would urge them to call.” 

Anyone with information can contact Cathy Everett via the main switchboard on 01234 841212, or Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111 or text to 07786 2000 11.