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Leicestershire rescue kennel is forced to put dogs down for first time


A rescue kennel has been forced to destroy stray dogs for the first time in 20 years.

Staff at College Garth Kennels, in Hathern, which takes in and tries to re-home strays found on the streets of the county, said more dogs were being abandoned after being bought as "accessories".

John Barker, who owns the kennels, said there had been a massive rise in the number of certain breeds of dogs being dumped by owners.

He said they had spaces for 92 dogs, but because of the increase in the numbers of dogs being abandoned, they were full with nowhere to place the extra animals.

He said: "The problem we have these days is that more and more people, usually young men, are buying "bull breed" dogs – such as Staffordshire bull terriers, English bull terriers and bull mastiff mix-breeds.

"What happens is that they get them very cheaply on a whim as status symbols and accessories.

"When the dogs get older, these fickle owners lose interest in the animal and they just dump the dog.

"This has led to a situation where, for the first time in the 20 years we have been here, we have had to send a number of dogs to be put to sleep.

"We had to send 10 to be put down and eight of those were these bull breeds.

"It is an appalling situation and very saddening."

College Garth Kennels takes strays in from Leicester City Council and councils in Charnwood, North West Leicestershire and Melton.

The latest figures for Leicestershire showed that the number of dogs being abandoned had risen from 892 last year to 1000 this year.

Michele Ikin, senior dog warden at Blaby District Council, said the real problem was the drop in the percentage of owners who reclaimed their dogs.

She said: "The rate of owners coming in to reclaim their pet dogs has dropped from 75 per cent a couple of years ago to just 46 per cent last year.

"What this means is that more and more people are just dumping their dogs.

"A lot of people are finding that in this economic climate one way to reduce the household bill is to get rid of the dog.

"It is awful because often the dogs are entirely innocent and are lovely. What this also means is that we are stuck with more unwanted and abandoned dogs on our hands.

"We try to re-home every dog but because of these new circumstances we fail some and they face the ultimate sanction of being put to sleep."

All animals are assessed, vaccinated, microchipped and neutered (where possible) before rehoming and a fee of £105 is charged to cover these costs.

For help or advice, please contact the council's dog wardens on 0116 272 7555 or e-mail:


To view photos and a description of all dogs that need re-homing visit:


Leicestershire rescue kennel is  forced to put dogs down for first time

Election? What election?


A large majority of people appear to be unaware they will be able to vote for Leicestershire's first elected police and crime commissioner in two months' time.

A poll of 150 people by the Leicester Mercury found that 82 per cent did not know about the election – which will take place on November 15 – or what the job will entail.

Furthermore, 74 per cent of those who took part in the poll in the city centre last week said they did not intend to vote.

The police commissioner – who will earn approximately £70,000 a year – will replace the police authority, which has set police budgets, appointed senior officers and scrutinised the force's performance.

Leicestershire's three candidates said they were concerned but not surprised by the results. The Electoral Reform Society has predicted 18.5 per cent of people would vote.

Labour's Sarah Russell, assistant mayor of Leicester, said: "The Government needs to be thinking of ways of raising awareness because we are only a couple of months away from the election. I have been into every constituency and all I'm hitting is people who don't understand the role.

"At the moment, we have no idea how many are going to vote."

Conservative candidate, retired Air Chief Marshal Sir Clive Loader, said: "The candidates are doing everything we can to talk to as many people as possible and to get the public debate going. I hope the Government can do that.

"The Leicester Mercury has already done a lot to raise awareness, but hopefully the national and other local media will do so, too."

Independent candidate Suleman Nagdi, a Leicester businessman and community worker, said: "It is worrying that so few people know about the election and have indicated they intend not to use their votes. Nobody wants to be elected to such an important post with a share of such a small proportion of the community."

Imitation gun was fired at motorist in Leicester road-rage incident


A man fired a fake gun from his car at another motorist while stopped at traffic lights.

Jake Chetwynd was the front seat passenger in a BMW which pulled up alongside another car at the junction of Victoria Road East and Gipsy Lane, Leicester, on July 31.

Leicester Crown Court heard eye contact was made between the 21-year-old and the other motorist, before the defendant said "what what" and made hand gestures towards the other car.

The driver, whose window was partially opened, swore at Chetwynd who leaned over and pulled out a silver air pistol, similar to a BB gun.

The 21-year-old, of Dove Rise, Oadby, fired two shots towards the car, before the vehicle he was in sped off, chased by the man whom he threatened.

Chetwynd pleaded guilty to possessing an imitation firearm, intending a person to fear unlawful violence would be used against him, and was sentenced to a year in prison.

Prosecuting, Victoria Rose said: "The defendant was saying 'what what' and making hand gestures, but it's fair to say that the driver of the other car was also responding in the same way.

"In essence they were both really giving as good as each other during that altercation.

"He [Chetwynd] shot two pellets towards him and they hit the passenger window and the BMW motor vehicle drove off.

"There was a pursuit, with the other driver pursuing the BMW over a number of streets, which included poor driving, nearly resulting with a collision with police officers in The Portwey when the BMW was travelling on the wrong side of the road."

She said Chetwynd got out of the car, which drove off. The man whom he threatened got out of his car and detained Chetwynd, until he was arrested by police.

The court heard Chetwynd had a previous conviction for burglary and was jailed for 27 months in November 2011. He had been released from prison four weeks before he fired the imitation firearm.

Defending, Richard Holloway said Chetwynd had been working long hours and had been getting a lift to work when the incident occurred.

"Jake Chetwynd knew the man [in the other car] and knew he had a reputation. The other man was getting out of the car and Jake Chetwynd knew what this man was like – I'll say no more than that. He fired in the direction of the car – not at the man – really to persuade him not to do what he was going to do."

He said that Chetwynd was "metaphorically kicking himself".

Sentencing, Judge Simon Hammond said using an imitation gun in public was "absolutely inexcusable."

He said: "The window was partially open. The risk was if a shot went through the window it could have blinded the other man.

"We cannot have a road rage incident when people start producing imitation guns."

Imitation gun was fired at motorist in Leicester road-rage incident

U-21 professional Development League 'perfect platform for Leicester City lads'


Joining the under-21 professional Development League will help Leicester City bring through young players into the first team, believes development coach Steve Beaglehole.

City have made a promising start to life in the inaugural League Two North division, having drawn with strong Wigan and Derby sides and then beating Crewe 4-0 at the King Power Stadium.

City have three more home games lined up at the King Power and Beaglehole said the standard of the league, which has been set up to fill the void between youth team and the senior squad, will prove to be the perfect platform for young players.

"So far, I am very pleased because it is great to have regular fixtures instead of training all week and having nothing at the end of it," he said.

"I think it is great for the club to have that extra team because we have always thought there is a big gap between under-18s football and the first team.

"Now we have this league, we hope we can get more players through into the first team, and more players who are assets to the club."

Several of the team in Monday night's fixture against Crewe had never experienced playing at the King Power before.

Beaglehole said it was vital young players get experience of playing in big arenas and on first-team pitches.

"The other advantage is that we played at Pride Park against Derby and then at the King Power Stadium against Crewe," he said.

"It is great for the young players to play on the pitch."

U-21 professional Development League 'perfect platform for Leicester City lads'

Specialist police officers talk man from roof in Loughborough


Police spent several hours trying to talk a man down from a roof.

Officers were called to a street off Epinal Way, Loughborough, just before 9am on Saturday. Trained negotiators were later brought in.

Police would not say what the rooftop protest was about but at 6.30pm the man agreed to come down.

A passer-by, who did not want to be named, said that at one point in the afternoon there were four police vans and more than 50 officers at the scene.

Passing cars were beeping their horns in support of the man.

A police spokeswoman said: "Police in Loughborough cordoned off an area after a man climbed on to the roof of a house, just before 9am.

"Specially trained negotiators spoke to him and, in the interests of public safety, cordons were put in place while the incident was ongoing.

"He eventually came down at 6.30pm and was arrested."

She said that no-one was hurt.

Specialist police officers talk man from roof in Loughborough

Mystery over blue UFOs now 'solved'


The mystery of blue flying objects reported hovering over Hinckley may have been solved.

Dozens of people said they saw the objects on August 23.

Their reports reached the town branch of the Leicestershire UFO Research Society which immediately carried out investigations.

The society, which has been logging sightings since 1971, put the latest ones down to a remote controlled four-rotor "quadcopter".

The society's spokesman Graham Hall, who lives in the town, said that, after considering evidence from 35 witnesses, he was fairly convinced the sightings could be explained by people using quadcopters.

He said: "It's becoming clear that what was spotted in the skies that night was something quite explainable.

"We are reliably informed the object that caused all the fuss on this occasion was a large model quadcopter.

"They are relatively new but basically they're model helicopters with four small rotor supports arranged in a cross shape.

"They can have bright lights attached to them and can look very strange as they hover and circle in the night sky."

He did not think the operators of the quadcopter were trying to set up any kind of UFO hoax.

Graham said: "There were 35 witnesses who saw the objects and we think there could have been two lots of people flying two separate quadcopters in different parks, but it all sounds like a coincidence rather than a calculated hoax."

The society, which has 28 members from Loughborough to Nuneaton, has extensive reports from the past four decades. A new online archive has been set up by the members.

The files online contain details of recorded sightings from the past 50 years, as well as a handful from before the 20th century.

The earliest is from September 1706 and describes "a bright white and yellow ball moving downwards towards the male witness at great speed in many different directions" in Hinckley. Strange phenomena seen by lots of people at the same time include a "cigar cloud" seen over Leicestershire by at least 49 people in October 1977, a delta-shaped UFO seen by a number of people the following year and six sightings of UFOs over two days in November 1980.

Graham said: "We still receive many reports and try to solve them."

To view the online archive, visit:

http://lufoinregister. angelfire.com/

Leicester City's Ben Marshall and Martyn Waghorn hoping to help England reach play-offs


Leicester City stars Ben Marshall and Martyn Waghorn will be looking to help England secure their place in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-offs tonight.

England, who are currently top of Group Eight, need just a point against second-placed Norway in their final group game at Chesterfield to guarantee a spot in the play-off round.

Marshall will be hoping to pick up his second England cap after coming off the bench to make his international debut in the 2-0 victory over Azerbaijan on Thursday.

Both City players started on the bench before Marshall replaced Wilfried Zaha in the 61st minute.

Waghorn could also win his fourth England cap if he features tonight – the striker has a good record for his country, netting twice in his three appearances.

A point for Stuart Pearce's young guns would secure a play-off double-header, in October, where outright victory over two legs would see them progress to the finals, in Israel.

The duo are two of six City players in international action this week.

Marko Futacs will be looking to add to his Hungary Under-21 goal tally when they welcome Liechtenstein for their qualifier tonight.

Anthony Knockaert could also feature for France Under-21s when his side entertain Uruguay tonight.

Andy King and Sean St Ledger will be involved with matches for Wales and the Republic of Ireland respectively tomorrow. King will travel with Wales for their World Cup qualifier against Serbia, while St Ledger heads to Fulham for a friendly against Oman.

Tickets for England's game against Norway at Chesterfield tonight (7.0) are priced at £10 adults, £5 children.

Leicester City's Ben Marshall and Martyn Waghorn hoping to help England reach play-offs

Crash shuts road in Enderby, Leicestershire


A village road was closed to traffic for more than six hours after a crash.

Police were called to what a spokesman described as a "serious road traffic collision" on the A582, in Enderby, at just after 5am on Saturday.

A section of the road was closed between the Next clothing headquarters, in Mill Hill, and the Leicester Lane junction, by Enderby Parish Church, as accident investigators examined the scene.

Traffic was diverted until the road was reopened at 11.06am.

Police would not reveal any more details about the incident.

I Love Local Shops: PM David Cameron gives backing to Leicester Mercury's campaign


David Cameron today added his name to the list of supporters of the Leicester Mercury's I Love Local Shops campaign.

The six-week campaign aims to celebrate the best independent shops in the county.

The Prime Minister said he has been impressed with the reaction to the campaign, which has seen hundreds of people get in touch with the Mercury to tell us why their local shops are the best.

Pledging his support, he said: "It's important independent traders remain on our high streets to make them vibrant places people want to visit.

"As the Leicester Mercury's I Love Local Shops campaign reaches its halfway point, it's fantastic to see how many readers have been sending in stories about why they love their independent shops and how many shopkeepers are displaying the campaign posters.

"For people across the UK, their high street isn't just where they go to shop and carry out everyday tasks, it's where they see neighbours and friends and is an important part of the community.

"Independent shops on high streets in towns and cities all over the UK are a key part of our heritage and the jobs they provide are important to the economy.

"That's why we've worked with Mary Portas to see what Government can do to support them.

"I am delighted to support this campaign and hope it gives a real boost to shops in Leicester."

Ms Portas and deputy PM Nick Clegg pledged their support to the campaign at its launch three weeks ago.

Hundreds of people have e-mailed or tweeted us to tell us their favourite shops and dozens of traders have got in touch to be included on our interactive online map showing independent shops.

Leicester city centre manager Sarah Harrison said: "Our independent shops provide such a different shopping experience.

"Our arcades, for instance. When you step in to them they feel like a different world.

"We have a very good retail mix. If we do not support independent shops and lose them, we would lose an important retail dimension."

Nicky Morgan, MP for Loughborough, said she supported the campaign.

"Overall, I love shopping in Churchgate, in Loughborough, as it has a range of independent shops – including Chocolate Alchemy, for delicious coffees," she said.

"My other favourite is Paperweight, in Devonshire Square. They always have lovely cards and great presents."

Andrew Robathan, MP for South Leicestershire, said his favourite shop was Chapman's butchers, in Lutterworth High Street.

"It's a truly local shop that sources most of its meat from local farmers," he said.

"Excellent meat and usually better value than supermarkets."

To support our campaign, download and print off your own I Love Local Shops poster to display in your shop or home window from: Retailers: Download and print a Support Local Shops poster click here (pdf) Readers & shoppers: Download and print your I Love Local Shops poster click here (pdf)

NAME YOUR FAVOURITES Tell us about the best independent shops in the city and county. E-mail reporter Laura Elvin at the address below with the name of the shop, its location, and why you think it is the best independent shop. Also include your name and your phone number. Or you can fill in the details on the form below or tweet her with the name of your favourite shop and why you like it to @egoelvin Do you own an independent shop in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland? We are compiling a list of independent shops for our website. To be included, email the name and address of your shop, and a short description of what you sell, to: lauraelvin@leicester mercury.co.uk
WHAT YOU'VE SAID SO FAR ON TWITTER We asked people on Twitter for their favourite independent shop, and what made it so special: @Leicester Running Shop and Ringrose butchers. Put the calories on in one and take them off via the other. @mikemcsharry @Amabis in High Street. I would always go there first for gifts, beautiful original stuff. @grannylouisa @Black and Blossom, Ashby de la Zouch. It's the best florist in Leicestershire. @grinchlington @Rockaboom because it's the only independent record shop in Leicester (if it's not I'd like to know where others are).@CarlDunn82 @Wellgosh! Been buying clothes and trainers from there since they were in Silver Arcade.@iainmoo @The offie in Clarendon Park Road (specialist bottled beer store). Excellent range and friendly staff! @AlexM11 @Crumblin' Cookie in High Street, Leicester. Great food, superb staff, fantastic venue. @Ian040476 @Tinfish Shoes, Royal Arcade and Francis Street. True Leicester born and bred. Great shoes and service. @Slam71 @Kibworth Books. Bucks national trends. V friendly staff, loves books, centre of community. @leicesterlibrar @The Business, 360 Welford Road. Cool men's fashion store with products sourced from all over the world and straight off the runway. @thisismaz_ @Salvador Deli in Queens Road: their food is awesome! @jimbobsqrpntz FIND RECOMMENDED LOCAL SHOPS IN LEICESTERSHIRE AND RUTLAND BY CLICKING ON THE PURPLE PINS

I Love Local Shops: PM David Cameron gives  backing to Leicester Mercury's campaign

Leicester Tigers 34 v Worcester 26: Match stats (VIDEO)


Leicester Tigers ran out 34-26 winners over Worcester at Welford Road on Saturday.

Here is how the game unfolded minute-by-minute.

1 min: TRY (7-0) Manu Tuilagi makes a stunning start to the game as he crosses the line after just 100 seconds. The move starts on Leicester's 22 and involves seven different pairs of hands in the build-up. Try converted by Flood

4 mins: PENALTY (7-3) Andy Goode gets Worcester on the board almost straight from the re-start.

11 mins: TRY (14-3) Tuilagi goes over for his second try, but the score is created by a scintillating run by Vereniki Goneva, who slips through five tackles in a crowd- pleasing 40-metre run. Try converted by Flood.

15 mins: PENALTY (14-6) Goode narrows the gap.

17 mins: PENALTY (17-6) Flood makes the difference 11 points again.

28 mins: PENALTY (17-9) Goode is accurate again as Worcester really get into the game.

H-T: Tigers 17 Worcester 9

41 mins: TRY (22-9) Goneva goes over from close range as he barges through two tacklers at the end of several phases. The move makes serious ground when Flood's fizzing pass sends Scott Hamilton into space on half-way. Flood misses the conversion.

48 mins: TRY (22-16) David Lemi scores a spectacular try to open Worcester's account as he takes Josh Matavesi's back-handed offload on half-way and out-paces Flood and Goneva, who both gave chase. Goode's conversion means there are only six points in it.

65 mins: TRY (29-16) A penalty try is awarded after Tigers go for the jugular and surprisingly turn down an easy three points to go for a bonus-point fourth try. Their scrum puts in an almighty effort against a Worcester scrum that had held its own all afternoon and referee Andrew Small goes under the posts as the visitors pop up near the line. Flood converts.

71 mins: PENALTY (29-19) Goode gives Worcester hope of a bonus point with a penalty that cuts the gap to 10.

73 mins: TRY (34-19) Lock Graham Kitchener scores against his former club with a powerful run after taking the ball at pace down the left-hand side. It kills the game as a contest. Ford misses a difficult conversion after replacing Flood.

80 mins: TRY (34-26) Centre Alex Grove gets on the end of Goode's perfectly-weighted delicate chip kick and dives over the line to score the Warriors' second try. Goode rapidly drop-kicks the conversion in a bid to re-start the game and go hunting a bonus point – but it's too late.

F-T: Tigers 34 Worcester 26

Leicester Tigers 34 v Worcester 26: Match stats (VIDEO)

Fijian winger called Vereniki Goneva looks like find of the season for Leicester Tigers


The foundations for Leicester Tigers' success on the pitch are often built thousands of miles away from Welford Road.

There will be no sign of a bloke called Ged Glynn on the podium if Tigers lift the Aviva Premiership trophy next May.

Few people outside the club's inner sanctum will have even heard of a man, in his mid-50s, who used to play fly-half for Orrell.

But Glynn became the club's chief scout when Dusty Hare upped sticks to Northampton Saints and his network was responsible for Tigers spotting the talents of a Fijian winger called Vereniki Goneva sometime last season.

A small club called Tarbes in the French second division is hardly the place you would expect stars of the English league to be plucked from.

But Leicester did just that. Glynn did the ground work, director of rugby Richard Cockerill flew over to speak to him and the winger duly signed on the dotted line.

Five games into his Tigers career, Goneva has six tries and is looking like one of the hottest properties in the northern hemisphere, let alone England.

His 42nd-minute score in Leicester's 34-26 win over Worcester showcased his power as he barged through the considerable weight of Warriors lock James Percival and former Tigers fly-half Andy Goode to touch down.

But the rest of Goneva's game was just as electric. His David Campese-like goose-step had the crowd gasping for air, his quick feet can make space where none exists and his pace and ability to shrug off tackles created one of the most exciting highlights the Premiership will see all season on 12 minutes.

Collecting a chip kick from fellow south sea islander David Lemi, the 28-year-old raced off at pace through the middle of a host of would-be tacklers.

Some laid a finger on him, others got nowhere near, as he jinked and jolted his way through five or six Worcester players.

There was still plenty of work for Tuilagi to do before he finished off Goneva's earlier moves and, when the 21-year-old centre dived over, Welford Road was in raptures.

At that stage, Tigers led 14-3 after 12 minutes and it looked like Worcester would be systematically put to the sword having never won on Leicester soil.

Tigers had already scored a sensational second-minute try when Tuilagi was again the man to dive over the line.

The ball had gone through seven pairs of hands in a wonderful build-up reminiscent of the All Blacks in their pomp and the move was marked by some lovely lines of attack.

Where did it all begin? With that man Goneva again as he tackled and then stole the ball from a Warriors attacker in his own half.

Flood and Goode swapped penalties to make it 17-6 but Worcester dug in and turned the game on its head.

As they found their feet based around a physical pack and some ambitious backs' play, led by Goode, Tigers' game regressed.

Goode closed the gap to 17-9 at the break as Leicester forced too many passes and got dragged into niggly exchanges by a visiting side clearly getting under their skin.

Goneva's try at the start of the second period hinted at better things, especially with Chris Pennell in the sin bin.

But Worcester came back again, revitalised by a new attack coach from Biarritz and some ammunition behind the scrum they simply never had last season.

When David Lemi ran 50 metres from a breakaway score and Goode nailed the extras, it was 22-16.

Shaun Perry became the second man to see yellow on 51 minutes but Tigers continued making mistakes until they finally put the game to bed with a penalty try on 65 minutes.

They turned down an easy three points to go for the jugular and it paid dividends at the Warriors' pack popped up on the line and referee Andrew Small went under the posts.

There was still time for Graham Kitchener with a try against his old club before Alex Grove touched down Goode's gorgeous chip kick with the last action of the game.

Fijian winger called Vereniki Goneva looks like find of the season for Leicester Tigers

Welby shooting husband says ordeal has left him 'scarred'


A man arrested after two burglars were shot at his home has said he acted to protect his wife and they had both been left "scarred" by the ordeal.

Andy Ferrie, 35, and his wife Tracey, 43, were held on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm after Mr Ferrie called police early last Sunday following the incident at Welby Cottage, in Welby, near Melton.

Mr Ferrie told police he had fired a legally-held shotgun after a group of men entered his home at about 12.30am.

The couple were later bailed and were told by the Crown Prosecution Service on Wednesday that they would not face criminal charges.

Two men were treated in hospital after the shooting, but neither sustained life-threatening injuries.

Speaking to The Sun, Mr Ferrie said: "I was petrified, scared stiff. I only did what any other bloke would have done given the situation.

"I'm no hero or hard man. I did what I did to protect my precious, lovely wife.

"I was only a few feet away. I could have shot to kill but I didn't.

"Daft as it sounds, I was relieved later when I was told the injuries I had caused were not life-threatening. The events of the past few days have scarred us for life."

Judith Walker, chief crown prosecutor for the East Midlands, said: "Looking at the evidence, it is clear to me that Mr and Mrs Ferrie did what they believed was necessary to protect themselves and their home from intruders.

"I am satisfied this is a case where householders, faced with intruders in frightening circumstances, acted in reasonable self-defence.

"We have therefore advised Leicestershire Police that Mr and Mrs Ferrie should be released from their bail as they will not face any charges."

Two men appeared at Loughborough Magistrates' Court on Wednesday charged with burglary.

Daniel Mansell (33), of Harrowden Rise, Crown Hills, Leicester, pleaded guilty to the offence and was remanded in custody to be sentenced at Leicester Crown Court on September 25.

Joshua O'Gorman (27), of The Wayne Way, Crown Hills, Leicester, who is also charged with burglary, gave no indication of plea and was remanded in custody to reappear before magistrates on September 14.

The court heard the couple had gone to bed at 10.15pm on Saturday and were woken hours later by banging and the sound of breaking glass.

Sally Cook, prosecuting, said: "It is no secret that a shotgun was fired at the property."

Two other men, aged 23 and 31, were arrested on suspicion of aggravated burglary and have been released on bail pending further inquiries.

Leicestershire Police said the decision not to press charges against Mr and Mrs Ferrie had been taken following a detailed investigation involving forensic investigation and input from ballistics experts.

Welby shooting husband says ordeal has left him 'scarred'

Manu Tuilagi can become best in the world, says Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill


Manu Tuilagi could be the best outside-centre in the world within the next 12 months.

That's the view of Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill.

The 21-year-old scored two tries, made a host of clean line breaks and shrugged off tackles for fun to the delight of more than 19,000 supporters at Welford Road on Saturday.

The 17st centre, who has already been capped 13 times by England, scored a brace to help Tigers to a 34-26 win over battling Worcester Warriors and gave them a maximum 10 points from their first two Aviva Premiership games.

Cockerill believes Tuilagi is continuing to improve.

"Manu has had his criticism but, within our structure, he has been really good," said Cockerill.

"He gets opportunities to run with the ball and his ability to create something from nothing is as good as ever.

"He is quality and is still very young. Myself, Matt O'Connor and everyone here thinks he is going to be around the best No.13 in world rugby within the next 12 months or so.

"We are delighted to have him here, he is a quality player. He needs to keep playing and further understand when to hold on and when to pass it; when to be tighter in defence and when to be a little bit more passive – but that will come.

"He is quality and we have some real firepower out there in the backs. We just need to harness it and make it accurate."

Cockerill was satisfied with his side's win and enthused by Tigers' ability to create opportunities at will.

A first-half double from Tuilagi was added to by scores after the break from Vereniki Goneva, Graham Kitchener and a penalty try.

But several opportunities also went begging and Cockerill says they must finish those chances much better when they take on Saracens at Wembley next Saturday.

"It was a perfect start for us if you look at the table but it was a far from perfect performance against Worcester," said Cockerill.

"We did some really good things and we are creating a lot of opportunities but we need to finish more of them.

"We kept turning over the ball and giving away field position and silly penalties."

Manu Tuilagi can become best in the world, says  Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill

£200,000 bill for policing protests over Scout hut in Thurnby Lodge, Leicester


Police have spent £200,000 supervising protests against plans to turn a disused Scout hut into a community centre.

The cost of the operation in Thurnby Lodge, Leicester, is rising daily as discussions continue to resolve the building's future.

Officers from city stations and as far afield as Hinckley and Coalville have had to be redeployed from their normal duties to oversee regular protests – occasionally lasting late into the night – against a plan by the Muslim group As-Salaam Trust to convert the Nursery Road building into a community centre.

The protests, which began early last month, have taken place outside the nearby community centre in Thurncourt Road, where members of As-Salaam have been meeting for the past two-and-a-half years.

The Leicester Mercury has learned that the operation cost the force £180,000 in August.

A source has confirmed it is now edging toward £200,000, including overtime payments.

The source said: "£200,000 is a big hit, especially in these times of tightened budgets.

"But we can't turn our backs and say 'sorry, we can't justify the cost of this any more'.

"If something did go wrong and we weren't there, we'd be slated – and rightly so.

"I hope a solution is found soon."

Up to 60 officers have been sent to cover the largest protests, one of which drew up to 400 people.

On quieter evenings, between 20 and 30 police, with senior officers to supervise, have been sent. Officers were present at the weekend, though no formal protests were taking place.

The impact on the force has been intensified by its commitment to send officers to help with the security operation at the Olympic Games.

An officer who has been involved in the Thurnby Lodge operation said: "This is what we do.

"We are here to protect the public and to prevent disorder, but people need to bear in mind this is taking officers away from their duties elsewhere."

The city council said it was working with a newly founded residents' group, the Forgotten Estate Committee, to improve facilities.

Some residents have said they would prefer the Scout hut to be developed for the wider community, with many supporting a proposal to turn it into a boxing club and community gym.

They are also concerned about extra traffic the building might create if it became a community centre.

Assistant city mayor Sarah Russell said: "It is right the police are there to facilitate protests but there is a cost.

"We are continuing discussions to try to find a suitable alternative for As-Salaam.

"We're also working hard with the residents' committee.

"We're helping them secure funding and offering other practical support."

Maxine Williams, manager of the Stirrup Cup pub on the estate, has been helping to organise the protests and is a member of the new residents' group.

She said: "We still have between a dozen and 50 people gathering every day and we are holding a march every Friday.

"It is a lot of money but we are being listened to now, although there has been no resolution."

Last month, As-Salaam's imam, Mohammed Lockhat, said: "We are negotiating with the council. We live in Thurnby Lodge and we would not want to have to travel far to pray."

£200,000  bill for  policing  protests over Scout hut in Thurnby Lodge, Leicester

Thousands enjoy festival of Second World War nostalgia at Victory Show in Cosby

War planes, Panzer tanks and infantrymen invaded a pocket of rural Leicestershire at the weekend for a festival of Second World War nostalgia. The two-day Victory Show drew more than 8,000 visitors to Foxlands Farm, off Croft Road, Cosby. The military spectacular included army encampments, battle re-enactments, aerobatic displays and tank rides, with many revellers arriving in 1940s attire. The sight of Spitfires and Hurricanes in the sky brought back a flood of memories for Maureen Torrance, 76, from Cropston. "I grew up in the East End of London and was just a little girl during the Battle of Britain," she said. "When we got bombed out, my mum and dad took us kids out into the fields away from the city and I remember seeing the dog fights in the sky. "It was just like this – it's like I'm back there – being a kid I found it fascinating. "It brings back so many memories. "Mind you, I wish wars were as friendly as this." For many others, the star attraction of the event was yesterday's (SUN) fly-past by the Avro Vulcan Cold War bomber, lovingly restored at Bruntingthorpe and the last of its kind still flying. Rob Doyle, 42, from Ratby, who was enjoying a family day out with wife Andrea 42, and their son, Jacob, three, said: "I was really looking forward to the Vulcan and I think a lot of people here came just for the fly-past. "Mind you, I think Jacob has been more taken by the remote-control models." Andrea said: "We go to a lot of air shows but this is different because the planes are older and not quite as loud so you can enjoy it without ear muffs. "It's a great family day out and we've loved it." Dave Hersey and wife Eileen travelled from their home in Narborough to see what all the fuss was about. "It's our first time at the show," said Dave. "I think it is terrific, especially being right on our doorstep. I was fascinated by the air displays and the unmanned drones in particular." Eileen said: "For such a huge national event, it's still got a local atmosphere, which is great. It's really relaxed, with families having picnics. "The lovely weather helped. With so many events cancelled over the summer, you've got to take advantage of it." It was the trade stalls, selling period clothing as well as military uniforms and memorabilia that caught the eye of Rachel Bentley, 36, from Ashby. "I just love all the old hats, scarves and dresses," she said. "It's something you rarely see and what strikes you is the quality of things back then." The event supported Loros, The Royal British Legion and Blesma – the British Limbless Ex Service Men's Association. GALLERY: Cosby Victory Show 2012

Thousands enjoy festival of Second World War nostalgia at  Victory Show in Cosby

Two men killed in head-on collision on B4688/Leicester Road, near Hinckley


Two men were killed when their car was in a head-on collision with another vehicle.

The 20-year-olds were travelling along the B4688/Leicester Road, on the outskirts of Hinckley, when the accident happened at 9.55pm on Friday.

Police said they were the driver and front seat passenger in a red Honda Civic. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

A 47-year-old woman who was driving a black Kia Picanto suffered serious leg injuries and was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary for treatment.

Flowers and tributes to the men were placed at the scene of the crash, close to Hinckley Rugby Club, at the weekend.

Club chairman John Tilley said: "It's such an awful thing to happen and a tragic loss of two young lives."

Detective Constable Adrian Keeble said: "The Honda was travelling towards Hinckley and the Kia in the opposite direction.

"I would like to speak to anyone who was in the area and saw either of the vehicles in the lead-up to the collision."

Two men killed in head-on collision on B4688/Leicester Road, near Hinckley

Two men killed in crash on B4688/Leicester Road, Hinckley, are named

Two men who died in a head-on crash in Hinckley have been named. Daryl Stephen Edwards, of Earl Shilton, and Christopher Paul Freeman, of Birmingham, both aged 20, were travelling along the B4688/Leicester Road, on the outskirts of Hinckley, when the accident happened at 9.55pm on Friday.

Police said they were the driver and front seat passenger in a red Honda Civic. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

A 47-year-old woman who was driving a black Kia Picanto suffered serious leg injuries and was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary for treatment.

Flowers and tributes to the men were placed at the scene of the crash, close to Hinckley Rugby Club, at the weekend.

Club chairman John Tilley said: "It's such an awful thing to happen and a tragic loss of two young lives."

Detective Constable Adrian Keeble said: "The Honda was travelling towards Hinckley and the Kia in the opposite direction.

"I would like to speak to anyone who was in the area and saw either of the vehicles in the lead-up to the collision."

Two men killed in crash on B4688/Leicester Road, Hinckley, are named

Richard III grave hunters are 'tantalisingly close' in search at Leicester car park

Archaelogists digging for the grave of Richard III in a Leicester car park say they are 'tantalisingly close' in their search. The dig is due to continue for another week after originally being planned to last two weeks. Work began on August 24 and the team has made some major discoveries. Researchers have determined the site of the medieval Franciscan friary known as the Grey Friars; found the eastern cloister walk and chapter house; located the site of the church within the friary; uncovered the lost garden of the former mayor of Leicester, Alderman Robert Herrick; and revealed medieval finds such as inlaid floor tiles from the cloister walk of the friary and paving stones from the Herrick garden and window tracery. Now, Leicester city mayor Peter Soulsby has authorised the work, at a city centre car park, to continue for at least another week. In 1485 King Richard III was defeated at the battle of Bosworth. His body, stripped and despoiled, was brought to Leicester and buried in the church of the Franciscan Friary. Over time the exact whereabouts of the Grey Friars became lost. The dig, led by experts from the University of Leicester, stopped over the weekend for a public open day which saw around 1,500 people tour the site of the council car park. Richard Buckley, co-director of the university's Archaeological Services, said: "We are now tantalisingly close in our search and will investigate the choir where Richard is presumed to be buried. "Whether we find Richard or not, this dig has been a huge success in terms of revealing the heritage of Leicester and I am proud that the University of Leicester has played a pivotal role in the telling of that story." The dig is being filmed for a Channel 4 documentary to be aired this year.

Richard III grave hunters are 'tantalisingly close' in search at Leicester car park

Man stable after serious crash in Enderby, Leicestershire

A pedestrian is in a stable condition in hospital after a serious crash in Enderby, Leicestershire. The crash happened at about 5am on Saturday on the B582 Mill Hill, near to the junction with Conery Lane, and involved the pedestrian, a man in his thirties, and a car. The man was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary where he is in a stable condition. The driver of the car, a black Seat Leon, which was travelling towards the Foxhunter Island, was not injured. Detective Constable Pete Davies said: "We are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the collision or saw the pedestrian or the vehicle prior to the incident to get in touch. "We are also keen to speak to the driver of a black Hackney cab that was in the area at the time of the collision." Anyone with any information is asked to contact Det Con Pete Davies on 101.

Man stable after serious crash in Enderby, Leicestershire

Boy, 13, badly injured after hit-and-run in Littlethorpe

A 13-year-old boy was seriously injured after a hit-and-run in Littlethorpe yesterday. The accident happened at about 4.15pm in Cosby Road, near to the entrance of the Victory Show, and involved the boy, who was a pedestrian, and a car. The car did not stop at the scene and drove off towards Cosby. The boy was taken to the University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire with serious injuries, where he remains in a stable condition. Two people, a 40-year-old man and 37-year-old woman, were arrested in connection with the incident and have been released on police bail pending further enquiries. Police are appealing to witnesses who were at the air show. Pc Steve Freer said: "There were plenty of people in the area yesterday visiting the show so I am confident that there are lots of witnesses out there who can help us with our inquiries. "Although we have two people arrested we are still carrying out enquiries and I would urge anyone with information about the incident to call us. "Most people will remember being at the show yesterday and I'm sure they would remember witnessing the incident. I would ask that those witnesses call us while the memories are still fresh in their heads." Anyone with any information is asked to contact Pc Steve Freer on 101
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